What Are Java Certifications? (With FAQs and How-to Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 29, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A Java certification can help you demonstrate your expertise with the Java coding language to an employer. Companies with specific programming needs may pursue Java professionals that can prove their competence with a variety of Oracle certifications. Understanding the differences between each level of Java certification and how to earn them can help you decide whether this career path is right for you. In this article, we explain what Java certifications are, discuss the benefits of earning one, review the different levels of certifications, outline steps to earn these certifications, and answer popular questions on the topic.

What are Java certifications?

Java certifications are professional credentials for computer programmers who develop Java codes. These certifications validate a candidate's knowledge and expertise in Java code development. To earn these certifications, you may take programming classes and pass a Java exam, demonstrating to prospective employers that you have the necessary skill set for a Java programmer.

Benefits of Java developer certifications

As Java is a popular programming language that many companies use, earning this certification can help you distinguish yourself from other job applicants. It also helps Java programmers update their skills and knowledge on new features and upgrades. This certification can also help you show employers that you're dedicated to the program and have in-depth knowledge of it. Other benefits of earning a Java certification include:

More job opportunities

Companies typically seek to recruit talented Java developers to fill open positions, and with this certification, you can increase your chances of employment. With the speed of technological innovation, the demand for more computer programmers and developers is constantly rising. It can also give you an advantage over applicants with fewer credentials.

Higher job security

Companies typically value certified Java developers because it can take a significant amount of time and money to recruit developers with sufficient skills and experience. Adding a Java certification to your resume can improve a company's perception of your value and increase your job security. This certification is also helpful when a firm acquires or merges with another company. With these certifications, skills, and experience, it may be easier to keep your job with the new company after the merge.

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Career advancement

Java certifications can aid recommendations and promotions at work. There are different Java developer certifications for beginners and experts, both of which can increase your chances of receiving a promotion. A supervisor may give you more responsibilities and tasks when you prove your competence with a certification. This can assure the employer of your expertise, which may also help you achieve a promotion.

Higher salary

It's likely for your salary to increase as you acquire more education, experience, and certifications. You can earn a Java certificate to improve your chances of getting a pay raise or promotion, which also typically includes a higher salary and bonuses. Some companies also give bonuses and higher pay to skilled employees with advanced certifications to entice them to remain with the company. With a Java developer certification, you may also qualify for higher senior developer positions, which typically pay more.

Java certifications to pursue

There are typically five certification levels under Oracle's Java certification path. They are:

Oracle Certified Junior Associate (OCJA)

The novice-level Java Foundations Certified Junior Associate certification is for secondary school, college, or university students studying computer science or taking part in the Oracle academy training. This certification can help validate a student's capabilities and show their willingness to learn more about Java. It's typically not necessary to have hands-on professional experience with Java to earn this certification. A basic understanding of the Java programming language, analytical problem-solving skills, and an interest in gaining experience can be helpful in earning the OCJA certification.

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Oracle Certified Associate (OCA)

The Java associate certifications test your knowledge of the fundamentals of Java, such as working with Java data types, Java basics, and the use of operators and decision constructs. The exam also assesses your knowledge of creating and using arrays and loop constructs, working with methods, encapsulation, and inheritance, and handling expectations. Other levels of this associate certification, such as the OCA Java SE 8 Programmer certification, are for candidates with a technical background looking to advance their knowledge. You can also pursue an OCA certificate as a Java SE 5, 6, or 7 Programmer to further demonstrate your expertise.

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Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)

This certification is typically for developers with advanced skills and expertise in the Java programming language. These professionals strive to earn this certification to advance their careers and develop their knowledge of, and proficiency in, Java technologies. OCP certifications typically attest that you understand Java's structure and basic syntax, object-oriented concepts, flow control, declarations, initialization and scoping, and fundamentals. It isn't necessary to be a certified Java associate to take this exam. Java SE professional certifications include:

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 8 Programmer

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer

Oracle Certified Master (OCM)

The Oracle Certified Master certification comprises both the Oracle Certified Master, Java SE 6 Developer certification and the Java SE 6 Developer Certified Master Assignment. Before taking these exams, candidates are to submit an archived course they have completed or complete one of the listed courses. The listed courses are usually instructor-led in class (ILT), training on demand (TOD), a live virtual class (LVC), or an unlimited learning subscription. The training is usually conducted by the Oracle University Training Center, Oracle Academy, Oracle Authorized Education Center, or Oracle Workforce Development Program. The list of courses include:

  • Java SE 7 Programming

  • Developing Applications with Java EE 6 on WebLogic Server 12c

  • Java SE 8: Programming


Oracle Certified Expert (OCE)

The Oracle Certified Expert certifications are for professionals who already have experience working with the Java programming language. There are also expert certifications for developers working with JavaServer Faces, web components and services, Persistence API, and Enterprise JavaBeans. The topics the exams cover depend on the specific expert certification you're considering.

How to get a Java certification

The steps to earning a Java certification include:

1. Decide on a certification

There are different types and levels of certification from which you can choose. Depending on your knowledge of the Java programming language, your options may range from a junior associate certification to an expert-level certification. You can research available certifications to select the one that fits your current skill level. For example, if you're a beginner looking to start a career as a programmer, you can consider earning a junior associate certification. If you've been in the programming field for a while and you're considering advancing your career, a master's or expert certification can be beneficial.

2. Attend classes

Taking classes or attending programs specific to the certification you intend to earn can help you pass the certification exams. You can either take classes online or in-person. Completing courses to earn a Java certification may not be mandatory, but it can teach you the field's most critical skills and help prepare you for a career in Java programming.

3. Register and prepare for the exam

You can register for your certification exam after taking classes and preparing. It's possible to buy an exam voucher and schedule your test for a convenient date. As the exam vouchers expire after six months, it's essential that you schedule your exam within that time frame, especially as certain certifications require you to complete multiple exams. Some programs offer study guides to their exams, but you can also find study questions and practise exams online.

As each exam covers different topics, it can be helpful to focus your studies on the particular exam for which you're preparing. You can continue earning more certifications to enhance your resume and increase your job security.

FAQs about Java certifications

Here are common questions on these certifications:

Can a Java certification get you a job?

If you're looking for a new job as a software developer with Java skills, you can earn these certifications to increase your employment chances. Some organizations require their developers to have these certificates to prove their proficiency using the Java programming language. Even when companies don't require it, a Java certification might still influence a hiring manager to choose you over another candidate.

What jobs can I get with a Java certification?

There are several entry and senior-level roles you can get with these certifications. Popular positions include junior programmer, architect, senior programmer, and IT manager. These certifications can also develop your skill set and help you prepare to work in various areas and specializations, including back-end development, big data development, android development, and embedded devices development.

What is the average salary of a Java developer?

The national average salary of a Java developer is $89,578 per year. This salary excludes bonuses and incentives. A Java developer typically works in an office environment but can work remotely under certain circumstances. These circumstances include employer preferences and freelance opportunities.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data based on indeed salaries at the time of writing. Salary may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.

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