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What Is The Java Certification Path?

Are you interested in becoming certified in Java, but are not sure where to start and where it may take you? This article will explain the certification path for Java, to make it easier for you.

Who Provides Java Certifications?

The company that provides Java certifications is Oracle. Java was originally developed by Sun, but back in 2009, Oracle bought Sun. so now it falls under their group of technologies.

If you’ve been around the IT industry and have some Java experience. you might remember certifications being offered by Sun (and you might even have one). But now, after being acquired by Oracle, Oracle are the ones offering the certifications.

There are many organisations that offer Java training or Java courses, but these are different to actual certifications. They may offer courses on how to learn Java or use it in a workplace, but to become certified means taking one of Oracle’s certifications.

What Is The Java Certification Path?

The Java certification path starts at the bottom, with the lower level certifications, and works its way up to more advanced certifications, just like many other providers.

So where do you start? I put together a recent post on Oracle Java certification which answered some common questions, but this post goes into more detail on the actual certification path.

As shown in the diagram here, you have quite a few choices.

Where you start depends on what particular stream of Java you wish to pursue, as well as what version.

Also, what’s interesting about the Java certifications is for some of them, you don’t need to start at the lowest level.

Java SE (Standard Edition) Certification Path

If you’re interested in working on the standard edition (Java SE), then you have a couple of choices. Working on Java SE 5 or 6 (which are quite old now) means you can either start with the “Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 5/SE 6 “. Alternatively, if you have a bit more experience, you can go right ahead to the OCP level – the “Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 5 Programmer ” or the SE 6 version, which is “Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer “. There is no requirement for you to take the OCA for SE 5 or 6 before taking the OCP level exams.

Alternatively, you can start on Java SE 7, which is a newer edition. This means you’ll need to start at the lowest level, with the “Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 7 Programmer “. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it gives you a reward for studying earlier, and is based on earlier topics.

After getting the OCA for Java SE 7, you can then look at getting the OCP – “Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer “. You’ll need the OCA certification for SE 7 before taking this exam, though, as shown in the diagram.

There’s also a Java SE 8 certification at the OCA level that has just been released (I don’t remember seeing it there last time I checked), which is the “Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer “. There are no OCP-level certifications for this yet, so if you’re looking

for quick advancement, you might need to wait a while.

Once you have the OCP certification for Java SE, you can move on to the OCM level – “Oracle Certified Master, Java SE 6 Developer “.

You might have noticed this is only available in SE 6. That’s correct. Oracle hasn’t yet created a Java SE 7 version, and I don’t think they will be creating an SE 5 version. But, the OCP for Java SE 5, 6, and 7 will all allow you to attempt the Master level certification. A recent post on becoming an OCM can help explain how you might get certified at this level.

I’m not sure how the Java SE 8 certifications will work in the future. Maybe they will create an OCP and OCM specific for SE 8?

Java EE (Enterprise Edition) Certification Path

If you’re interested in enterprise edition (EE), then your choices are a little more limited, but you still have some.

Java EE certification starts at the OCP level, with three choices:

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 5 Business Component Developer
  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 5 Web Component Developer
  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 5 Web Services Develop

They all currently come in Java EE5, and the only difference is the content.

Also, all of them require any form of OCP certification as a prerequisite. So, you’ll need to get one of the Java SE Oracle Certified Professional certifications to attempt the EE versions.

After getting any of the Oracle Certified Professional Java EE certifications, you can attempt the Oracle Certified Master certifications, where you have a choice of either EE 5 or EE6. The thing with these certifications, though, is they don’t require the OCP as a prerequisite (according to the Oracle website)! So, you can attempt them them without the OCP certification first. This is different to the other tracks, and I may be reading it incorrectly, but I didn’t see any reference to it on the website.

Java ME (Mobile Edition) Certification Path

The Java certification path for ME (Mobile Edition) is a little simpler.

You start with any kind of OCP, which means you’ll need to get the Java SE versions first. You can use the Java EE OCP certification, but that will still mean you need a Java SE one first.

From there, you have one choice – the “Oracle Certified Professional, ME 1 Mobile Application Developer “. This is the Professional level certification. At the moment, there is no Master-level certification for Java ME.

So, there you have it. The Java certification path is not that complicated. There are a few streams and a few levels, but that is to be expected of such a common programming language.

Do you have any questions or comments on this certification path? Share them in the section below.

Career Action Tip: Decide on the most appropriate Java certification for you, if you’re a Java developer, or looking to get into it.

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