To separate yourself from the mob of J2EE developers, it is critical that you have that little something extra on your resume; something that is recognized worldwide and yet is rather difficult to attain. Sun Certified Web Component Developer (SCWCD) is just such a resume booster, helping to distinguish one developer from another. Here are the basics on this cert, starting with what the exam has on it and ending with how you can prepare for it.

What is on the exam?
SCWCD focuses on servlets, JSP, and a few design patterns. If servlets and JSPs are your domain, and J2EE is very familiar territory, SCWCD is your certification. Unlike the Enterprise Architect and Java Developer certifications, with Web Component Developer certification, Sun offers something that developers handle daily. Anyone who has spent a year or so with servlets and JSPs feels confident, so what better way to prove the point than becoming certified? The primary contents of the exam are:

  • The servlet model.
  • Structure and deployment of Web applications.
  • Thread safety and writing secure servlets.
  • JavaServer Pages (JSP).
  • Using and developing custom tags.
  • Design patterns.

Exam prerequisites
A prerequisite for the SCWCD exam is that you should be a Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP). This makes perfect sense, as the exam does not attempt to test your core Java skills. That knowledge is presumed. The SCJP clause also results in some prestige being attached to the certification.

The exam is a multiple choice with a few fill-in-the-blank questions. The exam is comprised of 59 questions with a passing percentage of 61. Time is no real constraint, with the allotted 90 minutes offering plenty of time.

Prepare yourself
Here are some of the better ways to prepare for this exam:

  • Be a regular reader of certification forum messages. You would be surprised at how knowledgeable and helpful people can be. JavaRanch is, of course, the mother of all such forums. However, there are many other SCWCD e-mail lists.
  • Prepare with exam simulators, such as JWebPlus and SCWCD@Whiz. These simulators go a long way in regards to getting you used to the style of questioning. I used JWebPlus and found it extremely useful.
  • Study an SCWCD exam guide (Manning Publications, Sybex, and Wrox all offer one). Or, if you are used to studying specifications, you could thoroughly go through the JSP and Servlet specifications. I would recommend the first approach. The SCWCD Exam Study Kit by Deshmukh, Malavia, and Carter (Manning Publications) is particularly impressive, especially the exam quick-prep section.
  • Take notes from those who have passed the SCWCD. There are many good Samaritans around who have put up their exam preparation notes for free download. Grab all that you can get your hands on and don’t forget to thank the author.
  • Test yourself with free mock exams. You can get mock exams and links to other practice exams at and JavaRanch.
  • Download Jakarta Tomcat or a similar server and try out every trick that you possibly can.  It’s amazing how much minor deployment tweaks can achieve.

It is worth the effort
Overall, SCWCD is a great choice for anybody who deals with servlets and JSP. Even if you are an experienced servlet and JSP developer, I am sure you would discover many great new features that servlets or JSPs provide. As for how tough the exam is, I would rate it as being somewhat easier than the SCJP. If I could clear it with a surprisingly good score of 96 percent, I am sure that you could too.