questionsis it worth it to get a java certification?

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only if you plan on making starbucks a career.

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I'm a young professional with a degree in computer engineering. Much of my undergraduate education was Java too. I don't think getting the certification is necessary, since it's redundant to your degree. My BF does have the certification, and the impression that I got from him was that test was looking for how well you could code Java, not how well you could identify a problem and develop an appropriate software solution. In other words, it's more for coders than computer scientists.

Your best bet would be to talk to your manager and let them know that you'd be interested in taking on that type of role. Ask them if there are any sort of extra qualifications you'd need, or training that you should take. I'm not sure if you're referring to small components, which you're already probably qualified for, or big picture design, which you'd need several years experience and additional training for, so be careful how you approach this.

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No, because you already have a computer science degree. It isn't going to help your resume. My company advocates java certs for folks who want to be programmers but have no formal training in it, say going from QA or DBA to developer.

If you want to move away from what you are doing now, your skills and qualifications should be enough to get you a full time java developer job at another company. Maybe not the coveted SE job you want right away, but you'll get there. A cert isn't the way, though.

vote-for3vote-against

You say you don't have any personal projects going on - is that because you don't have the time, or because your current employer restricts your ability to do so?

It seems like your effort would be better spent either contributing to a project or working on a little side project that's hosted on github. That, or answering StackOverflow questions in the topic.

I know that some companies value certifications, but so far in my career I haven't worked for one.

vote-for4vote-against

As a computer science major myself, I've talked to a few managers and founders of startups tech companies. They often tell me that when they see certifications listed on a resumé (Java, CompTIA A+, etc.), they immediately throw away the resumé because it tells them that the potential hiree doesn't have any practical experience.

They look more for real-life programming experience rather than meaningless certification exams. So, having a good StackOverflow and Github profile will help polish your image more than having certifications.

Also, here's a relevant image (drag it into a new tab if you can't read the text):

vote-for2vote-against

A cert is good, if it's good for the job.
Otherwise, it should maybe help you get that other better job you want.
If that other better job doesn't exist, the cert is meaningless.
Unless you don't have a degree.
Why would you get a cert if you already have a degree?
Get a cert in management. That plus your degree will mean a lot more than a new cert in something you already have a degree in.

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What are your goals? A cert could be useful if programming in Java is what your are interested in, but after 25 years doing architecture, designing, programming in a variety of languages, I've found that certification in a language is good (but can get outdated quickly), but being able to program in more than one language, working on complicated projects, working well independently or in a team, and other such skills can go further toward getting you a job or helping you keep your job with others are let go. For example, I could hone my programming skills , but found that expanding my electronics skills and firmware dev. skills helped me stay employed because I was useful in more than one area. If you want to develop skills in embedded, try a gadgeteering kit from someone like ghielectronics of some sparkfun tutorials. In my case, I'd rather add a new skill like perl or ruby than certify a current skill. Management cert might be a good idea since you are not using Java.

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Yea, I think the issue right now is that I want to move from an integration role (primarily scripting, debugging, support, etc.) into a purely development role (back to OOP plz).

I'll look into github and see if there's something I can jump on there.

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I guess the problem I have with projects like these is that I want to be able to contribute, but I'm worried about holding a team back. I know that I know how to program, I know that I'm good at it, but generally I'm still waaaaaaaaay at the bottom of the totem pole. I haven't worked my way into any kind of specialty or expertise, so it's hard for me to even go about choosing a project.

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I've made a career out of not having a specialty or expertise. Maybe, instead of wanting to be a specialist, embrace the large amount of development diversity out there and learn a bit of everything. Be the jack of all trades, master of none and have variety in live. Don't be a code-monkey.

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Your resume just needs to be enticing enough to get you in the door. Emphasize the parts of your past experience that would lead you into the type of role you'd like to be in.

If you manage to get in the door, most programming interviewers aren't going to really care what you've done before. They're going to give you programming questions that you have to either whiteboard or type in an editor. I would suggest checking out http://amzn.com/1118261364 and/or http://amzn.com/098478280X . I've always found these types of questions more like the ACT/SATs than especially good tests of real-world value, but fair or foul, that's how most interviews are conducted. So.. like the ACTs, study up until it's easy and fast for you to deconstruct these kinds of problems into the base parts that an interviewer is looking for.

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(☞ ゚ヮ゚)☞ developed tons of super awesome emoticon macros during free time ☜(゚ヮ゚☜)

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Have you considered something like the freelancer or rent a coder websites? There might be some jobs you could do on there to increase your experience level and add to your resume.