WebSphere Certification Paths

Date tip published:07/13/2005
Description:There are a number of certifications available for WebSphere. This article focuses on the certifications that would be of interest to a WebSphere developer and provide links and tips to pass the exams necessary to become a certified WebSphere developer. This tip has been updated to show the complete set of Rational Developer certifications.


To learn more about getting certified as a WebSphere developer use the following links:

Introduction to WebSphere Using Rational Developer 6
Introduction to WebSphere for Domino Developers using Rational Developer 6
Servlet and JSP Programming for WebSphere using Rational Developer 6
Servlet and JSP Programming using Rational Developer 6 for Domino Developers
Introduction to WebSphere Studio 5
Servlet and JSP Programming using WebSphere Studio 5
Introduction to WebSphere 5 for Domino Developers
Servlet and JSP Programming using WebSphere 5 for Domino Developers




WebSphere Certification Paths


Why get certified? Certification is a great way to show a level of competency. WebSphere is a new technology and J2EE developers are in demand. A WebSphere certification would be a great addition to a resume. Depending on the level of certification, getting certified requires passing one or a series of multiple-choice exams. You take these exams at a Pearson VUE or Prometric testing center. These testing centers are available world-wide in larger cities.

IBM's certification programs are based upon products and versions. For WebSphere there are a number of certifications available. The following WebSphere products have a certification program available:

    • IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.0
    • IBM WebSphere Application Server V5.0
    • IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS V5.0
    • IBM WebSphere Commerce Business Edition V5.5
    • WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries V5.0
    • IBM WebSphere Portal V5.0
    • IBM Rational Application Developer V6
    • WebSphere Studio Application Developer V5.1
    • IBM WebSphere Studio V5.0
The certifications available for the server products (like WebSphere Application Server) are designed for administrators. The certifications for the developers are actually based on the development tools, either WebSphere Studio 5.x or Rational Application Developer 6 (the replacement for WebSphere Studio 5.)

There are up to three levels of certification for a product. The entry level certification is the Associate level. The intermediate level of certification is the Solution Developer. The Advanced level is typically called the Advanced or Enterprise level. The exact name used will vary by product. Below are the three levels of certification showing the typical certification titles used for each level.


Currently IBM has the following certifications available for the WebSphere products listed above:
    IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.0
      • IBM Certified System Administrator - WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment V6.0

    IBM WebSphere Application Server V5.0
      • IBM Certified System Administrator - WebSphere Application Server V5.0
      • IBM Certified Advanced System Administrator - WebSphere Application Server V5.0

    IBM WebSphere Application Server for z/OS V5.0
      • IBM Certified Advanced System Administrator - WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, V5.0

    WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries V5.0
      • IBM Certified Solution Developer - WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries, V5.0

    IBM WebSphere Portal V5
      • IBM Certified System Administrator - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.1
      • IBM Certified Solution Developer - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.1
      • IBM Certified System Administrator - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.0
      • IBM Certified Solution Developer - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.0

    IBM Rational Developer V6
      • IBM Certified Associate Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6
      • IBM Certified Application Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0
      • IBM Certified Advanced Application Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0

    WebSphere Studio Application Developer V5.1
      • IBM Certified Solution Developer - Web Services Development with WebSphere Studio V5.1

    IBM WebSphere Studio V5.0
      • IBM Certified Associate Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0
      • IBM Certified Solution Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0
      • IBM Certified Enterprise Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0
Notice that the certifications for WebSphere Application Server are for administrators. Developers will be most interested in getting certified on either the IBM Rational Application Developer 6 or IBM WebSphere Studio platforms. Another possible certification of interest for a developer is the WebSphere Portal Certified Solution Developer. The balance of this article will focus on developer related certification.

The requirements for each level will vary based on the product and the actual certification. Some certifications require two exams. Unlike the Lotus certifications, the exam for the Associate level is not required and does not help a developer in getting certified at the Solution or Enterprise level.




Preparing for the Exams

The best way to prepare for the exams is to obtain WebSphere Studio or Rational Application Developer 6 and learn how to use it. The exams are heavily concentrated on the user interface of these tools and it would not be practical to try to study for these exams without using the tools themselves. TLCC has published a tip to help you learn how to obtain and install the free trial version of WebSphere Studio or Rational Application Developer 6:

TLCC has two courses on how to use WebSphere Studio to develop WebSphere applications, a introductory level course and an advanced course that concentrates on advanced topics in servlet and JSP programming. A free trial version of Introduction to WebSphere Studio 5 is available at the TLCC website. TLCC offers two versions of each course. One version is for all developers and runs as a plug-in to WebSphere Studio. A plug-in allows you to take the course right in WebSphere Studio. The other version is for Domino developers. This version runs in the Domino Designer 6 client and also includes information on how to integrate Domino with WebSphere. TLCC also offers courses on Rational Application Developer 6.
Click here for more information on TLCC's WebSphere courses and to try a free demo course.

There is also a Redbook on using WebSphere Studio. This Redbook is over 700 pages long and can also be purchased in hard cover form for $72.
Click here for more information on this Redbook

A Redpiece (draft Redbook) is also available for Rational Application Developer 6 in pdf format.
Click here for more information on this Redpiece

There are several different exam vendors who produce practice exams for the WebSphere certifications. Prometric (a testing company where you can take the real test when you are ready) offers a web-based practice exam for each test. These exams cost $10 each time you take the exam. CertFx also offers practice exams. These exams are installed on your computer and can be retaken at many times as you want. The CertFx exams also offer explanations of each question/answer and are a good way to get ready for the exam. These practice exams are just that -- a way to take a practice exam before you sign up for the real exam.

All of the WebSphere exams will require some knowledge of Java. The next section will provide information on each certification for Rational Application Developer 6, WebSphere Studio 5 and WebSphere Portal (Developer) and will suggest the appropriate learning and study aids such as TLCC courses and practice exams.





Taking the Exams

The exams are available through two testing vendors, Pearson VUE and Prometric (formerly known as Sylvan.) The cost ranges from $75 to $175. Most exams are $150. Below are the links for each test vendor:





IBM Certified Associate Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0

This certification requires only one exam and is a good way to get started on the WebSphere certification path. The required exam is:

Developing with IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6 , Exam 255
The exam focuses on Rational Application Developer 6 (the replacement for WebSphere Studio 5) and how to use its tools to develop web applications including Java applications, servlets, and JavaServer Pages. Some Java experience is useful but the test mostly covers the Java tools and not the language itself. The test requires a passing grade of 67%. The exam is a multiple choice format. Some questions have several correct answers and you have to select all the correct answers to get credit for that question. The cost for this exam is $150.

Show details for Click here to see the 255 exam objectivesClick here to see the 255 exam objectives
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IBM Certified Application Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0

This certification requires only one exam. The required exam is:

Test 256: Application Development with IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0
The exam focuses on Rational Developer 6 and also focuses heavily on web services and EJBs. The test requires a passing grade of 54% or 56%. The exam is a multiple choice format. The cost for this exam is $150.

Show details for Click here to see the 256 exam objectivesClick here to see the 256 exam objectives
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IBM Certified Advanced Application Developer - Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0

This certification requires only one exam. The required exam is:

Test 257: Enterprise Application Development with IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software V6.0
The exam covers what was in the 256 test (above) but also covers the Java APIs in J2SE 1.4 and J2EE 1.4. The following APIs may be covered: EJB, Servlet, JSP, JSF, Struts, JDBC, and Web Services. The test requires a passing grade of 65% or 67%. The exam is a multiple choice format. The cost for this exam is $150.

Show details for Click here to see the 257 exam objectivesClick here to see the 257 exam objectives
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IBM Certified Associate Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0

This certification requires only one exam and is a good way to get started on the WebSphere certification path. The required exam is:

Developing with WebSphere Studio, V5.0, Exam 285
The exam focuses on WebSphere Studio and how to use its tools to develop web applications including Java applications, servlets, and JavaServer Pages. Some Java experience is suggested but you do not have to be a Java coding guru. Most of the Java related questions deal with WebSphere Studio's Java tools like the debugger and not Java itself, so an intensive knowledge of Java programming is not required. The test requires a passing grade of 53%. There are many detailed questions on the WebSphere interface which add to the test's difficulty (and probably is why the passing grade is so low.) The exam is a multiple choice format. Some questions have several correct answers and you have to select all the correct answers to get credit for that question. The cost for this exam is $125.

Show details for Click here to see the 285 exam objectivesClick here to see the 285 exam objectives
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IBM Certified Solution Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0

The Solution Developer certification requires two exams. Note that you do not have to become certified as an Associate Developer first since the 285 exam is not part of this certification. The first exam is Test 286, Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0. The 286 exam primarily concentrates on the WebSphere Studio development tool. The second exam is not WebSphere Studio oriented and is designed to test a developer's web development skills. There are several options for this second exam. IBM offers the exam Test 154 - Web Developer to test for this skill. They also accept other organization's exams that test similar web development or Java skills. These are listed below.

Exam requirements for the Certified Solution Developer - WebSphere Studio:

    1. Test 286, Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0
    2. Test 154 - Web Developer (more on this exam later)

Or any one of the following exams may be substituted for the 154 exam:
As you can see there are several ways to achieve this certification. The good news is that in the course of becoming a Certified Solution Developer on WebSphere Studio you will also earn another certification. The CIW exam is the same exam as IBM's 154 exam. If you take either the 154 exam or the CIW exam (1D0-532) then you also will be certified as a CIW Web Developer. And passing the Sun exam will earn you a Sun Certified Programmer certification. Which exam to take? That depends on you ... if you are comfortable with Java and are new to J2EE development than the Sun exams might be a better choice. If you are very familiar with J2EE development and web services than the Web Developer exam might be better. Review the test objectives for the Web Developer exam and the Sun exam and decide which option is a better fit for your skills. Below is more information on each exam and how to prepare for that exam.

Test 286, Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0
This exam is very similar to the 285 exam. It concentrates mostly on WebSphere Studio's tools and interface. The required passing score is 65%. The exam is a multiple choice format. Some questions have several correct answers and you have to select all the correct answers to get credit for that question. EJB's are not covered on this exam.

Hide details for Click here to see the 286 exam objectivesClick here to see the 286 exam objectives

Section 1 - WorkBench Basics (11%)
    • Create J2EE projects
    • Manage multiple workspaces
    • Work with perspectives (e.g., add, remove, customize)
    • Import to and export from the Workbench
    • Use Compare With and Replace With using the Local History function
    • Use the team programming tools
Section 2 -Application Development Best Practices (11%)
    • Partition an application into appropriate layers
    • Apply server-side design patterns
    • Improve application performance
Section 3 - Java Development (22%)
    • Create Java projects, packages, classes, interfaces, methods
    • Use outline view with filters
    • Use Content Assist and Quick Fix
    • Add and organize import declarations
    • Use search function
    • Use task view
    • Use hierarchy view
    • Refactor Java code
    • Use property dialogues
    • Use JUnit
    • Set Java workbench preferences
Section 4 -Web Development (24%)
    • Create web projects and resources in appropriate J2EE locations
    • Configure classpath and module dependencies
    • Use Page Designer to add and modify HTML, Javascript and JSP content
    • Use content assist on web resources
    • Use tag libraries to deliver dynamic content to JSPs
    • Work with Web Application Deployment Descriptor (web.xml file)
    • Use Web Page Wizards and Struts tools
    • Export J2EE applications
Section 5 - Running Applications (7%)
    • Configure the WebSphere Test Environment and run applications
    • Configure applications on remote servers
Section 6 -Debugging Applications (13%)
    • Set breakpoints
    • Step through code
    • View and inspect variables and expressions
    • Understand conditions for restarting modules and servers
    • Create and run code in Scrapbook Page
    • Perform JSP debugging
    • Perform remote debugging
    • Work with logs and traces
Section 7 -Profiling Applications (6%)
    • Set up profiling
    • Use views to analyze results
    • Set up filters
Section 8 - Data (6%)
    • Create connection and load catalog into a project
    • Create schema and generate DDL
    • Use query builder to generate queries
Show details for Practice Exams for the 286 ExamPractice Exams for the 286 Exam
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Test 154 - Web Developer
This exam tests your knowledge on web development, JavaScript, servlets, JSPs and web services. Below are the objectives and some suggested study aids. A passing grade is 55%.

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Use the following links to get more information on the practice exams available for this exam:

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Test 310-035, Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform 1.4
This exam concentrates solely on Java programming. No web development techniques or J2EE topics like servlets or JSPs are covered. If you are a strong programmer and not as strong in web development than this might be a better way to go. The passing grade is 52% and the exam is multiple choice. The exam costs $150 and is available through Prometric like the IBM exams. There is also an exam from Sun for version 1.2 of Java which can be used to satisfy the exam requirement.

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TLCC offers two Java programming courses. These courses will help you get started learning Java. Note that there are advanced topics on the exam which are not covered in the TLCC courses. Both courses are designed for Domino Developers and require a Domino Designer 6 client (R5 versions also are available.)






IBM Certified Enterprise Developer - WebSphere Studio, V5.0

This is the highest level of certification for WebSphere Studio. This certification requires four exams. The primary area of focus is EJBs. One of the required exams is the 310-035 (or the Java 1.2 equivalent). The exam requirements are:

  1. Test 310-035: Sun Certified Programmer for the Java 2 Platform 1.4
  2. Test 486: Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with UML
  3. Test 484: Enterprise Connectivity with J2EE V1.3
  4. Test 287: Enterprise Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0

Test 486: Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with UML
The passing score on this exam is 67%.

Show details for Click here to see the 486 exam objectivesClick here to see the 486 exam objectives
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Test 484: Enterprise Connectivity with J2EE V1.3
The passing score on this exam is 63%.

Hide details for Click here to see the 484 exam objectivesClick here to see the 484 exam objectives
Section 1 - Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Architecture (18%)
    • Select and apply appropriate J2EE technologies to design the desired multi-tiered architecture
    • Evaluate tradeoffs in designing distributed systems
    • Select appropriate J2EE design patterns
    • Assign responsibility to appropriate layers to optimize maintainability, scalability and performance
Section 2 -Web Component Development (19.5%)
    • Construct Web pages to provide dynamic content using JavaServer Pages (JSPs)
    • Design and develop Java Servlets conforming to the Java Servlet Specification, including Servlet life cycle, classes, interfaces, events, listeners, and filters
    • Coordinate and manage session state, including cookies, HttpSession and URL rewrite
    • Implement robust controller logic which also supports effective error handling
    • Separate component responsibilities as structured using MVC (Model-View-Controller
Section 3 - Enterprise JavaBean (EJB) Development (27%)
    • Select and understand types of EJBs
    • Design EJB local and remote interfaces
    • Design logic compatible with EJB lifecycle and state behavior, including creation, activation, passivation and removal
    • Develop Entity EJBs with Container-Managed Persistence (CMP), using the EJB query language and Container-Managed Relationships (CMR), or Bean Managed Persistence (BMP)
    • Develop message-driven beans (MDB)
    • Utilize exceptions in the context of distributed objects and container-managed transactions
Section 4 - Client Development (9%)
    • Identify and resolve issues of enterprise client programming, including application, servlet and EJB clients
    • Use Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) to obtain both local and global references to services
Section 5 - Connectivity Services (19.5%)
    • Select and use connectivity technologies, including Java Messaging Service (JMS), JDBC, J2EE Connector Architecture, and enterprise connectivity services
    • Identify and resolve Remote Method Invocation (RMI) issues for J2EE application design, including serialization, RMI-IIOP and remote exception
    • Use JDBC 2.0 to access relational databases, including driver and statement selection
    • Apply JDBC 2.0 standard extension features including DataSources, connection pooling and transaction management
    • Use Java Messaging Service (JMS) for application integration
    • Use Java API for XML Parsing (JAXP) for XML processing
    • Use Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) to secure your application
Section 6 - Assembly and Deployment (7%)
    • Package enterprise applications for portable deployment
    • Use J2EE deployment descriptors to configure enterprise applications for deployment
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Test 287: Enterprise Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0
The passing score on this exam is 62%.

Hide details for Click here to see the 287 exam objectivesClick here to see the 287 exam objectives

Section 1 - Design, build and test reusable enterprise components (25%)
    • Design and develop session EJBs
    • Design and develop message-driven EJBs
    • Design and develop entity EJBs
    • Access container and server services from enterprise components
    • Implement mechanisms for efficient inter-component calls
    • Test and debug enterprise components
Section 2 - Design, build and test web components (19%)
    • Design, develop and test Java Servlets, filters and listeners
    • Design, develop and test JSPs
    • Manage end-user state and understand performance tradeoffs of using HTTP sessions
    • Design and develop custom tags
Section 3 - Develop clients that access the enterprise components (8%)
    • Implement Java clients calling EJBs
    • Implement Java clients calling web services
    • Implement mechanisms which support loose coupling between clients and components
Section 4 - Demonstrate understanding of database connectivity and messaging within IBM WebSphere Application Server (8%)
    • Create, configure, and tune connection pools
    • Interact with connection pools to obtain and release connections
    • Configure JMS connection factories and destinations
Section 5 - EJB transactions (10%)
    • Build EJBs which satisfy transactional requirements
    • Use JTA to control transaction demarcation
    • Manipulate transactional behavior of EJBs using deployment descriptors
Section 6 - Assemble enterprise applications and deploy them in IBM WebSphere Application Server (15%)
    • Assemble web components, EJB components, and client application components into enterprise applications
    • Deploy enterprise applications into servers
    • Configure resource and security-role references
    • Create and configure WebSphere test environment servers
Section 7 - Validate, tune and troubleshoot an application within an IBM WebSphere Application Server environment (15%)
    • Use tracing and profiling tools to analyze and tune applications
    • Explain implications of resource management on application design and implementation
    • Identify misbehaving application components
    • Describe the effects of a server failure on the application
    • Validate operational parameters of application server to support the enterprise application
Show details for Practice Exams for the 287 examPractice Exams for the 287 exam



IBM Certified Solution Developer - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.1


This certification requires only one exam and none of the other certifications are required for this certification.

Test 399: IBM WebSphere Portal V5.1, Application Development
The passing score on this exam is 56%.

Show details for Click here to see the 399 exam objectivesClick here to see the 399 exam objectives
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Use the following links to get more information on the practice exams available for this exam:





IBM Certified Solution Developer - IBM WebSphere Portal V5.0


This certification requires only one exam and none of the other certifications are required for this certification.

Test 348: IBM WebSphere Portal V5.0, Application Development
The passing score on this exam is 54%.

Hide details for Click here to see the 348 exam objectivesClick here to see the 348 exam objectives

Section 1 - Install, set up and configure the development environment (6%)

    • Understand software prerequisites [incl. compatibility questions]
    • Choose development scenarios [Topologies]
    • Diagnose problems with development environment installation
Section 2 - Architect, implement and design a portal solution (12%)
    • Identify portal dependencies on existing software
    • Use out-of-the-box portlets
    • Search the portlet catalog
    • Size the custom portlets that have to be written
    • Develop themes, skins and screens using engine tag library
Section 3 - Write a portlet (43%)
    • Describe the portlet life cycle
    • Develop Portlet applications utilizing Portlet API core objects
    • Effectively utilize portlet configuration and state objects to control portlet behavior
    • Effectively utilize portlet modes and states
    • Implement event handling
    • Create portlet actions
    • Use APIs to forward and redirect URLs
    • Support multiple markup
    • Embed references to resources within a portlet
    • Effectively use JSPs to supply portlet rendering markup
    • Support multiple locales, clients and devices within a portlet application
    • Compile and package a WAR file
    • Work with portlet deployment descriptors (caching)
    • Make effective use of portlet application wizards
Section 4 - Testing and Debugging a Portal Solution (12%)
    • Set up portlet parameters
    • Debug a portlet using the Portal Toolkit
    • Debug a portlet remotely using WebSphere Portal
    • Troubleshoot portlet applications
Section 5 - Backend Portlet Services (10%)
    • Use a portlet service
    • Create a portlet service
    • Configure and access application-specific data sources
    • Access remote systems
Section 6 - Additional Portlet Concepts (16 %)
    • Utilize the credentials vault
    • Implement Cooperative Portlets
    • Implement portlet messaging
    • Use struts concepts within the portal framework
    • Implement Portlet menus
Show details for Practice Exams for the 348 examPractice Exams for the 348 exam





Links for More Information

IBM WebSphere Certification Page - This page has links for each WebSphere certification. Each certification than has a page with the required exams, the exam objectives, practice tests, and educational resources.

IBM Rational Certification Page - This page has links for the Rational certifications.

WebSphere Power article on WebSphere exam - This article is about one developer's quest for certification.