My professional certification path…


Two years ago, I proposed myself the challenge of getting some professional certifications. I concluded that I was used to reading many technical books during the year and, although I could use the insight knowledge from those readings in my daily work, I wasn’t taking full advantage of that study. Back then, I realized that I could take a step forward and use that study to achieve one or more related certifications.

Therefore, I started reading some technical books (the same way I used to do before) but with a more specific goal: to certify my knowledge and skills on some specific areas.

From October 2010 till November 2012, I was able to get all 6 Java certifications I was interested in (in increasing date order):

  1. OCT-2010 – Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer
  2. MAR-2011 – Oracle Certified Master, Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect
  3. AUG-2011 – Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 5 Web Services Developer
  4. JAN-2012 – Oracle Certified Expert, EE 6 Java Persistence API Developer
  5. AUG-2012 – Oracle Certified Professional, Java EE 5 Business Component Developer
  6. NOV-2012 – Oracle Certified Expert, Java Platform, EE 6 Web Component Developer

From those, the most challenging ones were, without question, the Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect and the Java EE 5 Web Services Developer, for different reasons.

Taking the Enterprise Architect is a real challenge for busy people (specially, when you are married and have small kids) because the way I usually study (reading while commuting) is not enough to take the second step in that certification path, which consists in a hands on for the definition of an architecture that solves a particular case scenario problem, followed by an essay on its regard. For instance, when I started the preparation for that certification, we created a group of people to take it. I needed about 1 month of full power, mind availability and effort (none of those would be possible, though, if I hadn’t had the necessary support from my wonderful wife – thank you, baby! 🙂 ) to complete the assignment but I made it.

The Web Services Developer, on the other hand, was a very hard exam (at least, in my humble opinion) and I had the real bad experience of using one of Oracle’s study guides to get prepared for the certification. Trust me, people: it really sucks (it’s too bad that, in Oracle Website, the only study sources they recommend are those from Oracle itself) – I believe there were 2 or 3 slides talking about WS-I Basic Profile in that study guide and my exam was about 50/60% WS-I Basic Profile related questions…

In 2013, I realized that I had to define new challenges. Thus, to be able to get more focused, I googled for the top IT certifications in 2013 but the results were terrible. For instance, according to the Global knowledge website, the following were the top 15 paying certifications for 2013:

  1. PMP: Project Management Professional
  2. CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  3. MCSD: Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer
  4. MCDBA: Microsoft Certified Database Administrator
  5. CCDA®: Cisco Certified Design Associate
  6. MCAD: Microsoft Certified Application Developer
  7. VCP-DV: VMware Certified Professional Datacenter Virtualization
  8. CNE: Certified Novell Engineer
  9. ITIL v3 Foundation
  10. CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator – Citrix XenServer 6
  11. MCITP: Database Administrator
  12. MCTS: SQL Server 2005
  13. MCT: Microsoft Certified Trainer
  14. CCNP®: Cisco Certified Network Professional
  15. CCA: Citrix Certified Administrator – Citrix XenDesktop 5

So, only project management related certifications (I am a certified project manager from IPMA but I am still not in the mood to be only a project manager – I like developing too much to be there yet!), networking and systems administration, or Microsoft related certifications (ouch!), or yet, ITIL. From those, I realized that I am a Java developer and not a systems administrator but, as an architect, I have the obligation of knowing a lot more about a system’s architecture than what I know at the moment. Therefore, and although I did not choose any of the listed certifications above, I decided to start the path of getting more knowledge and experience with systems administration concepts, specifically Linux systems. Therefore, I started, in the beginning of February of 2013, the preparation for the LPIC (Linux Professional Institute Certification) 1 and, after nearly 15 days of study, suddenly some things I use to hear from systems administrators, all made much more sense to me now. So, this is one of my first advises for any developer reading this post: do not neglect your systems administrations skills. They will be handy sometime near in the future 😉



  1. Hi,
    I have basic Java skills and would like to complete Java Enterprise Architect certification in the next 4 months. What path and training institutes do you suggest??? Please do e-mail me.

    1. Hello,

      Currently, from what I heard, the Java Enterprise architect certification has changed a lot. Namely, it is now necessary to be enrolled in a course in a classroom from Oracle… anyway, the only thing I can provide you with is for the first part of the certification: the exam. The other parts are a bit more practical because it’s an exercise to create an architecture for a specific domain problem you are presented with.

      So, here are some of the books I used (at least, remember using…) specifically for that certification (I had read a few others before on JEE related subjects such as EJB, JPA, WS, …). Hope it helps. Let me know how it went later, when you finish the certification 🙂

      – EJB specification
      – JPA specification
      – Design patterns : elements of reusable object-oriented software (available here)
      – EJB 3 in Action (available here)
      – Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for Java EE Study Guide (Exam 310-051) (Certification Press) (available here)
      – Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for Java EE Study Guide (available here)

      (I haven’t read this one: “Oracle Certified Master Java Enterprise Architect JEE 7: Certification Guide” but I guess it’s worth the try as soon as it’s available to be bought).

      Good luck,

      Paulo Zenida

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