Studying for the Oracle Certified Java SE 7 Programmer I Exam

Right now, a bit of my free time is being spent learning to code in Java SE7. Part of that learning means taking actual, overpriced coursework and getting a cert or two.

The Exam

As of the date of this post (October 2014), Oracle offers two entry-level examinations for Java SE7 (not counting the upgrade to Java SE 7, 1Z0-805):

  • Java SE 7 Programmer I – IZ0-803
  • Java SE 7 Programmer II – IZ0-804

The first examination confers the title of “Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer”; the second confers the title of “Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer”. The first is for entry-level programmers, and the second is for more seasoned Java programmers. I have opted to start from the bottom and work my way up by going for IZ0-803.

When I asked some Java developers I knew, I was advised that the exam wouldn’t really do much for my career. I was advised that it’d help me if an employer/contract needed a certain number of Oracle Certified developers on the team, and it’d help me a little if I was low on experience. But overall, it doesn’t make or break anyone’s career.

 

How I feel about my career.

Oracle Coursework

To prepare for the exam, my official training material is Oracle University’s “Training on Demand” course for Java SE 7 Fundamentals. It’s an expensive course, so fortunately I didn’t pay for it myself. It comes with two study guides and an activity guide. The course is spread over five days and includes video recordings of a non-native English speaker teaching Java. (Hoorah for closed captioning!) I found it more helpful to mute the kind fellow and just read the subtitles. I’m tempted to scrap the videos and just read the books, since the teacher is just reading from the book anyway. I don’t think I’ll go that route, but it’s so tempting.

The coursework also comes with practice exercises. The only downside is that Oracle only gives students a one-time, six-day access to the labs. Nevermind that the entire on-demand course is accessible for 90 days…. you have to complete the labs in the six days as if you were taking the course over their traditional live schedule. So that’s something to watch out for.

Books

I have a few books that I am currently using to study (*):

1) OCA Java SE 7 Programmer I Certification Guide: Prepare for the 1ZO-803 exam

2) Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer Study Guide

3) The Well-Grounded Java Developer

4) Java How to Program (early objects) (9th Edition) (Deitel)

Other Resources

My coworkers are also taking this course, so we can [theoretically] rely on each other to help figure out the harder bits. What’s more likely is that we will each ask one of the Senior Developers for help instead.

I’m also using Safari Books Online in case there’s another book/video I want to reference. I love that site. Worth every freakin’ penny.

Example: Learn Java for Android Development

Reddit is also helpful. For example, here’s a resource I found on Android development: http://www.reddit.com/r/Android/comments/1w3woc/a_step_by_step_guide_about_how_to_get_started_and/

Practice

Theoretically, I will use Oracle’s labs to get Java practice, since I am a Java n00b. What will likely happen is that I will rely more on actually building Java applications, such as those in the pipeline for Swayze Productions. Or maybe a Minecraft mod.

The Plan

1) Complete the Oracle Java SE 7 Fundamentals training by the end of October.

2) Read through and notate one of the books (probably Gupta’s) concurrently

3) Complete lab exercises in early November

4) Concurrently work on Java-based project

5) Take mock exam(?) in late November

6) Take exam in December

 

* Links are affiliate links to Amazon.