How to get a Java certification in 7 steps (With benefits)

Updated 23 September 2023

Java is a form of coding and a platform that enables applications and websites to run on desktop devices, tablets and smartphones. It's the most popular programming language that individuals use worldwide. If you're currently learning or wanting to learn this programming language, gaining an official Java certification is an excellent way to showcase expertise and comprehension of this platform. In this article, we explain what Java certification is, discuss how to get a Java certification in seven steps, detail its benefits and list the key certifications to consider.

What is a Java certification?

For anyone interested in Java and its platform, learning how to get a Java certification can have significant benefits from a career perspective. Java certificates illustrate a person's competency in Java, an important programming language and platform for website and application development. Many different businesses and industries across the world use Java.

To gain the certification, you can attend classes that cover how to program using Java and then take a test to prove your comprehension of the subject. You can enhance your skill set and employability with a Java certification. This is particularly relevant for careers that relate to computing and programming.

Related: What are the uses for Java? With definition and categories

How to get a Java certification

Learning how to get a Java certification may help aspiring and current web and app developers who wish to gain certifications to showcase their aptitude on the platform. Here are the seven steps to getting a Java certification:

1. Choose a course provider and certification type

There are different course types, providers and levels of Java certification available, so it's best to start by researching the most appropriate one for you. Consider your objectives, which course would most benefit your current and desired skills and whether an associate-level is sufficient or a professional certificate is better. When choosing a course, the main differences relate to exam topics.

Courses have continuous updates that reflect changes to the platform and industry processes, so you may want to conduct research to ensure that you're studying the latest courses available. It's worth noting that some certifications require passing more than one exam.

Related: Coding for beginners: a comprehensive guide with salary info

2. Choose course materials and study

Once you've picked the desired course, you can choose supporting materials to study with and begin attending classes. You can attend either virtually or face to face. It's important to note that it's not necessary to take classes to pass the exam and gain the certification, but attending a class may help you to prepare for the test. When studying for this certification, you may expect the following topics:

  • classes, objects and methods

  • data types and operators

  • enumerations, autoboxing, static imports and annotations

  • exception handling

  • fundamentals of Java

  • Generics

  • Inheritance

  • introducing JavaFX

  • introducing Swing

  • multithreaded programming

  • packages and interfaces

  • program control operators

  • using input and output

Supporting study materials are important to pass the test. After you've picked the course, you may receive a list of relevant and appropriate course books to purchase and acquire. A good course book covers all exam topics, provides practice questions to complete and includes valuable exam-specific tips.

Related: 10 of the most in-demand coding languages and their uses

3. Take part in relevant activities

Taking part in relevant activities can be an important part of the studying phase. These activities can help you develop knowledge, improve your skills as a web and app developer and increase the likelihood of passing the test. Relevant activities include the following:

  • Taking part in forums: Taking the time to participate in Java forums can answer your Java-related questions, resolve misunderstandings and connect you with others taking the same or similar certifications.

  • Completing practice questions: You can find practice questions in study books and online. They can help provide familiarity with the course material and the style of questions to expect during the exam.

  • Practising coding daily: Practising coding on a regular basis is the best way to increase your skills and confidence. Passing a Java certification requires attention to detail and excellent coding capability.

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4. Choose a good exam simulator

For developers who want to score high on their tests, a good exam simulator can be important. Exam simulators can help you develop the speed and accuracy necessary to pass with a top score. Developers who submit enough of the correct answers and complete all questions within 2.5 hours gain high scores.

Related: How to balance studying and working full time (with tips)

5. Register for the exam

When you're ready, you can register to take the exam. This involves buying an exam voucher and scheduling the date, time and location of the test. Once you purchase it, the exam voucher is valid for six months, so ensure you schedule your test within this time frame. Its cost varies between different course providers.

6. Take the Exam

Prior to taking the test, get familiar with key details including its duration, the number of questions, the passing score, the format, such as multiple-choice, performance-based or an essay, and the topics it covers. Understanding all of this information helps with preparations and expectations on the day of the test. Knowing how long the exam lasts can help you with time management and can help you focus on the questions.

Related: How to write a software developer cover letter (with tips)

7. Commit to further development and study

Even after passing the test and gaining an official Java certificate, it's beneficial to continue studying. The very nature of information technology, computing, coding and other related sectors requires constant evolution. Though this step is optional, continuing to study or complete subsequent certifications can be an important driving force behind web and app developers remaining excellent at what they do.

What are the benefits of Java certification?

A Java certification highlights the skills, qualifications and overall suitability for programming jobs. Java is the most popular programming language in the world, with the majority of companies opting to use it for web and app development needs. Someone who's confident in using the platform but doesn't have the certificate can consider studying for a formal qualification to distinguish themselves against the competitors in the job market.

Additionally, Java is often updated with new innovations and processes, so a Java certificate also serves to keep web and app developers aware of updates and gain an advantage. Other benefits of earning a Java certification include the following:

  • More confidence: Boosting confidence in their own abilities can help people perform better within their roles and feel more comfortable pursuing promotions and pay increases.

  • Career development: Many employers specify a preference for app and web developers to be specifically Java certified, and some may even reimburse employees who self-fund their Java certification training.

  • Ease of use: Java allows users to write, compile and debug more easily than other programs with the same functions. Studying specifically for a Java certificate can provide developers with important skills to make certain tasks easier to perform.

  • Security: Java is known to have high levels of security, and security is its foundation. Java certification courses cover this aspect comprehensively.

  • Versatility: You can use Java on any platform and move between computer systems easily. It's a platform with international recognition, so possessing strong Java skills is a desirable asset to have.

Related: 51 Java interview questions to expect (with sample answers)

What are the key Java certifications to consider?

There are several Java courses that you can study across many institutions and providers. The two most popular courses and the ones that most potential employers typically prefer are the following:

  • Oracle Java Certified Associate (OCA): The entry-level OCA course for Java programmers delivers a basic understanding of the Java programming language. You can gain foundational knowledge via dedicated tutorials and practice tests.

  • Oracle Java Certified Professional (OCP): The OCP course builds upon the basics to develop and demonstrate a higher level of knowledge and skills.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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