Monday, July 22, 2013

Introduction – Certification Steps


In the previous few posts, we took a high level look at what this SCJD certification is and the eligibility requirements. If you are reading this article it means that you are all geared up to embark on an ambitious journey towards this certification.

In this section you will be going through chapters that cover topics on the certification steps as well as a high level look at how your project submission will be graded.

To start with, unlike other Java certifications which are Q & A based, the SCJD exam is a hands-on scenario where you are expected to create and deliver a full-fledged software project. Remember, you cannot get this certification by just memorizing a few key concepts and remembering the answers. You need real life experience and capabilities to take your project through the full Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and deliver it.

The reason why 90% of the failed software projects fail is “Insufficient or Improper Planning”

If you want your certification attempt to succeed, I would suggest you think long and hard to decide how you will be approaching your project. I am not talking about designing the project solution. That will take many days to figure out and you will need that time to create a robust solution & design. I am talking about the high level project plan where “Design” too is one of the elements.

One of the key differences between Technical people and Managers is the fact that the techie guys are not interested in Management and are great at doing the design & coding part when a manager hands them the tasks and keeps them on track. Unfortunately, as part of this certification attempt, you need to take care of the project management part yourselves and hence if you are someone who doesn’t like management or aren’t comfortable doing it, it is high-time you came out of the non-manager closet and try your hands at it. I am not saying that you need to be a top-notch project manager in order to succeed in this certification attempt because that isn’t what is expected out of you. You are a technical expert and you are trying to prove that by attaining this certification. However, even the best technical experts need some basic management skills which will be essential and that is what is expected from you through the course of this certification attempt.

Your plan should be simple. You aren’t building the next super computer. You are just building a small software project for your certification. So, the plan must include details like when you will finalize the scope of the project, when you will start the design etc.

Trivia:
If you are tempted to think “I have enough experience, I can figure out things as we move on…” please stop. This is the biggest reason why people fail in this certification and why this certification is so elusive.

Being someone who moved over the project management stream of work after being a techie guy for many years, I can understand the temptation to start work without proper planning. The sad truth is, as long as I was just a techie guy I never realized the shortcomings of beginning work without proper planning. If I think back at my career and see what I could’ve done better, the first thing that comes up is I could’ve planned things better, it could’ve saved me loads of time I spent slogging…

Anyways, having good software development methodology and plan is what distinguishes Pro’s from junior developers.

Summary of this Chapter:

Do not start writing code for this project unless you have understood the project requirements and have formally created a requirements document. This applies to real life too but in real life you will have a project manager behind your back who will be running the show in terms of processes. But, in this case you are on your own. To ensure that you don’t miss anything that is required as part of the project, make sure to document the requirements and key deliverables. Once you document your requirements and deliverables you can at any point in time go back to it and double-check to confirm that you are making progress in the right direction for your project.

Prev: Are you Eligible for the SCJD/OCMJD certification?

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