Rather than having five different certification programs, IBM, Novell, Oracle, Sun, and the Sun-Netscape alliance believe a single training program will encourage Java developers to educate themselves.
Their goal is to fatten the number of skilled Java programmers--now in short supply--as more businesses turn to Java to build e-commerce and enterprise applications.
A uniform testing method will eliminate duplicate efforts among Java companies. And for employers, it will make it easier to judge the skill level of their programmers, group representatives say.
Steve Holbrook, Novell's chief Java strategist, said the program will help Java developers progress in their careers and improve their salary. "There are over 500,000 Java developers out there. We're offering a road map more beneficial to them," he said.
The group has proposed three levels of Java developers. "Certified programmers" need to pass one test, based on the current Sun Certified Programmer for the Java Platform exam, to show they're proficient in the language.
For the next step, "Certified Solution Developers" needs to pass two tests and show they are competent in Java application development and objected-oriented analysis and design using the Unified Modeling Language. Tests include proficiency with tools such as IBM's Visual Age for Java or Oracle's JDeveloper.
The final step is "certified enterprise developers," in which Java programmers show they can develop enterprise Java applications with an application server. Tests include knowledge of application server technology such as the Netscape Application Server.
The Level One test is available today with the others coming in the fall. Developers who have taken similar tests from the participating companies won't have to take them again, the group said.
Other companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Inprise, are supporting the proposed certification program. They plan to update tests every six months and refine it over time. Each test costs about $125 each.