VSJ – Feb 2007 – Sounding Board

As a rule, we treat IAP News as a vehicle for members and partners. Now and then, though, something comes our way that we feel deserves an audience just because it’s likely to be helpful to a significant proportion of the membership. And anyway, rules were made to be broken. So here’s Patricia Passarelli, Editor and Evangeliser at JavaBlackBelt, talking about, well, JavaBlackBelt.

Even after a becoming a Sun Certified Java Programmer, it’s tricky for programmers to market their skills. Plus, they need a self-paced way to keep up with the changing needs in technology. JavaBlackBelt provides a meaningful alternative to Sun and other industry-led certifications. It’s a community based, mass-authoring approach for creating certification and study/learn exams on a variety of Java and related technologies. Most certifications can be passed after a course on syntax and gotchas. And they don’t necessarily prove the potential and aptitude of a developer. The self-study/learn exams on JavaBlackBelt are a true self-diagnostic for developers. With them, developers can prove they really know Java, understand the topics and sub-topics and identify knowledge gaps. JavaBlackBelt isn’t geared toward passing particular certification exams. It promotes valuable learning for skills building – skills that can be put into practice immediately.

This is how it works: users sign up – for FREE – and take exams, from basic J2SE to exams on frameworks like Spring and tools like ANT. They can also progress up the belt track – a skill-level recognition system borrowed from the martial arts. The colour of the belts earned endorses users’ technical knowledge. Every time users “level-up” their belts it’s posted on the home page with their photos and links to their profiles. After taking an exam, users can review the answers to the questions they got right – and those they got wrong. Instantly they can identify knowledge “weak spots.” During an exam, they can vote on question quality and appropriate targeting to the exam objectives. Users can also give feedback to improve or correct question content and syntax. These unique, mass-authoring features, as part of the exam process, are how JavaBlackBelt.com exams continually evolve to ensure that they remain useful to developers – as they evolve. JavaBlackBelt exams have real-world value making them a meaningful metric for learning and skills building.

JavaBlackBelt is not a “fast food” approach. Rather it emphasises an ongoing commitment to learning that continues long after a developer gets a certification. It’s a meaningful alternative because it’s a community-managed track for many certifications. And it’s a place for developers to get their skills recognised – which motivates learning. This encourages a longer view toward self-improvement.

See www.javablackbelt.com for more details.

[Something you’d like to get off your chest? Email me (Robin Jones) at eo@iap.org.uk.]

Comments are closed.