After upgrading my recently (see this post), I have summarized some key pieces of information and the resources I used to pass the exam below. I hope this helps others pass as well.

The Basics
The place to start is the main SCEA exam page on the site (http://www.sun.com/training/certification/java/scea.xml). You will find a description of the exam objectives as well as plenty of plugs for Sun’s own courses to help you pass the exam (I have never taken any directly from Sun, so I cannot speak to their value).

Certification Structure
Remember, the certification is made up of 3 parts.

The first part is an exam and is the hardest part, this is the part you are really doing all of the study for. The exam is a computer administered multiple-choice style exam (the same as the SCJP exam if you have done that one).

The second part is a take home assignment. This part will take the longest and involves presenting a solution (via UML and other documentation) to a problem. There is no coding involved.

The third part is another computer based exam, but is made up of long answer questions this time. You should plan to do the 3rd part ASAP after you have submitted and passed the 2nd part. The questions in this part will ask about certain design considerations and other decision points from the assignment and why you chose the solution option that you did.

Obviously it will depend on your level of proficiency as an architect and specifically with the technologies, but I think you should plan on 3-6 months in prep for the first part, 1-3 months to complete the assignment and then you should be able to do the 3rd part within a month of submitting your assignment depending on how long it takes Sun to review your assignment and you to get scheduled in to take the exam.

Websites
Below is a list of some websites that contain relevant information.


I have read all of the following books at one point or another. They are all mentioned as recommended reading at various places in the official Sun documentation for the exam.

Some Notes on Upgrading
If you have previously passed the SCEA for an earlier version of the JavaE/J2EE specification, then you can complete a modified version of the SCEA certification to to the latest version (currently JavaEE 5). The certification process only requires you to sit and pass the first part of the normal certification – the multiple choice exam. You do not need to re-do the assignment or the long-answer exam.

When I sat the upgrade exam, I noticed that a significant proportion of the questions were related to web services. I suspect that this is because the first time I sat the exam, web services were not officially part of the JavaEE stack and so perhaps the upgrade exam is tailored to cover only the newer parts of the specifications – but I cannot guarantee that this is the case.

Do you have other resources that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments.