Mala Gupta, Founder - eJavaGuru.com, Java Champion at Oracle, Book Author, International Speaker, has a long history with Java. She has learned Java, practiced it, become certified on it, written about it, taught it, and evangelized about it. She has a lot to say about how Java helped elevate her career and how she believes it can help elevate yours too.
Let's hear her story in her own words.
I felt cheated after graduating with a Computer Science degree from college - there was no match between what we were taught at college and what the industry required of me. I also joined a 4 year Computer course with a very reputed Computer training academy during my undergrad, in vain.
My first job as a Junior Java Programmer, mandated earning of Java's Programmer Certification within the first three months. I'm obliged to my employer now. The preparation process enabled me to understand Java inside out! It created a rock solid foundation - letting me master my tool - the Java language - to design and create applications.
After my transition to Server Side Java developer, I decided to take up the challenge of writing SCWCD (Sun Certified Web Component Developer Exam); since I was still reaping the benefits of my Java Programmer Certification. Again, I am glad I wrote the exam. I mastered the exam objectives that were covered by SCWCD. It covered in detail how clients interact with server using HTTP - sending, receiving, requests, and troubleshooting. It covered the challenges with Java Servlets and JSP, security and many many other aspects. I'm still using the server side Java concepts that my SCWCD cert helped me with, while working with newer frameworks and tools - like Struts and Spring.
When I look back, I realize that the process of getting certified made me understand all the exam topics in depth - including reasoning out, why and how the language or platform works. I accessed the Core Java API source code, while trying to figure out why some of the Java API behaved in a certain way. To this date, I'm surprised how - even most of the seasoned Java developers haven't accessed the Core Java API source code.
The Java Certifications were relevant 18 years back - they are still relevant - recognized and valued by organisations and professionals, the world over. These certifications are validated by the industry - creators of the Java language. They help individuals to demonstrate their pro-efficiency with Java. Organisations benefit by selecting from a certified pool - to work on their projects.
I actively encourage new students and professionals to earn these industry recognized professional certifications - to get a head start with their career - and remain in the game.
I have been talking to individuals and organisations about the benefits of certifications, and conducting interviews with them: http://ejavaguru.com/index.html#certmatters
. I haven't come across even one participant, who doesn't appreciate its benefits.
I am further encouraging the students to write Java Programmer certifications before they graduate from their college - atleast the OCA Java Programmer I certification, if they can't manage to write the OCP Java Programmer II Certification. It will truly help them to stay ahead of the game -
a) Get a rock solid foundation in Java as opposed to shallow expertise with random courses.
b) Highlight their industry recognized and accepted expertise with Java Certifications
c) Pass technical interviews with ease
I understand that these exams are difficult to pass. It becomes even harder, after you start working, which takes-up most of one's time and resources. Since I've experienced this pain, I've written multiple books on Java Certification with Manning Publications.
Unique points of my book -
a) it uses quite a lot of images and humor to help readers understand the concepts and recall them easily, when they need them.
b) 'Twist in Tale' coding exercise help readers to question their understanding, when small changes are applied to small code snippets
I often hear the following statement from people - 'I'm sorry; Certified Java Programmers can't code'.
- Firstly, this is an over generalized statement - what are the parameters you are evaluating the programmers on.
- Second, with Java certification, one gets to know the tools (Java) really well.
- Third, knowing one's tool to write code and problem-solving are related, but different skill sets. A 'skilled' Java programmer, with good problem-solving skills will make her a better programmer.
Compare this situation with a surgery, where a surgeon who begins a robotic surgery, without having the knowledge of robotic tools! Would you prefer to undergo such a robotic surgery?
I've benefited from the Java Certification exams tremendously. They helped me to understand the Java language better, pitched my resume to the interviewers by highlighting my certified skills. They also helped me clear the interviews and negotiate my salary. I understand that these exams are not easy to pass. I'm still using the server side Java concepts that my SCWCD cert helped me with, while working with newer web frameworks - like Spring.
Java Certifications make people employable by bridging the gap between their existing and required skills. I'm on a mission to pitch this to students and professionals. In my quest to fulfill this mission, I've authored books to help IT professionals and students succeed on industry-recognized Oracle Java Certifications.