Jeanne’s impressions of the Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate

Update: I’ve created a new version of this blog post comparing the Java Foundations exam to the Java 11 OCP.

I took the Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate exam to see how it relates the “regular” OCA (Oracle Certified Associate) exam. The objectives show an interesting mix of conceptual and hands on knowledge. Mostly hands on.

My beta exam was 101 questions in 3 hours. I finished in an hour. I spent another 40 minutes doing a review and fixed one incorrect answer. There were a few questions where the question was wrong, but it is a beta. And they let you report such issues to make the test better.

I’m an experienced Java developer. Why did I take a basic exam you ask? Two reasons.

  1. I was curious who the exam was designed for. This post answers this question.
  2. I wanted to see if Scott and my OCA 8 book could be used by people studying for this exam. The answer is yes with a tiny bit of supplemental material. See this post for details.

I went to a testing center I had disliked in the past because they had a free slot and I figured this test was so easy I wouldn’t need to concentrate. I’m happy to report that the testing center (Horizon of Flushing) fixed its problems. The room was quiet and well ventilated. They still wanted me to empty the tissues from my pockets, but at least had lockers.

The three exams

There are three intro exams right now. Here’s a comparison:

Exam Number Exam Name Allowed as Pre-req to OCP (professional exam) My comments on intended audience
1Z0-850 Java 5 or 6 Associate No This exam was meant for managers to show a working vocabulary and grasp of Java. There was a tiny bit of code, but it was mostly concepts and pseudocode.
1Z0-803 Java 7 OCAJP (associate) Yes, for OCPJP 7 This is the entry level exam for Java 7 to the developer track. It involves lots of code.
1Z0-808 Java 8 OCAJP (associate) Yes, for OCPJP 8 This is the entry level exam for Java 8 to the developer track. It involves lots of code.
1Z0-811 Junior Associate/Java Foundations No Oracle says it is meant for interns or entry level folks. I think they would be better served by taking the actual OCA. It’s within grasp with no experience, shows more knowledge of Java, sounds better and allows an upgrade to the OCP when the candidate is ready.

Quotes from Oracle

According to the Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate exam description, the exam is:

Position yourself to enter the workforce, or get the internship of your dreams with marketable Java skills.

Earning the Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate credential arms you withthe fundamentalsof Java programming,enabling you to demonstrate both conceptual knowledge and skills. Certification alsovalidates your capabilities to a future employer, showing your potential to become an increasingly valuable asset to any company as you progress into OCA level during your early stage of employment, and later to OCP.

This Junior Associate certification is focused on students in secondary schools, two-year colleges and four year colleges and universities who have participated in the Oracle Academy program and/or are studying computer science including relevant Java curricula and faculty members who teach foundational Java and computer science classes.

Though the exam does not assume any hands-on professional experience with Java, tobe successful you will need a basic understanding of Java programming language and concepts and have mathematical, logical, and analytical problem-solving skills. In addition, you must know how to write and execute a Java program and work with the Java Development kit (JDK) and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

Earning this certificationdemonstrates fluency in and a solid understanding of Java SE and the Java programming language, including: data types; operators and strings; decision and looping statements; classes, constructors, and methods; exceptions, ArrayLists and the Math class.

The problem is that the Regular Oracle Certified Associate Java Programmer certification says:

The Java SE 8 Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) certification helps you build a foundational understanding of Java, while expanding your knowledge of general programming.

The ideal candidate who would earn this certification typically has a technical background and wants to improve programming skills, or may be new to object-oriented programming and Java.

And the old Java 5/6 Associate exam says:

The Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 5/SE 6 certification provides an ideal entry into an application development or a software project management career using Java technologies. This worldwide credential validates basic knowledge of Object-Oriented Concepts, UML representation of OO concepts, the Java programming language, and general knowledge of Java Platforms and Technologies. Candidates for this exam include: entry level Java programmers, students studying to become Java programmers, project or program managers working with Java technology in the software development industry.

The old Java 5/6 associate exam didn’t involve much code so this made sense.

when did we write the OCA SE 8 book

Did you write the second book before or after your exam of OCA SE 8.

I got this question from a reader of our OCA book and thought it would make a nice blog post describing the timeline.

In February 2014, Wiley/Sybex approached me about writing this book. Scott and I had discussed writing a book together “one day” so immediately asked him to co-author. Even though the publisher approached me, I still had to write a proposal which was accepted in March 2014. We then signed the contract.

We wrote a draft of all the chapters over the following months. At this point, the OCA 8 objectives hadn’t been announced. Scott held the SCJP 6 certification and I held the OCA/OCP 7 certifications. We used the OCA 7 objectives plus our expectations about changes to the language as a guide for those drafts.

Then the objectives came out. We had some rework and additions at that point. I was surprised basic lambdas were covered on the exam and Java 8 dates were also new. Then in October, I took the beta exam. At this point, the book was already written.

There was an unclear exam objective. After taking the beta exam, I learned what this meant. Which was a minor addition to the book. Other than that, it was written before the exam. Some editing was done after the exam; just in terms of timeline.

Then in December 2014, the e-book came out and it printed in February 2015.

For our upcoming OCP book, more of the book is being written after the beta exam. Just in terms of timeline, we didn’t have as much of a head start.

OCA 8 book now printed

We got our first reported of someone receiving a printed copy of our OCA 8 Study Guide today. She pre-ordered it on some time back. She lives in the United States (in NY). I expect it will take the book longer to get delivered outside the US.

Amazon also lists it as being in stock instead of out of stock. (It was listed as pre-order before the e-book came out. After that, it was listed as out of stock. Even though it was out of stock because it hadn’t printed yet.)


I also found it interesting that used book sellers list themselves on books they don’t have. Two of them started listing way before the book printed which meant it was impossible for them to have it. And a good number of them list for a price point higher than Amazon.  Weird.