Thursday, October 06, 2011

Raising the Barrier to Entry for Java Certification

Oracle recently implemented a mandatory classroom requirement for the Java certification program that they acquired from Sun:
Beginning October 1, 2011, Java Architect, Java Developer, Solaris System Administrator and Solaris Security Administrator certification path requirements will include a new mandatory course attendance requirement.

Candidates may earn their certifications using the current track requirements found on the Oracle Certification website through September 30, 2011.

While I certainly think a high standard for certification is essential in increasing the market value for that credential, this does more for Oracle's bottom-line than it does for improving the caliber of certified professionals.  A typical course can run between $1,000 to $2,500.  The cost of the exam is $300.  If you need to take time off of work to attend a class, that adds a week of salary to the total cost.  At the end of this process, are you a better programmer?

Instead let's take that $2,500.   Invest in a couple of virtual or hosted servers.  Write some code and commit it to your github account. Present your work to your peers at the next nearby Java user group meeting.


Demonstrated competency is far more important to creating meaningful certification than the sponge-like qualities of your brain.