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Sun Certified Java Programmer: Career Info & Requirements

Discover what type of work a Sun Certified Java Programmer performs. Learn about the job outlook and salary as well as education and skill requirements to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Sun Certified Java Programmer

The Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) is knowledgeable about the fundamentals of the Java programming language, and qualified SCJPs are in demand by a wide range of enterprises engaged in software development. The SCJP exam is also a prerequisite to higher-level certifications in other Java-related areas, such as web components, business components, web services and mobile applications.

Education Learning Paths available through Sun, school programs also available
Job Skills Programming languages, organization, math skills, understanding of abstract concepts
Median Salary (2015)* $79,530 for computer programmers
$98,260 for software applications developers
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -8% for computer programmers
19% for software applications developers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Information

Sun Microsystems offers several 'Learning Paths' to certification, for students with minimal prior experience or those familiar with other programming languages. Many other institutions, from technical schools to universities, offer training in Java principles, techniques and development systems, and all of these courses prepare the student to be an effective Java programmer, and take the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam. The 2-hour exam must be taken at a licensed testing facility, and there are no specific prerequisites.

Skills Required

A firm understanding of computers, programming languages and advanced programming concepts would put you on the fast track to a career as a Sun Certified Java Programmer. Students with little programming experience but good math aptitude, organizational abilities and an understanding of abstract concepts should consider taking a beginner's level course in computer concepts before the SCJP training. Sun offers Sun Certified Java Associate (SCJA) training for non-technical students, and other introductory computer courseware is widely available.

Career and Economic Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary in 2015 for applications software developers was $98,260. Computer programmers made a median annual salary of $79,530 in the same year, but there was no specific data for Sun-certified Java programmers. Jobs for computer programmers will decline by 8% during 2014-2024, while software application developers will see increases of 19% according to the BLS. Programmers and software developers experienced in a broad range of technologies, especially currently popular ones like Java, should continue to have the best employment prospects.

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Alternative Careers

Here are a few other choices for careers in software development:

Web Developer

If creating the structure and design of websites sounds appealing, consider a career in web development. Web developers often have specialized roles as web architects, web designers or webmasters. As determined by the position, job duties might include choosing style elements like text and colors, selecting the layout, creating and installing applications and page features, monitoring website traffic and fixing page errors.

An associate degree in a computer or web design field is necessary to work in this profession, but employers hiring for many complex positions in web architecture may require a programming or computer science bachelor's degree. The BLS predicts much faster than average growth of 27% for web developers between 2014 and 2024. It also estimated that these computer professionals earned a median yearly salary of $64,970 in 2015.

Computer Systems Administrator

For those with an interest in setting up computer systems at an organization and making sure the equipment and software runs properly every day, becoming a computer systems administrator may be a good career move. After examining what technology is needed, systems administrators install the machines, measure system performance and make necessary repairs, perform equipment and system upgrades and set up user access accounts. A certificate in computer studies may be acceptable for smaller organizations or entry-level jobs, but employers may require an engineering or computer science bachelor's degree.

During the 2014-2024 decade, the BLS expects an 8% increase in employment opportunities for network and computer systems administrators. In May of 2015, close to 383,000 computer and network administrators worked in the U.S. and received $77,810 in median yearly income.

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