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Java Developer : Article

Inside Sun's Java Training Classrooms

From pure Java to applied Java

As a software journalist, there are times when certain vendors will shut the door on reporting opportunities that might represent too much of an "inside view" of their technology or their organization. I've been to more developer events than I can remember where I've been handed a large red or yellow press badge so that I can be easily identified and kept out of the inner sanctums reserved for customers or employees.

Given this reality, it was something of a refreshing surprise to be allowed to sit in on a Java Standard Edition training course at Sun's UK headquarters this month. Given the impact of the global economic slowdown I wondered whether companies would be investing more heavily in the staff they are retaining, perhaps to garner greater productivity from individual employees or simply as a route to keeping their Java development at the cutting edge in terms of the latest functions, processes, and features.

Impartial Instruction?
Taking a view of our instructor (or teacher if you prefer), I had a fairly positive impression - he was an ex-Sun employee now working as a third-party training consultant. So, a nice extra sprinkle of impartiality perhaps? With a whole week ahead, after introductions and preambles, the first Java was up on the screen within an hour of the class starting so the developers didn't get restless and were correctly focused early on.

Sun structures its instruction with plenty of hands-on exercises; a good example of a student test given early on in the week was an assessment to try and fix code inside the Java Technology Runtime Environment that had been deliberately badly written. There were lots of refreshers on some of the core questions often posed of Java technology, such as why and how you can reuse Java technology application code; how to define modeling concepts such as abstraction, encapsulation, and packages; and even a little history of software engineering over the years as we have gradually moved to higher and higher-level languages essentially more abstracted and ever closer to English.

The trainer pointed so much of his content toward one of the most pertinent points of interest for all students by repeatedly stressing that the topics covered were in an area that the attendees will need to know about if they are considering professional Java certification. As certification is becoming ever more of a differentiator in the current climate, this is surely the right way to teach.

The Breadth of Java
"Sun's Java training programs are carefully structured to ensure that the content is always pitched at the right level to be commensurate with the delegates' skill set. But Java is a broad technology and in a real-world development environment, solutions can be as varied as the problems they are addressing. With that in mind, Sun strives to make sure that course content reflects the needs of the software developers as they interact with these technologies on a day to day basis," said independent software education consultant Brian Earl.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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