New OCP Java 17 Certification Topics

Understanding OCP Java Certification Exam and LTS

Since past few years, the release cycle of Java has changed drastically. A new version of Java is released every six months and a new major version is released every three years. The major versions are known as LTS, which is short for Long Term Support, versions. These are called LTS because these versions will be maintained regularly for a long time. Companies are encouraged to use LTS versions in their production environment because only LTS versions will get any security updates or bug fixes for a long time even after newer versions are released. The last LTS release was Java 11, which was released in 2018 and it will be supported until 2026.

The upcoming release of Java 17 (to be released in Sep 2021) is important in this respect because it is an LTS release.

Oracle's Java Certification Exams (OCA/OCP) are also typically centered on the LTS release. The most recent OCP Java Certification exam (1Z0-819) is based on Java 11 and, although there is no news about it as of this writing (Jul 2020), it is expected that a new certification exam based on Java 17 will be released. It is difficult to say how soon will be it be released but our guess is that it will be released around mid 2022.

New topics in OCP Java 17 Certification Exam

As explained above the new OCAJP/OCPJP exams will be based on Java 17 and will include new features released in Java 12 to Java 17. We observed with OCP Java 11 certification exams that the exam objectives did not merely include the fundamental aspects of Java. They also included topics and APIs that are not used by most Java developers but were considered important by Oracle. For example, Modules is indeed an important addition to Java but the modules functionality is not used much in regular Java development. However, the OCP Java certification exam included it most likely because Oracle wanted to promote this feature.

Given this history, we will not be surprised to see a lot of new features on the exam even if they are not that important for a new Java developer. Based on our experience the following is a list of updates that you might see in the Java Certification syllabus for the new OCP Java 17 certification exam

Potential new topics covered in OCP Java 17 Certification Exam

  1. Switch Expression and no fall through behavior

    You can now use switch expressions to return a value. You can use a lambda-style syntax for your expressions, without the fall-through/break issues. For example:
    char grade = 'B';
    int marks = switch(grade) {
        case 'A' -> 90;
        case 'B' -> 80;
        case 'C' -> 70;
        case 'D' -> 60;
        default -> 50;
    };
    System.out.println(marks); //prints 80, not 50!
    


  2. Multiline Strings

    Instead of writing this:
    String htmlBefore = "<html>\n" +
                  "    <body>\n" +
                  "        Hello, world!\n" +
                  "    </body>\n" +
                  "</html>\n";
    
    You can now do this:
    String htmlNow =  """
                  <html>
                      <body>
                          Hello, world
                      </body>
                  </html>
                  """;
    
    We don't think you will get tricky questions on it but you will definitely see code that uses this new syntax.

  3. Records

    Records are a big and important addition to Java. They allow you to create data centric classes really quickly without too much boilerplate code.

  4. Sealed classes

    Sealed classes introduce a fundamental change in the access control mechanism in Java. We expect this topic to be covered thoroughly in the exam.

  5. API Changes - method additions

    The OCP Java certification exam covers a lot of standard JDK classes for example, from java.util to java.time to java.sql packages. The API for classes from these packages is enhanced regularly and you may see questions on new methods added to such classes. We will make a list of such new and important methods soon.

Remember that OCP Java 17 exam objectives have not been released yet and the above changes are purely speculation. We will update this article as new information becomes available.

Let us know what you think about these topics and their inclusion in the OCP Java 17 certification exam. If you think of an important topic that might be on the exam, do let us know.