According to some posts on Java Ranch, Sun is looking to create a Sun Certified Java Associates exam. The idea is to have an exam that companies can use to certify entry level programmers. I’m not sure why this is better than the current Sun Certified Java Programmer certification. It sounds like they want a certification that is easier to pass for someone with less experience. I didn’t find the SCJP exam all that difficult. In fact I didn’t even bother to put it on my resume, but after reading all the comments at Java Ranch about how difficult it is to pass maybe I should.
This seems like an odd move on Sun’s part. Generally most companies aren’t complaining that the programmers they hire are overqualified. I suppose it may help them find promising junior programmers who they can mentor. The exam could help separate people who have a good foundational understanding of the language from those that have only played around with a few features. I suppose it makes sense from a financial stand point. The tests aren’t cheap.
I know that many scripting language programmers are trying to learn Java or C# as their next career step. If you’ve only worked with a scripting language, the transition to object oriented anything is going to be a big step. Trying to understand threads, nested classes, etc. when you are still trying to transition away from thinking of everything as a web page with code snippets can be a pretty big challenge. The new exam could help give these people their first real “win” in the Java language. Sun may see this more as a marketing tactic to help bring people to Java that might be considering C#. Once someone passes the SCJA they are probably going to want to move up to the SCJP.
At least in my case the Sun Certified Java Developer didn’t hold a lot of appeal for me once I passed the programmer exam. I figured that I’d rather spend my time creating something that I want to use instead of designing an application that is only going to be used as part of the certification process. It is a lot easier to code something you actually find interesting than something you plan to throw away.