This morning I was surfing around to see what’s new. I wasn’t there for a month or so (except those times when I published short announcements for my writings). I was fortunate to notice one interesting link — the link to new JavaLobby network site — JavaBlackBelt. It’s a free skills assessment community which can help you to get prepared to serious certification exams or just give you some fun during the coffee breaks.

Below are two books I recommend to pay attention to, if you are going to prepare yourself to exams.

Well, personally, I’m still in two minds about this site. From one side, it is basically a good idea to provide this kind of service — free skills assessment. Anyone can join the community and prove that he’s a pro in some area. But from the other side, without continuos extension and support the resource can die quickly. Who knows, will the community maintain this resource or it will play for a while and forget.

What looks both strange and interesting is that the tests on the site are built from the questions posted by registered users. Of course, the engine of open-source community is individuals, but won’t it affect the quality of tests? For a quick example you don’t need to go far. I was intrigued with the site and decided to pass the easiest test. I went to the public tests area and selected “Easy” questions from JavaPolis 2004 speakers test. The first question was relatively easy (about MBeans), but the second…

“Which functional areas are covered by the Content Repository for Java Technology API(JSR-170)?”

How do you like this easiest test? Why on earth I need to know this to be good in Java? That was my main point about it — someone needs to control the quality of material. That’s my opinion, of course.

In general, I like the site. It’s still looking young with lots rough edges and a bit open-source’ish look, but of course it’s a good start and worth an attempt. Wish you many black belts in Java!

Take your test!