Programming Success: The SCEA Certification
Having spent a number of years in IT working with many programming languages, including Java, you have mastered the art of computer programming. Now you are ready to celebrate your achievement by becoming a Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA) for the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Technology—the highest certification in Java technology by Sun Microsystems.
What is SCEA?
The SCEA for J2EE exam is the last test in the following series:
- Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP)
- Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD)
- Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD)
- Sun Certified Enterprise Architect (SCEA)
The SCEA for J2EE exam tests the ideas that you would have learned over a number of years as a software professional, typically in a career that spans a longer time frame and more languages than Java technology. The exam tests your ability to produce an enterprise architecture using J2EE. To create architecture for J2EE, your knowledge about how the components of J2EE work and interrelate will be tested. The SCEA exam is composed of three elements: a multiple-choice exam, an architecture and design project and an essay exam as detailed below:
- Part 1: Exam #310-051 is available at Prometric for $150 (U.S.). There are no prerequisites. The exam includes 48 multiple-choice, short answer and drag-and-drop questions. Candidates have 75 minutes to take the exam, and the pass score is 68 percent.
- Part 2: The architecture and design project must be completed via Sun’s certification database. You must complete exam #310-051 before completing the project. There is no time limit, and the passing score is 70 percent, subject to the evaluation of the essay exam and validation of the authenticity of the assignment.
- Part 3: Exam #310-061, an essay exam, can be completed at Prometric testing centers for $150 (U.S.). In order to take this exam, you must have completed the multiple-choice exam as well as the architecture and design project. There are four questions, which you have 90 minutes to complete.
The SCEA certification covers the following topics:
- Common architectures
- Legacy connectivity
- Enterprise Java Beans
- Enterprise Java Beans Container Model
- Applicability of J2EE technology
- Design patterns
For detailed information refer to the Certification Success Guide at suned.sun.com/US/images/certification_archj2ee_07_01.pdf.
Prepare with Care
The SCEA exam is difficult to pass and hence, it is well respected in the industry. There are many ways you can prepare for the SCEA exam:
Going by the complexity of the examination (especially parts 2 and 3), I recommend studying through a combination of books that provide detailed information covering entire list of objectives.
Here are the names of some useful books:
- “Sun Certified Enterprise Architect for J2EE Technology Study Guide” by Mark Cade and Simon Roberts
- “Enterprise Java Beans” by Richard Monson Haefel
- “Mastering Enterprise Java Beans” by Ed Roman
- “Design Patterns” by Erich Gamma, et al
- “Applied Java Patterns” by Stephen Stelting and Olav Maassen
- “UML Distilled” by Martin Fowler
- “Java Message Service” by Richard Monson Haefel and David A. Chappell
The current version of the SCEA exam tests your knowledge of J2EE 1.2 API. See www.java.sun.com/apis.html for complete J2EE API specs and related documentation.
Becoming familiar with an application server is an integral part of the preparation for the SCEA. You can use any Application Server, providing it is compliant with the J2EE1.2 specification. Here are the links to the DEMO versions of BEA’s WebLogic and IBM’s WebSphere Application Servers:
- WebLogic (commerce.bea.com/downloads/products.jsp)
- WebSphere (www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/download/category.jsp?s=s&cat=webserver&source=sd)
Tutorials and Articles:
There are many quality tutorials and articles on various J2EE technologies. Here are some of them that cover the objectives of the SCEA exam:
- J2EE Tutorial (java.sun.com/j2ee/tutorial/index.html)
- TheServerSide, your J2EE Community (www.theserverside.com)
- Netscape’s SSL document (developer.netscape.com/docs/manuals/security/sslin/contents.htm)
- J2EE Security (www.certificationguru.com/javatutorial/j2eeSecurity.html)
- Load Balancing Article (www.webtechniques.com/archives/1998/05/engelschall)
- Java Internationalization (java.sun.com/products/jdk/1.1/docs/guide/intl/)
- JMS Tutorial (java.sun.com/products/jms/tutorial/1_3_1-fcs/doc/jms_tutorialTOC.html)
There is nothing like learning from the experience of successful people who have been through the process of obtaining SCEA certification. Here are some high-quality and concise notes from some successful candidates:
- Sun Certified Enterprise Architect, Quick Reference, Chris Broecker (ibelgique.ifrance.com/sweber/SCEA/Notes/Chris_Broecker_Notes.doc)
- Quick Revision Tips from SCEA@Whiz (www.whizlabs.com/scea/tips.html)
- Tim Ho’s Notes (ibelgique.ifrance.com/sweber/SCEA/Notes/Tim_Ho_Notes.txt)
- Heather MacKenzie’s Notes (ibelgique.ifrance.com/sweber/SCEA/Notes/Heather_MacKenzie_Notes.doc)
- John Wetherbie’s Notes (ibelgique.ifrance.com/sweber/SCEA/Notes/John_Wetherbie_Notes.txt)
- Stephane Weber’s Notes (Look under Synthesis section at ibelgique.ifrance.com/sweber)
The following training is also available:
- SUN’s Course SL-425, from the creators of SCEA exam (suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/SL-425.html)
- Middleware Company, a premier J2EE Training Company (www.middleware-company.com)
After you have prepared with book(s), browsed through the specifications, read the tutorials, articles and notes, you need to practice for the exam. What can be better than taking a mock exam? Unlike SCJP, for which there are plenty of good quality mock exams available, there is only a handful of mock exams