Which Java Certification exam should I take - 1Z0-808 or 1Z0-815?

1Z0-815/816/817 options - Decide which OCA OCP Java SE 11 certification exam to take to become Oracle Certified OCJP

In March 2019, Oracle released the Java programmer certification exams for Java 11 without any beta or notice. This has caused a lot of anxiety in candidates who have been preparing for the old OCA OCP Java 8 certification exams. So, the first thing to understand here is that the old Java 8 certifications have not been stopped.
In the past, Oracle has continued offering old certification exams for a few years along with the new ones. So, don't worry, it will be at least an year before OCA OCP Java 8 certification exams will be discontinued. Your efforts towards OCA/OCP 8 haven't gone to waste. You can still take the OCA and OCP 8 exams.
Further, your Java 8 certificate will not expire. You will always remain certified for the Java 8 plaform even if new versions of the exams are released.

Having said that, technologies change fast and so, normally, we recommend people to go for the latest version of the certification exams. However, Oracle has made three big changes in the Java 11 programmer certification track -
  1. Change in Java Certification Path

    The old Java 8 programmer certification path included two certifications - The first level Java certification called the OCA level (1Z0-808) and the second level called as the OCP level (1Z0-809). You have to first clear the Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) Java 8 exam and get the OCA Java Programmer certification and then take the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) Java 8 exam and get the OCP Java 8 Programmer certification.

    With Java 11, Oracle has scrapped the OCA level certification altogether. There is only the Oracle Certified Professional Java SE 11 Developer certification. And to get this certification you have to take two exams the OCP Java 11 Programmer Part 1 Exam 1Z0-815 and OCP Java 11 Programmer Part 2 exam 1Z0-816. So, you will get only one certificate after passing two exams.
  2. Change in Exam Scope

    The topics covered by the new Java 11 certification exam are a little different from the old OCA Java 8 1Z0-808 exam. So, if you are a java beginner, it will not be easy for you to prepare for the new exam using old certification books. The new exam is about the same in toughness level as the old exam but due to changes in Java language, many areas are affected. Thus, if you need a book to study for the exam, then it is better to wait for the books to be available.
  3. OCP Java 11 1Z0-816 exam eligibility

    One good thing that Oracle has done is that they have made OCA Java 5/6, 7, or 8 certified candidates eligible to take the OCP Java 11 part 2 exam. In other words, if you have already passed the OCA 6, 7, or 8 exam (1Z0-850, 1Z0-803, or 1Z0-808) then you can directly appear for the OCP Java 11 part 2 (1Z0-816) exam. So, if you want the latest Java 11 certification, you can still do that in just two exams. It will be relatively easier to pass the 1Z0-808 exam using existing resources. By the time you pass the 1Z0-808 exam, resources for the 1Z0-816 exam will be available in the market. This approach gives you two certificates in two exams - The OCA Java 8 programmer certificate and the OCP Java 11 Developer certification.

Considering the above three points, it is better to go for the old 1Z0-808 exam now and then go for the 1Z0-816 exam later. But if you are an experienced Java developer, you may go for the new OCP Java 11 Part 1 1Z0-815 exam. The benefit here is that you won't have to spend time on topics such as the Date/Time API. The style of questions has also been changed a little. The new exam doesn't ask too many questions on syntax and stuff that an IDE can highlight. After reading about the new topics online, you can use Enthuware 1Z0-815 Mock Exams to see if you are ready. If you pass these mock exams, you can certainly pass the real Java Certification part 1 exam.

What if you are already an OCP for Java 6, 7, or 8 (i.e. you have passed 1Z0-851, 1Z0-804, or 1Z0-809 exam)?

If you are already an Oracle Certified Professional for Java 6, 7, or 8, you can directly take the OCP Java 11 Upgrade 1Z0-817 exam. Although, you are also eligible to take the 1Z0-816 exam, we recommend to take 1Z0-817 exam because it is a lot easier than 1Z0-816.