Java Black Belt

Thanks to a tip off from the Java Posse last month, I started investigating the Java Black Belt certification community site.

In the past, I’ve been sceptical of certification processes, as I believed that my CV was a better and more accurate indication of my skills than than anything that a certification could say about me. Additionally, there was the issue that obtaining a certification from a commercial or educational entity necessarily involves a lot of hassle regarding registration, fees, text books, study, and actually sitting an exam.

I was a bit more comfortable with the concept of what Java Black Belt is working towards, and the price is unbeatable (free). The questions are written by users, and hence there is a wide variety in quality an accuracy. However, the question moderation system means that (hopefully) the cream will float to the top, and the real exams will have questions of a reasonable quality. In the exams that I have completed, there have been a few dubious questions, but on the whole they were reasonable and correct questions.

An interesting aspect is the community involvement: to be allowed to sit exams, you must contribute in some way to the exams. Either writing new questions, improving other questions, or commenting on other things. I think that this feature is one of the most important learning tools for a developer. By going beyond a “is the answer right or wrong?” mindset, into a more thoughtful “is the question meaningful or test the correct knowledge?” mindset, the user is likely to gain a much better fuller understanding exam goals.

Anyway, I’ve passed a few exams now, achieved a green belt (which is the highest I can go at this stage), and I think I will start referring to my Java Black Belt profile to potential clients or employers.