What about the Sun Java Certifications?

Sun offers an intensive testing process for Java. There are several levels of Sun Java Certfication for developers:

This brief summary of the exam levels is based on information provided by Olivia Lu - Sun Toronto SE <Olivia.Lu of Canada.Sun.COM> in a mailing to the JUG mailing list: There is, of course, an official Sun Ed web site for the latest information on this topic.

Note that all certifications are for a particular version of the Java platform, either 1.1 or "Java 2". So you get a chance to renew your certification periodically.

The Java Programmer Exam in more detail

The Sun Certified Java Programmer examination is a two-hour, 60- to 70-question, multiple choice examination. As such, it allows anybody who knows the language and the core APIs quite well to pass (a pass mark is 70%). I even passed it on the first try :-).

The process is not perfect, and it's hard to pass:

All in all, I guess that's why they give you two hours for 60 questions. You need to check everything very carefully.

Commercial Acceptance?

Companies are not yet requiring the SCJP rating as they do for, say, Microsoft Networking with its MSCE. One reason is that many Java programmers are working flat out and don't have time to go study for and write an exam. However, having taken the Programmer's exam, I find that it does provide a minimal knowledge level baseline, and will likely be requiring it for instructors I take on for my Java courses.


There are two books that I looked at. Sybex' Java 1.1 Certification Study Guide by Roberts and Heller, is fairly comprehensive, but has quite a few typos. I'll try to post them here when I get around to typing them in for the author. McGraw-Hill's Java 1.1 Certification Exam Guide for Programmers and Devlopers by Barry Boone is the only one that even tries to cover the Developer (advanced) certification level. It totally misses the Reader/Writer classes for I/O, and I found a few typos.

Ian Darwin, Sun Certified Java Programmer Contact us.