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The Developer’s Exam

11 12 13 14 Introduction to the SCJD Coding Standards Clarity and Maintainability Designing the Graphical User Interface 15 16 17 18 Networking Issues Database Issues Exam Documentation Final Submission and Essay

Introduction to the SCJD

Understand the Sun Certified Java Developer Exam Process


Chapter 11: Introduction to the SCJD


Understand the Sun Certified Java Developer Exam Process
OK, so now you know everything about the language. But can you actually build something in it? You’ll hear that argument from some who’ve never taken (or passed) the programmer’s exam. Obviously, they don’t understand how darn difficult the programmer’s exam actually is, but nonetheless there is something to the claim that, “just because you know how the compiler and VM work does not mean you can develop software.” The Developer exam, which is unique in the IT exam world, lets you answer that question (most often posed by a prospective employer). In the Developer exam, you get to put your code where your mouth is by developing a software application. In fact, the Developer exam isn’t even a multiple-choice test but rather a project that you build, given a (somewhat sketchy) specification. You’re told what to build, with some general guidelines, and then it’s up to you to implement and deliver the program. You have an unlimited amount of time in which to finish the project (as of this writing), but there is a short follow-up essay exam (taken at an authorized testing center, just as the Programmer exam is). The follow-up questions are largely used to verify that it was you (not your hotshot programmer brother-in-law who owed you big time) who did the work. In other words, the follow-up exam asks essay questions that only the project developer could answer (for example, “Justify your design choice on…”). First, we’ll lay out the facts of the exam—how it works, how you do it, etc., and then we’ll dive into what you need to know to pass it. Keep in mind that the actual knowledge you need to pass cannot be stuffed into a book this size, even if we made the book big enough to crush a car. Being a programmer is one thing, but being a developer is quite another. And you can’t become a developer just by memorizing some facts. Study and memorization can work for passing the Programmer’s exam— but that’s OK because the programmer’s exam is designed to verify that you’re smart and that you really know the language. A prospective employer doesn’t have to train you in Java if you’ve passed the programmer’s exam. But if your employer wants to verify that you can follow a spec and implement a well-designed, maintainable, correct application, then you need either previous experience successfully building one or more Java applications or you need to pass the SCJD.

Understand the Sun Certified Java Developer Exam Process


The next seven chapters (in other words, the rest of the book) show you what you’ll need to know and do to pass the exam, but it’s up to you to do the heavy lifting. And unless you’re already well-versed in some of the topics (Swing, Threads, RMI, etc.) then you’ll need to do some outside reading and practice in those technologies. We’re focusing here on what the exam assessors are looking for in your finished project.

How Does It Work?
The exam has two parts, The Assignment and The Essay. You must successfully pass both parts to become certified.

The Assignment
Once you register for the Developer’s exam, you’re given instructions for downloading your assignment. There are many possible assignments that you might get. The assignment is a 9- or 10-page document with instructions for completing the project. Instructions include both the application specification and requirements for implementation and delivery. It also includes notes about how the application will be marked (evaluated, graded, assessed).

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