Which entry Level Java Certification should I take - JFCJA 1Z0-811, OCAJP 1Z0-808, or OCPJP 1Z0-819?

Entry level Java Certification - JFCJA 1Z0-811 or OCPJP 11 1Z0-819?

Oracle offers three levels of Java certifications for a Java programmer:
  1. Foundation Level: Oracle Certified Foundations Associate Exam 1Z0-811 is focused on students in two-year colleges, secondary schools and four year colleges and universities who are studying computer science including relevant Java curricula, as well as faculty members who teach foundational Java and computer science classes, and those who are just beginning their Java careers.
    This exam is based on Java 8.

  2. Associate Level:The Java SE 8 Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Exam 1Z0-808 helps you build a foundational understanding of Java, and gaining this certification credential is the first of two steps in demonstrating you have the high-level skills needed to become a professional Java developer.
    This exam is based on Java 8.

  3. Professional Level: Acquireing the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) Java Programmer certification demonstrates that you have the high-level skills required to be successful Java professional. There are two options to acquire the OCP Java certification. You can take either of the following two exams.
    • Pass the OCP Java 8 1Z0-809 Exam - You must have already passed the OCA Java 8 1Z0-808 exam to acquire this certification.
    • Pass the OCP Java 11 1Z0-819 Exam - There are no prerequisites for this exam. You can take it directly.
Thus, if you are new to the Java world, you have three options to start your Java certification journey - 1Z0-811, 1Z0-808, and 1Z0-819. The pros and cons of each one of these are listed below.

Options for Java Certifications

Pros Cons
OCP Java 11 1Z0-819
  1. Single exam
  2. Cost effective (Total cost $245 *)
  3. Latest / Most current
  4. Professional Level Certification
  5. Good preparation for interviews
  1. Very Tough for beginners to pass
  2. Less study material and books
OCA Java 8 1Z0-808
  1. Single Exam
  2. Easier to pass
  3. Lots of free study material
  4. Covers several concepts required for clearing interviews
  1. Java 8 is old
  2. Only Associate Level Certification, must pass OCP Java 8 1Z0-809 to get Professional level certification
  3. May be discontinued any time
  4. Total cost of OCA + OCP 8 is $490 ($245 + $245) *
JFC JA 8 1Z0-811
  1. Single Exam
  2. Very Easy
  3. Cheapest - $95 *
  4. Quickest way to get a Java certification
  1. Java 8 is old
  2. Covers only the basics, no advanced topic
  3. Not sufficient for interviews

Not many people know about it but Oracle has an entry level Java certification named Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate JFCJA (1Z0-811), which is geared towards high schoolers, college goers, and Java beginners. This exam hasn't been very popular because of the presence of the Oracle Certified Associate Java Programmer certification (OCAJP 1Z0-808), which is also meant for entry level Java professionals who want to make a career in Java programming. The OCAJP exam was also a prerequisite for getting the more advanced Oracle Certified Professional Java Programmer (OCPJP 1Z0-809) certification. Since the JFCJA exam did not make one eligible to take the OCPJP exam, there was little benefit in taking this exam.

Oracle's Java 11 certification paths changed the scenario a little bit by eliminating the Associate level Java programmming certification altogether. For becoming an Oracle Certified Professional Java 11 Developer, one had to take two exams - Part 1 1Z0-815 and Part 2 1Z0-816. The part 1 exam covered the basics and part 2 covered the advanced topics. The only issue was that passing the part 1 exam didn't provide one with any certification. Thus, there was no way for an entry level candidate to show that they have mastered the basics. Passing the JFCJA 1Z0-811 exam does provide a certification but doesn't eliminate the requirement for passing OCP Part 1 exam. So, if one wanted to acquire a Java programming certification with less efforts or experience, JFCJA was a good option.

One 26th August 2020, Oracle announced that it was scrapping the two exams for OCP Java 11 certification and replacing them with just one Oracle Certified Professional Java 11 Developer exam (OCPJP 1Z0-819). This is mostly a good thing because now one has to pay the price of just one exam to get the OCP certification. However, this has made the exam quite heavy with lots of advanced topics such as Concurrency, NIO, JDBC, Modules, Localization, and Annotations. All these topics were there in the part 2 1Z0-816 exam but it was alright because the candidate would have already learned the fundamentals while preparing for the part 1 1Z0-815 exam. It will be very difficult for an entry level candidate to master these advanced topics. Thus, appearing for the 1Z0-819 exam directly will be a risky gamble for entry level Java programmers.

This development makes the Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate certification very attractive now. If you are a high schooler or a Java beginner, the 1Z0-811 exam is the best way to prove that you have learnt the basics of Java programming. This exam costs a lot less (only $150) than the OCPJP exam ($250). By preparing for the JFC Junior Associate exam, you will get learn the fundamentals and you will also get a verifiable certification to show on your resume, which will help in your job hunt. You can then proceed to prepare for the more advanced OCPJP certification.

The only issue with the JFCJA certification is that it is still stuck on the old Java 8 version. It is possible that Oracle may now update it for Java 11.

* Oracle has recently increased the prices of OCA and OCP Java Certification exams from $150 to $245. They may changes the prices again anytime. Prices also vary by country.