How I passed the Java 11 certification

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

What is java 11 certification?

Java 11 was launched in September 2018 and along with came the new certification program. Gone are the days of OCA/OCP certifications, there was now only Java SE 11 Developer or Java 11 Application Programmer. Two exams 1Z0–815 and 1Z0–816 to be taken (in any order) for the title. In September 2020 Oracle merged the exams and created 1Z0–819.

My story

I prepared for the 1Z0–815 exam but many people will have a similar experience if you are taking the latest and greatest certification programs. At the time of writing this article, Oracle has just killed the young 1Z0–815 & 1Z0–816 exams and merged them into 1Z0–819.

Last year (2019) in October my employer suggested some of us get a certification on one of the java 11 application programmer certifications. It had only been some months after launching the new certification program along with its new structure (no OCA/OCP anymore) and there were very few study mats available.

The exam fees are quite a hefty amount and my employer would reimburse it only if I passed it. I thought about it for days but in the end, I decided to take the bet. By that time my employer also was okay with java 8 certification as many people complained about the scarcity of materials. However, I had made my mind and went on with Java 11 certification (Daring today, aren’t we — Squidward said).

So I was the only person from our organization taking the exam. And when I purchased the voucher I realized I was the first person taking that exam in that exam center in spite of being amidst the IT hub of the city. It was unnerving as well as exciting.

The preparation

Not much study material was available because it was a fairly new exam pattern. However I had the following,

  1. Udemy dumps
  2. Oracle docs (https://docs.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java)

Udemy dumps are a great place to start. You can find sample question sets that are very close to the actual exam. Moreover, you can actually take the exams there to test yourself. I would suggest buying multiple dumps. More the merrier.

TIP: While solving the question sets take notes. Chances are you will come across many perks of the language that you didn’t know or had forgotten about. It's a good idea to take notes to explore further. Understand the concepts, don’t remember this-happens-when patterns.

Although the exams target a vast area of concepts following are some common ones,

  1. Primitive widening, narrowing, and autoboxing (https://docs.oracle.com/javase/specs/jls/se11/html/jls-5.html)
  2. Operator precedence (https://introcs.cs.princeton.edu/java/11precedence/).
  3. Dynamic and static binding
  4. Visibility of methods in the inheritance with classes and interfaces.
  5. Exception handling.
  6. Different styles of array declaration.
  7. The behavior of java command-line tools (eg. javac, jlink, jdeps) with different arguments.
  8. Common library APIs of String, List, etc.
  9. Java Platform Module System (JPMS).

A word about JPMS

JPMS, introduced in Java 9, is the major difference between the Java 8 and Java 11 exam syllabus and a good number of questions target your knowledge of the module system. It’s important to have a first-hand experience if you don’t regularly use it. Also, I would advise you to memorize the common JPMS commands.

The exam

I passed the exam with a 92% score. And I have tips for you. Read along.

Tips

  1. Use time wisely. This is a no-brainer but still the most important thing so I will mention it. If a question taking a lot of time or paperwork leave it for later. But also don’t hurry.
  2. Don’t rush to answers. Chances are it’s a wrong answer. The questions are made that way. Just missing one keyword is enough to make you lose a mark.
  3. Don’t just choose the correct answer, kick out the wrong answers. Try to prove in your mind why the other 3 options are wrong. This reduces the chances of marking the wrong answer and makes you certain about the option you choose. However, when an option is ‘none of the above’ this trick falls a little short.
  4. Recheck your option. The questions target 2–3 areas at the same time so it’s better if you redo your thought process.

Conclusion

Getting certified is a great thing for your portfolio and will give you an edge. Specially if you are working in the java ecosystem.

I plan on doing a few more certifications (not necessarily on java) to portray my skills.

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