How to Crack Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification - Latest Spring Certification for Java Programmers

Ever since Pivotal, the company behind the Spring framework made the mandatory Spring training optional (see here), I have received many queries from experienced Java developers who are interested in doing Spring certifications. This move from Pivotal has suddenly made the Spring certification affordable for many experienced Java and Spring developers who were interested in Spring certification earlier but couldn't progress further due to expensive mandatory training. Since many of them are now preparing for Spring certifications like Spring Core 5 or Spring Professional 5 via self-study they are increasingly looking for good resources to prepare for the exam. I have received a lot of questions on preparation, books, mock exams, exam structure, passing marks, and useful resources.

In this article, I have tried to outline some of my tried and tested strategies for clearing the Spring Professional 5 certification in this post. To be honest, preparing for Spring certifications e.g. Spring Core are not very different from taking Java certifications like OCAJP and OCPJP.

Similar to Oracle certifications, Spring certifications are also multiple-choice questions where you need to answer 76% of questions correctly to pass the exam, I mean, 38 questions out of 50.

Yes, passing percentage is higher than Oracle Java certification but format is similar, hence you can use the same strategy to prepare for Spring certifications e.g. reading a good book, practicing a lot of mock exams, attending a training, preparing your own notes and participating in web and forums to keep your knowledge up-to-date and revise them often.

The latest Spring framework certification in Spring Core Professional v5.0. It is based upon the latest Spring framework version 5. If you are thinking about Spring certification, I suggest you go for this one because it will provide you a competitive edge over other developers and also help you to learn and master Spring 5 concepts like Reactive Programming.

6 Tips to Prepare for Spring  5 Certification

Though, all the tips I have shared to crack Java certifications are equally useful to pass Spring certification as well, Here are my 6 essential tips to prepare for Spring certifications e.g. Spring Professional Certification Exam v 5.0 or the earlier version like v4.2 or v4.3.

The only thing which is different from all three exams is the syllabus.

If you have decent work experience in Spring framework like 2 to 3 years working on Spring MVC or developing RESTful Web Application using Spring and Spring Security then preparing for the exam will not take much time.

You just need to go through all exam topics once and a good study guide will help you there.  Since you are already familiar with essential annotations, concepts, and workflow, most of the time you will just fill the gaps in your knowledge rather than learning something new.

1. Understand Exam Topics

The first and most important step to prepare for Spring certifications is to understand the exam topics or syllabus for your exam. Thankfully, Pivotal provides free developer guides which not only list the exam topics but also lists some important questions which you can use to check your knowledge of exam topics.

There are separate exam guides for separate exams e.g. you cannot use Spring Study Guide for v4.0/4.1 if you are preparing for the Spring Professional V 5.0 Exam or Spring Professional V4.3 Exam.

If you are preparing for the Spring Core v5.0 Exam, here is the exam topics and distribution of questions for your reference:

How to Crack Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification

If you compare this with the topics for Spring Core exam version 4.2 or 4.3:

  • Spring Container
  • Testing with Spring
  • AOP
  • Data Access using Spring
  • Transactions
  • Spring MVC
  • Spring Security
  • Microservices
  • REST
  • Spring Cloud

The Spring Boot is definitely a must prepare topic to do well in the exam, along with Spring Security. The Spring Cloud and Microservices are not included in the exam.

Remember, you will get 90 minutes to answer 50 multiple-choice questions. You must answer 38 questions correctly (78%) in order to pass the Spring certification exam. You can also download the study guide for Spring Professional v 5.0 from the Pivotal website.

2. Join a Good Course

If you can afford then there is no better way to prepare for Spring certification then attend classroom training. Even though Pivotal make the mandatory training optional now, it is still recommended and best resource to prepare for Spring certifications like Spring Professional Certification and others.

When it comes to preparing for Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification, there are not many online courses and classroom training available as people are still working on older Spring versions. Since you need to know Spring 5 concepts for this certification, it's better to start with a Spring course which focuses on Spring 5 like Spring Framework 5: Beginner to Guru . This is not just great to learn Spring in general but also get the rock-solid foundation for your certification.

How to Pass Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification

Pivotal also provides dedicated 4-day training classes for each certification e.g. Spring Core, Spring Web and Spring Enterprise. It provides both classroom and online training all over the world with its training partners e.g. SpringPeople provides training in India.

The cost of Spring certification training is around 50,000 INR in India and around 3200 USD or equivalent in the rest of the world like the USA and Europe.

If you are working in the IT sector and your company is provided subsidy or reimbursing the cost of Spring certification both training and voucher then you should attend a Spring framework training.

The training will not only help you to prepare for Spring certification but also improve your knowledge and understanding of Spring features and its more advanced modules e.g. Spring Security and Spring REST.

While both of these courses are great, if you already know Spring and running out of time, you may find it a little overwhelming. Similarly, if you are just interested in new features of Spring 5 then What's New in Spring 5  course on Pluralsight is also an option.

How to Prepare Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification

3. Choose a Good Book or Study Guide

The second important step to prepare for Spring certification is to buy a good book or Certification Study Guide. Unfortunately, there are not many Spring 5 books and study guides available for Spring certifications.

If you are preparing for the Spring Professional certification exam, then you should read Spring in Action book. The 5th edition of this book is still work in progress and maybe released in a month or so and will cover Spring 5 which is a requirement for Spring professional 5.0 exam.

While it's not available at this moment, you can still start with the 4th edition of this book covers Spring 4.0, which is a requirement for Spring Professional Exam v4.2 and v4.3 certifications and then supplement your study with the What's New in Spring 5  course on Pluralsight to learn new concepts introduced in the book.

Best books for Spring Core Professional v5.0 Certification

Here are some more good books and study guides for preparing Spring certifications:

  • Spring boot in Action
  • 5 Spring Books Every Experienced Developer Read
  • 5 Books to Learn Spring Boot and Cloud
  • 10 Books Java Developers should read in 2020

The last book is particularly very important for the Spring Integration Specialist exam because the Spring Cloud training is based upon this book and if you cannot attend training then this book gives you most of the detail you need to clear the exam.

3. Choose a Spring 5  Simulator

Practicing in a real exam like scenario is very important to improve the speed and accuracy requirements to pass Spring certification exams. Since you need to solve 50 questions in 90 minutes and you have to score almost 80% correct answer, both speed and accuracy are very important.

A good exam simulator not only helps you to improve speed and accuracy but also fill the gaps in your knowledge and help you to find your strong and weak areas.

By practicing and carefully analyzing results you improve your weak areas before appearing for exams. Since the exam voucher costs you 200$ I suggest you spend at least 50$ more on a good book and exam simulator to avoid retaking the exam.

Unfortunately, there are not many Spring 5 exam simulators available at this moment but David Mayer's Spring Core Professional v5.0 Simulator is both good and not very costly, you can buy it to give you're preparation a boost.

5. Make your own Notes

I am a big fan of making your own notes even though you are attending the training. It helps in many ways because it actively involves your mind and encourages you to read and explore more about the topic. This active participation improves your knowledge and understanding of exam topics.

It also helps you to organize your knowledge so that you can revise it later close to exam dates. No matter how you are preparing like training, self-study, relying on the job experience, I encourage you to make your own notes as per the syllabus.

6. Participate in forums

There is no better way than participating in forums like StackOverflow and Spring forums to retain the knowledge you have learned. "Use it or Lose it" is the universal truth and applies very well here also. If you are just reading and not using or applying that knowledge in your work then you will quickly forget about it.

Since work also provides limited exposure to exam topics, its best to answer questions on the internet like on blogs, forums, and StackOverflow. It also helps you to interact with fellow Java developers preparing for Spring Certifications.

Other Useful Spring certification resources:

Spring Professional Certification Exam Tutorial - Module 01 to 08

5 Free Spring Certification Practice Tests

Java & Moie's Core Spring 4.2 Certification Exam PDF

Spring Professional Exam v5.0 Study Guide

Spring Professional Exam v5.0 General Information (PDF)

That's all about how to prepare for Spring Certifications. Since Spring and Hibernate are very popular Java frameworks and there are a lot of jobs available for Java developers with good Spring and Hibernate knowledge, this is also a good opportunity for many Java developers to become a Spring Certified Professionals.

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