[2019 oracle code one] Java 11 Certs

Fun path to Java 11 Developer Certifications
Speaker: Mala Gupta – @emalagupta

For more blog posts, see The Oracle Code One table of contents

Why cert

  • Highlights important topics
  • Suggests a path to learn
  • Bare minimum of what every Java programmer must know to get started
  • Don’t plan to fail. Ok if do so. But don’t plan for it
  • Good coding practices [I think the exam tries. But not always. For example, the Java 8 JDBC topics were an example of how not to write JDBC. This got better with the java 11 exam where PreparedStatement was finally covered]
  • Industry standardizes IT skills
  • Good for students, professionals, those transitioning from other languages

Other ways to learn [not mutually exclusive. Mala wrote a book for the cert. As did Scott and I]

  • Books
  • Courses – Mala had a bad experience. Course oversold.
  • Hackathons – deep dive on select topics
  • Learn on job – would you go to a surgeon where it was his first surgery.

Changes with Java 11 cert

  • No more OCA exam
  • Still two exams – Programmer I and Programmer II.
  • But no longer earn interim OCA cert.
  • Oracle felt people were stopping at OCA level
  • Can take part 1 and part 2 in any order, but makes sense to take level 1 first.
  • Level 1 covers basics; level 2 covers exam topics.

8 types of questions

  • sample code and question about output
  • text only – simpler to answer – conceptual
  • fill in the blank
  • select options that are true about code
  • select incorrect options (that are false about code)
  • answers are blocks of code
  • diagram
  • [I missed one type]

How to make studying for a cert fun

  • Images – emotional connection. Also fun to draw images. Point embedded in mind.
    • Try catch block concept with a tiger and two doors. Animals only and Tigers only. Very cute!
    • Cartoon showing finally block with coffee
  • Highlighted code block
    • throw vs throws with the keywords highlighted with a rectangle surrounding
    • nested circles to show access control
  • Diagrams
    • people
    • array with cars/shapes/grid for multi dimensional array
  • Cartoon dialog
    • Code on left. Image on right is two people in love (or not)
    • Discussion about equals
  • Write own questions and have others do that
  • Twist in the tale – change code and see what happened
  • A-ha moments – write them down as study


  • How long to study for cert? 1-3 months [I think upper bound is longer]
  • 6 months cadence? Probably LTS versions but can’t confirm [Oracle hasn’t said, but I agree]
  • Books? Will have MEAP out soon. [Also, Scott and my book publishes this year]

My take: I like that Mala had characters introducing her presentation. It reminded me of the book. Mala speaks a lot like she writes which is good. I felt like there was a lot up front selling the cert. I would think people who chose this cert talk would be interested in the cert. I was happy to see 2/3 of the presentation was on making studying fun. I like the 8 types of questions and samples. It was a good organization system. The types were a little hard to read. I like the interaction by having everyone write a question.

Amazon now offers online proctored exams

We recently wrote about Oracle’s at home proctored exams. Amazon is now starting to do the same. They announced it last month. As of now, it is only valid for the practitioner exam. Taking the exam anytime of the day or night is a nice feature to offer.

It’s offered from PearsonVUE so the rules are pretty similar to Oracle’s. See our blog post from when Oracle started offering it for our take. I think more people fall into the category of the online proctored exam being useful for AWS though. Here’s why:

Computer requirements

Same as in the Oracle blog post

Room requirements

Same as in the Oracle blog post. Still a problem for me because it is a physical layout issue.


Same as in the Oracle blog post. Prepare your family/roomates so you have a room to yourself.

No Breaks

The AWS exam is significantly shorter than the OCP. Which means you aren’t likely to need a bathroom break and not being to take on is a non-issue.

No writing

This is still a problem for me. I write a lot down during exam. Facts I think i”ll forget. Questions I want to go back to. What I want to remember between questions in case one question answers another. I also like to track how many I am unsure of because it gives me confidence that I’m not failing.

Depending on your test taking style, not writing things down may be a non-issue though. It’s not like you are tracing complex loops here!

My thoughts

While I can’t do this, I think it is a good option for folks who have more space and/or live further away from a testing center. It’s definitely an easier sell than on the OCP!

My Experience taking the new Java SE 11 Programmer II 1Z0-816 Exam

Back in March, I took the new Java SE 11 Programmer I 1Z0-815 Exam only 2 days after it was released. Going into the exam blind, I wasn’t too worried because the previous OCA 8 1Z0-808 exam had been such a breeze. Boy was I surprised! While I passed with a decent margin, I was shocked the level of difficulty of the Programmer I 1Z0-815 exam. It was nothing like the 1Z0-808 exam it inherits from, especially in terms of question difficulty!

This past month, Jeanne and I finished writing our new Java OCP 11 Programmer I Study Guide (now available for preorder), which meant it was time to turn our attention to our upcoming Java OCP 11 Programmer II Study Guide. Rather than go in blind, and especially given all of the new material, I decided to spend some time studying *before* taking the 1Z0-816 exam. Well, it paid off because I passed today with a quite a wide margin. Below are some of my impressions of the exam.

Level of Difficulty

This might sound crazy, and I’m sure I’m biased, but overall I found the 1Z0-816 OCP11 exam less difficult than the OCP 8 1Z0-809 exam it inherits from. Don’t get me wrong, it was a difficult exam, but I felt like there were so many topics and they were so broad, the exam rarely went into especially deep detail on some of them. For example, many of the questions regarding SQL injection had pretty clear answers. In most of the questions, I was able to eliminate completely “ridiculous” answers right away, getting the answer choices down to 2 (or 3 if it was pick 2, or 4 if it was pick 3, etc). In fact, some questions I didn’t even need to read the text to whittle down the answer choices. For example, if an answer choice is an invalid lambda expression, it clearly cannot be a valid answer. With that in mind, most questions boiled down eliminating bad answers, then reading the question text to know which of the two remaining choices was correct.

Better Focused

One of the best changes they made in the new 1Z0-815/1Z0-816 exam series was to move most of the core Java syntactical questions to the first exam. While they made the 1Z0-815 exam harder, it made the 1Z0-816 exam a lot clearer. For example, if a question appears to be about NIO.2 on the 1Z0-816 exam, then it’s about NIO.2! On the older 1Z0-809 exam, I always felt like they mixed common Java topics with advanced ones. For example, a question that appears to be about NIO.2 on the 1Z0-809 exam might actually be about constructor overloading or overriding methods. In other words, the 1Z0-816 exam is better because the questions are derived from the objectives more cleanly, and there aren’t as many trick questions. You still have to know a lot to pass, but at least they aren’t mixing topics as much as they did in previous exams.

Streams, Streams, Streams

While the exam seemed reasonable to me, I’m also very proficient in streams. It is an understatement to say they are all over the exam. If you don’t use them regularly, you’ll need a lot of practice before taking the exam. Remember, they can show up in almost any topic like NIO.2, Concurrency, Collections, etc.


Modules are on the exam but I found the questions a lot more straight-forward than the module questions I saw on the 1Z0-815 exam. I had a lot of trouble with the module questions on the 1Z0-815 exam, in part because a lot of them didn’t make sense or didn’t appear to have a correct answer. Given how early I took the exam, Jeanne suspects I might have been exposed to beta/experimental/broken questions. That said, I thought the module questions on the 1Z0-816 exam were a lot more fair than they were on the 1Z0-815 exam. You need to know a lot about modules, of course, but the topics the questions were testing were a lot clearer.

Still a Very Broad Exam

While questions within a topic were relatively straight-forward, the amount of topics you had to know for the 1Z0-816 exam dwarfs the 1Z0-809 exam. Annotations, Security, Local Type Inference, Private/Static Interface Methods, and Modules are completely new. You should read the Secure Coding Guideline and Annotations Trail prior to taking the exam. Unfortunately, there’s not one single source of material for modules so you have to study from what you can piece together on the web… that is until our new 1Z0-816 study guide is released!

So You Want to Take the Exam?

Great! If you’re not in a hurry, I would wait for our new study guides to come out. The first book is already on its way to print and the second book will be available early next year. You can use our OCP 8 Study Guide to take exam, but you will have to supplement it with a lot of reading from a dozen different sources. And as I said earlier, if you’re not using streams regularly, you will definitely need a lot of practice. Regardless of which path you take, we wish you the best in studying!