Certifying your way to success

Pradeep Chopra WhizlabsWhizlabs is well known in the Java world as one of the top providers of exam simulators for various Java certifications. Whizlabs is also one of the few product based success stories from India.

In this interview we speak to Pradeep Chopra, one of the founders of Whizlabs.He talks about the various certifications and their relevance. He also provides some useful advice for all certification aspirants.

IndicThreads >>Welcome to IndicThreads! Could you introduce yourself and your company to IndicThreads visitors?

Pradeep Chopra >>Before I start, I would like to congratulate you on this great initiative of starting a J2EE portal from India. Also, I would like to thank you for your interest and trust in Whizlabs!

Based in Delhi, Whizlabs Software is among the global leaders in IT-skill assessment and certification exam preparation. Whizlabs’ suite of offerings include ‘IT Certification Exam Simulators and Instructor-led Online Trainings’ for various exams by Sun, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, BEA, Cisco, PMI and other leading IT vendors and ‘IT Skill Assessment Management Solution for corporations, training institutes, and universities.

“We have contributed to the success
of over 380,000 IT professionals
in the last 4 years.”

I am one of the co-founders of Whizlabs. After passing out from IIT Delhi in 1999, I worked in TCS (my first and probably the last job J) for 16 months before starting Whizlabs in 2001, with two of my batch mates, Kapil Nakra and Purvesh Sharma. We are an ISO 9001-2000 company and we’ve contributed to the success of over 380,000 IT professionals in the last 4 years. Our key corporate customers include Infosys, Cisco, Accenture, and Nucleus Software for whom we’ve developed recruitment, skill assessment, employee evaluation, and certification exam preparation solutions.

IndicThreads >>Cool. What do you think of Java certifications? How much value do you think they add to a person’s resume both in terms of knowledge and earning potential?

Pradeep Chopra >>Getting certified is a great way to invest in your professional development and to help boost your career potential.

IT managers know the skills verified during the certification process are the same skills that can help lead to increased productivity, decreased time-to-market, reduced risk of system failure, greater employee satisfaction, and enhanced staff credibility. In a nutshell, your chances of getting short listed for an interview are greatly increased though that would not be the only criteria for an interview call. In present circumstances it has become more of a necessity than a novelty.

“Getting certified is a great way
to invest in your professional development
and to help boost your career potential”

Value of java certifications has been validated by number of research studies conducted by various reputed organizations. Sun Certified Java Professionals command top salaries in the industry, compared to other certification holders (JavaPro, 2002).

CRN Salary Survey (2002) even goes to the extent that Sun certifications ranks in the top three -compared with all other IT certifications – for its impact on salary.

“Average Sun Certified Developer
for Java earns $22,550 more than
their non-certified counterparts.”

What can be more astounding is the fact reported by CRN Salary Survey 2002: average Sun Certified Developer for Java earns $22,550 more than their non-certified counterparts.

IndicThreads>>Which Java certifications do you think are the most recognized and useful? Also, at what stage of his/her career should a Java developer consider each of these?

Pradeep Chopra >>It is difficult to say which particular certification is important for one’s career, as all the certifications offered by Sun appears at different levels of one’s career and caters to different needs. Java has evolved from a language for developing platform independent client applications to an architecture for developing n-tier enterprise application.

For instance:

SCJP: SCJP is an entry-level certification targeted at those who are new to java. This exam is intended for programmers experienced in using the basic syntax and structure of the Java programming language. It provides them with an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in the fundamentals of the Java programming language using the Java 2 Platform

SCWCD: This certification tests the knowledge of web components used to develop J2EE applications.
SCJD: SCJD validates an aspirant’s proficiency in developing complex, production-level applications using J2SE.
SCBCD: SCBCD for the Java 2 Platform (EJB Certification), Enterprise Edition 1.3 exam is for programmers and developers who design, develop, test, deploy, and integrate Enterprise JavaBeans.

SCEA: SCEA, spread over three rigorous stages, targets enterprise architects who are responsible for architecting and designing scalable and highly secure J2EE compliant applications. Not only it demands a high caliber, but also puts an aspirant’s expertise to test via a multiple-choice exam, a design assignment, and a detailed essay about the work.

SCMAD: Mobile market which is envisioned as the next technological wave by leading industry experts has its own Achilles heel due to the fragmented nature of the market, with various manufacturers competing to get their share of the pie. Java is once again poised to be the best programming language for the mobile market with its Write Once, Run Anywhere technology.

So it really depends what you actually wants to accomplish.
May be some facts and figures may help visitors of IndicThreads to have bird’s eye view of the whole opportunity.

SCEA: Finalist ?Most Respected High-Level Certification’
(CertCities Readers’ Choice Awards – May, 2003)

SCEA: Most Technically Advanced Program
(CertMag Nov, 2003)

SCBCD: Best new program or cert
(CertMag Nov, 2003)

SCJD: Finalist ?Best Developer Certification’
(CertCities Readers’ Choice Awards – May, 2003)

SCWCD: Finalist ?Best Internet/Web Certification’
(CertCities Readers’ Choice Awards – May, 2003)

SCJP: Best Entry level Certification
(CertMag Nov, 2003)

IndicThreads>>As the cost of most certs is quite significant, students can ill afford to fail. So how do you think should the students approach the exam so that they make it the first time?

Pradeep Chopra >>Preparing for any kind of IT certification is about both studying and practicing.

Before starting preparation for the exam, one must gather relevant information from the respective vendor. Once that is over refer to at least one book for preparation along with the resources available on the Internet like articles, tutorials, and specifications.

“Choose programming exercises that
help you focus on the exam objectives,
and don’t avoid the stuff you’re afraid of.”

After you’ve prepared with the appropriate books, browsed through the specifications, read the tutorials, articles, and notes, all that’s left to do is Practice. Start by getting yourself a good IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like JEdit and writing code. Choose programming exercises that help you focus on the exam objectives, and don’t avoid the stuff you’re afraid of. Better to make mistakes on your own time than in the exam itself.

Once all that is over, get to the real thing. Mock exams offer a good sampling of the kinds of questions you’ll encounter and give you the opportunity to resolve them on your own time. Certification test simulators take the mock-exam experience to the next level, by actually simulating the test environment. These will cost you some money but at the same time they ensure your success!

One thing I forgot to mention is that in case you plan to use free mock exams, make sure they are from reputed source and from the sites which are regularly updated for discrepancies in the content.

One other great option which has emerged lately and is for real is e-Learning. It has indeed become a great way to get a foundation especially for busy professionals. e-Learning offers the perfect combination of convenience and affordability eliminating the barriers of time and distance thereby creating on-demand opportunities real for aspirants across the globe. One such example is Online Trainings (instructor-led or self-study).

“e-Learning offers the
perfect combination of
convenience and affordability.”

IndicThreads>>What does Whizlabs have for Java cert aspirants around the world? Any special prices/packages for India?

Pradeep Chopra >>Whizlabs offers the following exam preparation solutions for various Java certification exams:
1.  Exam Simulators
a.  SCJP 1.4
b.  SCWCD
c.  SCBCD
d.  SCEA
e.  SCMAD

2.  Instructor-led, Online Trainings
a.  SCJP 1.4
b.  SCWCD
c.  SCBCD

Not to forget, we offer “Unconditional Test PASS Guarantee” on all of the above offerings.

Besides the above offerings, Whizlabs also provide the following useful resources:
? Articles and Tutorials
? Certification Books
? Discussion Forums

We don’t have differential pricing for customers in India and outside India but we give special offers like “Buy 2 Get 1 FREE!” which significantly reduce the pricing.

IndicThreads>>As you have many products beyond just Java exam simulators, I am sure you would have a wide perspective on the IT industry. So how do you think is Java placed with respect to competing technologies? Is it a good bet for those just starting off in the IT industry?

Pradeep Chopra >>Java, invented by James Gosling at Sun, was originally devised as an embedded language, but gained prominence as a web development language around 1995. Although Java began as a programming language, it has evolved into a complete enterprise development platform called J2EE, supporting distributed computing, web development, database interaction, etc. The platform-independent “Write once, Run anywhere” design of Java has made it a favorite of more than 3 million of developers worldwide.

Looking at the consistent growth, acceptance, and reach of J2EE technologies over the last few years, I personally believe that J2EE is the best bet for upcoming software professionals. Presence of over 250 million Java-enabled phones in today’s market speaks for the penetration of Java in the upcoming and fast growing domains like Telecom.

Certainly, statistics by JavaPro shows 11.5 % more value for aspirants acquiring Java certification as compared to other certifications.

IndicThreads>>What are Whizlabs’ plans for the future? With the expertise and users that you already have onboard, you could actually start off your own certifications.

Pradeep Chopra >>Considering Whizlabs past growth and seeing the upward trend of IT industry, I see a very bright future for us. I am very confident that we will continue to be the world leader in J2EE certification exam preparation arena. We’ll continue to launch exam simulators for various upcoming J2EE certification exams. In November, we’ll launch the much-awaited exam simulator for the latest Java certification, SCJWSD (Sun Certified Java Web Services Developer) by Sun.

“I am very confident that
we will continue to be the
world leader in J2EE certification exam
preparation arena.”

The positive response and continuous demand for our present Instructor-led, Online Trainings has motivated us to go for launching trainings for other J2EE certification exams in the near future.

Besides J2EE, we’ll expand our offerings (i.e. exam simulators and online trainings) for other IT certification exams including the niche areas like CISSP).

For corporations, we’ll continuously enhance our IT Skill Assessment Management System and increase the breadth of our IT skill content.

IndicThreads>>Anything else you wish to share with IndicThreads members?

Pradeep Chopra >>I would like to welcome the J2EE community at IndicThreads! I would like to say that the future of this portal lies in your hands and it is up to you to choose how much value you can gain from this initiative. As a member of the J2EE community, your contribution in terms of your participation, feedback and recommendation to your friends and associates is highly valuable for the success of IndicThreads.

IndicThreads >>Thanks Pradeep. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and listening to your views on Java and certifications. I am sure your suggestions would help IndicThreads members plan their certifications and excel in the exams.

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  • ignacio_345@hotmail.com

    hello, excuse me.! I need help to scjp cx 310 055 pleased.
    I am from Venezuela.
    Thank you very much.

  • sivaprakash.mahendran@yahoo.co

    I am sivaprakash
    I did SCJP1.4 and secured 86%.I did Not got any job
    Now I am preparing for SCWCD 1.5 I would plan to write that Exam on next month of nov 15
    IS that will give any oppurtunities

  • GUEST

    This article will surely help the IT professionals who are in confusion to take SCWCD the exam.

    Hats off Pradeep

    Regards
    Damodar Mukherjee

  • GUEST

    I really enjoyed a lot reading the interview.. felt really nice to hear the demand for java and java certifications..

  • Vandana

    Its really an inspiring article. Thanks to pradeep and Wizlabs. This will help all levels of Java professionals.

  • Pooja

    I was looking out for some expert opinion on value of J2EE certification and did get my answers.

  • Noname

    :roll

  • _AKOCOMMENT_GUESTNAME

    Ya, this is a boost to my thoughts on getting a certification now.. i am going to hunt for Wizlabs site for prices…. Kudos…..

  • Noname

    You’ve done great job in J2EE…. Kudos to you and your team.

    THanks
    Smith

  • Guest

    J2EE certifications seems to have huge potential

  • Guest

    I really enjoyed reading this interview. Congratulations IndicThreads and Wizlabs.

  • Guest

    This article has inspired me in 3 ways:
    1.) Value of J2EE certifications
    2.) Whizlabs growth and leadership in J2EE certifications
    3.) IndicThreads initiate as Indian J2EE portal.

    3 cheers :grin