" I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have "

Thomas Jefferson

Oracle Certified Java Professional Programmer

I wrote my first exam Oracle Certified Java Professional Programmer 1Z0-851 on 16 March 2013. I prepared for this exam rigorously since this is the first time I was going to write any Certification Exam. I was very much interested in this exam from more than one year. What was keeping me away from writing this exam was time , since in college time pursuing a goal was a bit tough. One day while a friend of mine mentioning about exam I really got motivated to go for this exam.

I read many stories on coderanch of guys who have already cleared this exam and their preparation for the exam. I planned for this exam , searched on internet whatever that can help me to pass this exam. Passing this exam requires a serious study , so I planned accordingly. I purchased Kathy and Bert`s famous book to prepare , I used to study each chapter than I follow the quizzes. Sometimes I felt very bored. While I was reading the book I didn`t get many concepts.

Many a times the goal that I was aiming seemed very far and I suspected whether I will be able to complete it. When I got to the end of the book, I felt fifty-fifty, which is not the right feeling that you should get before opting a costly exam . So I read the book again and again and then only those things that I was not very confident about. But still that feeling was missing, to write the real exam. So I bought another book which was for practicing the questions for the exam. I remember I have to sit for two hours to complete the mock exam. And I can tell you the first mock exam that I tried I was unable to sit for even 20 minutes.

Somehow I completed this book also , prepared a bunch of notes. But still something was missing, And I was more restless in my quest of passing this exam. So I started doing practice exams from Devaka Cooray`s exam simulator. And If I remember, I failed to even read all the questions for the first mock exam. As the real exam is of two and half hour duration , I had to make a habit of sitting for long time without losing attention.

That's when I got to know I still require more study. And If I remember I failed one after another almost 5 mock exams and with very poor scores. I started preparing notes about the concepts I was getting wrong. Once I finished all practice exam from exam simulator I was in good a shape but still I had fear of failing the exam. So how to get rid of this fear. Even though I had fear of failing the exam but inside I was feeling that I will be able to pass the exam even If I don't score very high. So I booked my exam in Pink City Jaipur at one of the Pearson center on Saturday.

Travelled through Ajmer to Jaipur in early morning. After finishing all the formalities, the real exam started. I found real exam very easy, If I remember I finished around 40 questions in some 35 minutes. So now I was left with only 20 questions to answer with so much time left. I answered all the questions, for some of the questions I was not sure of my answer. Finished the exam, as exam results are not shown immediately I have to wait for sometime. I went to a local cyber cafe and checked my exam result and surprisingly I got 93%. So the day ended with all kinds of feeling and at the end I was able to do it. Still when I think of those days it feels awesome. Not just because I passed the exam but the way I did it.

Oracle Database SQL Certified Expert

Since I passed my Java Professional Programmer exam , I wanted to do more. I was quite much interested in learning SQL. So I decided to take up SQL Expert Exam (1Z0-047) which looks to be very exhaustive as it is very detailed exam covering every part of Oracle SQL . I bought the Steve `O Hearn`s SQL Expert Exam Guide which was really great and I still refer to that book whenever I require. This exam was very tough compared to the previous Java Programmer exam .

To pass this exam you really need to know how SQL works and how to write a query to retrieve what you are looking for. I soon realized that this thing is going to take time and it will be better to let it take time rather then pushing it . So I landed to my first job while preparing for the exam. It was a Trainer job where my work was to teach Programming Languages and make academic projects for students . I selected this Job because I thought this job will give me some free time that I really required. But I was wrong.

I finish my job come back and study which is quite a usual routine for most of the software guys. So I was fed up of studying and just wanted to finish it up quickly. So I booked my exam on April 5 at one of the Pearson center in Bangalore. As the exam started I felt exam to be difficult just after 10 minutes , I got the feeling that I am in trouble. So the only way I had is, to keep answering question one after another according to best of my knowledge, questions were very lengthy , almost every question taking more than one minute. When I finished the exam I knew that I might have failed this exam.

I went home and checked the result and I passed the exam with 67%. I prepared for this exam for about 1 year , while preparing for it I went off track many times. It was very important at that time, that I pass this exam as I have put many things on it. Many people asked me why you are doing this Trainer Job why I am not working in some big companies. The reason was this exam. I loved my first Job and I do think that I did a great job .

Oracle Certified Java EE Web Component Developer

So this time I started with Java EE Web Component Developer Exam , Since I was teaching Java . Many a times I felt the lack of knowledge of Java EE technology. So I thought of why not study about it and I made my mind that I am going to write this exam as soon as possible. This exam was easy as compared to previous two exams that I studied.

I studied for it almost for three months , as I already knew about JSP and Servlet so it was not completely new to me. Studying for this exam helped me a lot. And this time I didn`t purchased any book since I already had it. I used famous Head First book written by Kathy ,Bert and Bryan Basham. I also purchased enthuware`s test studio this time to do some mock exams.

Since this exam gives much importance to API its important that you remember the API very well. I passed this exam with 87% , passing this exam have helped me a lot to understand Java EE.

M101J MongoDB Java Developer

It all started in October when one day I was reading about MongoDB. I already had knowledge of relational databases. But MongoDB was something new for me. MongoDB is the most popular NOSQL Database among NOSQL Document Based Databases , so I thought let`s give it a try. Fortunately I got to know about this M101J course offered by MongoDB University , so I got enrolled in that.

M101J is a 7 week course where you will be given some assignment after each week class. For class you will have access to pre recorded videos , you can download those videos also. And you have to submit your assignments before 17:00 UTC of next week , late submissions are not counted. This course is very well organized , where you will have access to support forum , In case if you are stuck during assignments. I must say that I learnt a lot from this course on all the aspects of MongoDB.

Below are the topics that are covered in this course :

1. Introduction to MongoDB , Maven , Spark , Freemarker
2. CRUD operation in MongoDB
3. Schema Design
4. Performance
5. Aggregation Framework
6. Application Engineering
7. Case Studies

Final Exam (10 Questions)

I passed the exam with 100% grade, which was a bit surprising. As I was not expecting that much. But score does not matter, what matters is how much you learnt. To get the course completion certificate you must score at least 65%. I am thankful to Andrew Erlichson, Jeff Yemin and entire MongoDB team. I highly recommend this course to anyone who want to learn MongoDB.

Oracle Certified Java EE Web Services Developer

I was reading Java Web Services Up and Running book from Martin Kalin and I thought of giving this exam called 1z0-897 Java Web Services Developer. I must say it is a quite interesting book as it takes a coding approach not a theoretical one. I finished first 5 chapters very fast, but this exam is so exhaustive that reading the book was not enough

I finished the book which took me around 3 months, then I started reading Mikalai Zaikin's notes. I bought Mikalai's quiz and started doing the quiz. And believe me I was miserable. There was a big gap between my knowledge and what was required to pass this exam.

So I bought enthuware test written by Frits Walraven and started doing tests. And believe me It was very hard as I was doing full time job and whatever time I can squeeze from my work, I used to study for this exam.

I took first enthuware test and failed (scored 31%), took the second one and failed (scored 56%), took the third one and failed (scored 56%). After each test I wrote code to understand the concepts. I took the fourth test and passed (scored 71%), then the fifth one and passed (scored 73%). Then comes the big one, the last day test and I failed (scored 63%).

Anyway I scheduled my exam on sunday, even though I knew there is a good amount of possiblity that I fail the exam. But I have to take that risk and I took that. And guess what I passed the real exam with 69%. I must say this exam is quite hard as It includes a lot of web services specifications.

Neo4j GraphGist Winner - 2015

I was trying to write a routing application which tells you all the possible routes to reach from a Station 'X' to a Station 'Y'. When I was trying to model this problem into relational databases, I found it very complex and difficult to do that. I was suggested to use graph database to model this problem as it is the best fit to solve these kinds of problems.

I started discovering about Neo4j and was able to solve the problem with the help of Nicole White. I met with Luanne Misquita at a local Neo4j Meetup in Bangalore, she told me there is a GraphGist challenge coming up and I can present something graphy.

I modeled join problem with relational databases into Neo4j and how it provides a great solution to remove complex joins among tables in RDBMS.

I was just exploring Neo4j, I was actually playing with Neo4j. I submitted my GraphGist to just participate in the contest. I was not at all expecting to be a winner of this challenge. I was surprised when I get a message from Michael Hunger saying " you have been selected as a winner for the GraphGist winter challenge and won a 500USD and a ticket to Neo4j GraphConnect event to San Francisco ".

MongoDB NodeJS Developer (M101JS)

I was working with NodeJS for some time and really liked how easily and quickly you can get started with Node. I opted this course offered by MongoDB university, I must say it was a great course primarily taught by Andrew Erlichson and Shannon Bradshaw, both have a great way of teaching. I enjoyed every bit of this course and the great thing is whatever I learnt during the course I use it in my daily job role.

MongoDB Database Administrator (M102)

M102 course was a bit different as its more geared towards administrators than developers. Dwight delivered this course in a great way. Its very easy to make mistakes while working with Mongo, so its important that you know what you are doing.

Certified Jenkins Engineer

Jenkins is most popular Open Source Software used for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. I was maintaining a project which had Jenkins setup to backup MongoDB every midnight. I thought of giving the Jenkins Certification Exam offered by Cloudbees. Cloudbees also offers Enterprise Jenkins which have more features than the open source one. The great thing about Jenkins is, its not tied to only software development, you can do pretty much any kind of hack.

I read the Jenkins - The Definitive Guide from John Ferguson Smart. Prepared some notes. Took following courses

Read blogs on Jenkins best practices, Jenkins 2 Pipeline best practices, Jeane's study guide and Anki Flash cards. Played with Docker, Gradle, Maven, Ant and Ivy. Note that exam doesn't expects you to know about Docker, Gradle, Ant and Ivy. I setup Jenkins Master Slave architecture on DigitalOcean and did some practice. Scheduled my exam on 15 May 2017 at Prometric Center-ITPL, Bangalore. I have given all my previous tests from Pearson, this was my first Prometric exam. This exam center is the best Prometric center in Bangalore, hope they will maintain it like this. Sipped some ginger tea before entering the exam center to keep my anxiety away. I found that exam had many ambiguous questions and options.

I passed my exam with 83%. I created a Github repository while preparing for this exam, it have all the things in form of images, If you are preparing for exam you will find it handy.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

ThermoFisher uses AWS extensively and all the apps offered through ThermoFisher Cloud run on AWS. So having a good understanding of AWS services was definitely a must as I jonied ThermoFisher. Having a cert to prove your knowledge is not too bad. Prepared for Solutions Architect - Associate exam for about 4 months, used below resources for my preparation.

Scheduled my exam on 5th Feb 2018 at NSEIT Bangalore. I found the exam to be of medium complexity with some tricky questions. I was able to pass the exam with 85%. Passing any exam, definitely gives you a sigh of relief. After getting out of exam center had some good food around Frazer Town and Cox Town. Since the exam center was near Mosque Road, how can I miss the Onion Samosa from there. So it all ended up very good.

AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate

I was preparing for the SysOps exam from last few months, took below courses for preparation

Scheduled my exam on 9th Aug 2018 at same NSEIT Bangalore. SysOps exam is considered to be toughest among all AWS associate exams. And it is rightly so. Whizlabs mock exams were very helpful to fill in the gaps before going for the exam. I did sipped in some ginger tea at Taj Tea House (small tea shop but great tea) and it was very good. I was able to pass the exam with 88%, so it was a happy ending.

AWS Certified DevOps Engineer - Professional

Last year I decided, to do the AWS DevOps cert and I was able to complete it this year. I used following material for preparation

Scheduled my exam on 26th Nov 2018 at same NSEIT Bangalore. The exam was 2 hours and 50 minutes duration with 80 questions to answer. I answered all 80 questions with 30 minutes to spare, I marked 30 questions for review, and during review I changed some of my initial answers. As usual sipped in some ginger tea at Taj Tea House (Farookh bhai's ginger tea have some anxity killing ingredients). I was able to pass the exam with 83%.