So recently I took and passed the first Oracle certification exam, so I am now an Oracle certified associate Java 7 Programmer. Sounds kind of fancy right?
I have previously completed a Computer Science degree and had almost a year working as a Java developer as my experience going in to the exam room. Before I started revising for the exam, I had the assumption that it would be rather straightforward given all the theoretical knowledge I had from my degree.
The exam pretty much requires you to become a (very slow) human compiler. A lot of the mistakes I made in the practice tests were the sort of thing that any IDE would highlight right away, it was rather demoralising at first - getting the technical parts right but tripping over the package statement being after an import statement...
To revise for the test I made extensive use of the Oracle press OCAJP7 revision guide, and the mock exam program from Enthuware. The book was really good for the depth of information it provides, but it just didn't seem to sink in. The mock exams from Enthuware it when it really started to get through to me. The mock tests are a great deal more difficult than the actual exam, I think my highest score on Enthuware was about 65%, and I passed the exam with a score of 85%!
So, has it improved me as a developer? A little. My depth of knowledge is greater now, and arguably it has improved my program design through a greater understanding of polymorphism and inheritance. However I don't think that this is something that would be of benefit if it was taken as a stand alone exam - it needs the practical application and experience to really start to get more from it.
Anyhow, enough rambling for now.