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
Hide details for Practice Exams for the 255 ExamPractice Exams for the 255 Exam

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


Hide details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses

TLCC offers two courses to help you get certified as an Associate Developer on Rational Application Developer 6. Both courses cover the same topics (except the course for Domino developers covers Domino integration and requires a Domino Designer 6 client.) Each course will cover the exam objectives above and prepare you for the 255 exam.

For Domino Developers - Introduction to WebSphere for Domino Developers Using Rational Developer 6 (TLCC also offers Java courses for Domino Developers)
For all other developers - Introduction to WebSphere Using Rational Developer 6




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
Show details for Practice Exams for the 256 ExamPractice Exams for the 256 Exam
Show details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses



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
Hide details for Practice Exams for the 257 ExamPractice Exams for the 257 Exam

Use the following link to get more information on the practice exams available:


Hide details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses

TLCC does not currently offer a course to fully prepare for this exam. The courses below will help but does not cover Web Services or EJBs or completely cover the Java APIs listed in the objectives.

For Domino Developers - Servlet and JSP Programming using Rational Developer 6 for Domino Developers
For all other developers - Servlet and JSP Programming for WebSphere using Rational Developer 6




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.

Hide details for Click here to see the 285 exam objectivesClick here to see the 285 exam objectives

Section 1 - Workbench Basics (16%)

    • Create J2EE projects
    • Set workbench preferences
    • Work with perspectives
    • Import to and export from the workbench
    • Use the Help feature to aid in development activities
Section 2 - Java Development (27%)
    • Create Java project, packages, classes, methods
    • Use outline view
    • Use Java browsing view
    • Use refactoring features
    • Use content assist function
    • Add and organize import declarations
    • Use search function
    • Use task view
    • Use hierarchy view
    • Use property dialogues
Section 3 - Web Development (20%)
    • Create a web project
    • Create resources in appropriate J2EE locations
    • Understand classpath and module dependencies
    • Use Page Designer to add and modify HTML and JSP content, including the use of JavaScript
    • Use content assist
    • Work with Web Application Deployment Descriptor using web.xml editor
    • Use Web Page Wizards
Section 4 - Running Applications (12%)
    • Create server instance and server configuration
    • Configure data sources
    • Understand session manager
    • Run/operate server
    • Export J2EE applications
Section 5 - Debugging (18%)
    • Set breakpoints
    • Step-through code
    • View variables (e.g., display expressions and use inspectors)
    • Create and run code in Scrapbook Page
    • Perform JSP debugging
Section 6 - Data (8%)
    • 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 285 ExamPractice Exams for the 285 Exam
Show details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses



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.

Show details for Click here to see the 286 exam objectivesClick here to see the 286 exam objectives
Show details for Practice Exams for the 286 ExamPractice Exams for the 286 Exam
Show details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses

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%.

Show details for Click here to see the 154 exam objectivesClick here to see the 154 exam objectives
Show details for Practice Exams for the 154 ExamPractice Exams for the 154 Exam
Show details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses

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.

Show details for Click here to see the Sun exam objectivesClick here to see the Sun exam objectives
Show details for Practice Exams for the Sun examPractice Exams for the Sun exam
Show details for Click here to see the suggested TLCC coursesClick here to see the suggested TLCC courses





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
Show details for Practice Exams for the 486 examPractice Exams for the 486 exam

Test 484: Enterprise Connectivity with J2EE V1.3
The passing score on this exam is 63%.

Show details for Click here to see the 484 exam objectivesClick here to see the 484 exam objectives
Show details for Practice Exams for the 484 examPractice Exams for the 484 exam


Test 287: Enterprise Application Development with IBM WebSphere Studio, V5.0
The passing score on this exam is 62%.

Show details for Click here to see the 287 exam objectivesClick here to see the 287 exam objectives
Hide details for Practice Exams for the 287 examPractice Exams for the 287 exam

Use the following links to get more information on the practice exams available for this 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
Hide details for Practice Exams for the 399 examPractice Exams for the 399 exam

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%.

Show details for Click here to see the 348 exam objectivesClick here to see the 348 exam objectives
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.