I wanted to share my experience passing the OCMJEA 6 certification exam. Having cleared all the pre-requisite exams for the certification, I followed the advice and information routinely being shared by JavaRanch members. Also, I'd like to thank everyone for all the guidance and information that helped me clear the exams. Now, in this post, I would like to share my journey to becoming a certified Java architect.
I have over 12 years of experience in software application development, as well as maintenance work. Having worked in a technology outsourcing company, many tasks that I have done include the enhancement of software applications, reverse engineering, re-writing code, maintenance, and support. Development from scratch was rare, but in the past year, I have been assisting a senior architect in their work, though I did not do any architectural work independently.
Preparing for the OCMJEA
On the whole, I had more than two years of study to prepare for the certification, and if you don't have good experience on the job, getting the certification will be much more complicated — as real-world experience is a requirement. I also studied the following books and would recommend them to all those who are getting ready for this certification.
1. Oracle/Sun Official online tutorial for Java EE 6. Comes highly recommended.
2. Real WorldJava EE patterns by Adam Bien. A must.
3. SCEA for Java EE 6 Guide by Mark Cade and Humphrey Sheil. A must.
4. UML Distilled by Martin Fowler. Basic understanding. Enough for the exam.
5. Java Web Services Up and Running by Marin Kalin. Optional for the certification but is very useful for web services.
6. EJB 3 in Action by Panda, Rahman, and Lane. An absolute must and comes in an easy-to-understand language.
7. Core J2EE Patterns by Alur, Crupi, and Malks. Excellent book on J2EE patterns.
8. Core JavaServer Faces, 3rd Edition by Geary and Hortsman. A good and easy-to-read reference.
9. SCEA Study Guide by Allen, Bambara. An older version, but still helpful as it covers GoF patterns for software design.
IZO-807 Multiple Choice Exam
About the Exam
I took two hours to complete this exam. The is mainly because I was reading through each question slowly and carefully. However, I still believe this exam can be done in 1.5 hours. Most of the questions in the exam were moderately difficult, and only a few were very difficult. At the same time, not even once did I come across a question that was easy or trivial — each was well-designed and properly thought out by the team.
I'd also like to show a gesture of appreciation for the effort that has been made in the design of the preparatory questions. The moment I was done with them, I submitted the exam, and after 10 minutes, I received an email notification that my results were ready and available for viewing at the CertView Portal. Well articulated and straight to the point, these questions held the potential to either let you go or earn you the certification. They also provided the basis from which I could then be in a position to take on the actual exam with confidence and lots of ease. In short, the design of such preparatory questions maps your knowledge to be ready for the certification.
Preparations for the Exam
I managed to clear the exam on my very first attempt thanks to the fact that I purchased practice questions like the MyExamCloud OCMJEA 6 Study Plan package, which had questions at the same standard as the real exam and covered all required topics. The package clearly indicated all that I didn't know and, once I became aware of my weaknesses, I put a good effort into learning all the things I had been missing out on. Additionally, the exam has the full-length tests that are more than adequate for exam preparation. In short, the MyExamCloud OCMJEA 6 Study Plan has highly recommended contents for someone who'd like to prepare for the OCMJEA certification exam.
IZO-865 Assignment and IZO-866 Essay
I recommend these two approaches for the exam.
The Cade and Sheil book, especially chapters 8 and 9, was quite useful.
The Amritendu De book. That was helpful as well.
The OCMJEA 6 Assignment Kit from epractizelabs was very useful.
On a different note, the references above miss out on some critical components of the certification which are why you need to supplement them with other references.
Other Helpful Tips
Here is a useful article with 10 tips for passing the exam.
You can also go through the OCMJEA forum to read about the various topics that should be covered, especially for deployment diagrams — which weren't covered heavily in the advice I left above. Still, you cannot leave out such a crucial component when prepping for the exam. out in such a crucial preparation.
Tools Used for Assignment Solutions
UML modeling tool: I used StarUML, an excellent tool which is also very highly recommended.
HTML static screen preparation: I used BlueGriffon, which is straightforward to use and free, enhancing my presentations and more than likely influencing the end results of the certification.
These tools were very useful, especially for designing the diagrams and the various structures that had to be implemented in the certification. Through lot of practice, I was able to clearly come up with illustrations for various concepts that were covered in the certification. It also made the process of preparing for the exam a lot of fun, as I could generate algorithms in graphical formats, something that further streamlined my preparation.