My Certification Journey

My Certification Journey

Larry Kaye - MSL

Greetings, Fellow Developers:

Taking a break from reporting on developer and SQL certification news to share with you my personal certification journey.

I spent the first 10 years of my career as an enterprise developer and enjoyed every minute of it, especially the iterations to tweak the user interface, refactor for reusability, or squeeze out a bit more performance.  Since I transitioned to training about 14 years ago, I've spent some time developing lab exercises and helping my students debug their code, but it's not quite the same.  

When Windows 8 came out in October 2012, I saw a platform just within my reach, where I could work out those programming muscles again…and, this time, even get my creations in front of users outside of the back office.  Over the next few months, the temptation grew too great for inaction, so, in September, I made a commitment to start down the road to earning my MCSD: Windows Store Apps credential.

First, I took stock of my skills.  Despite my hiatus from full-time development, I consider myself to be a capable Java developer and thought much could be applied in transitioning to C#.  I also have some experience in the mobile space, so many of the concepts for App Store development (e.g., PLM) resonated with me.

Next, I dove into the Programming in C# Jump Start.  Watching the eight videos over the course of two weeks, I got a good feel for the key language constructs and how to build and test applications.

Then, even though I wasn't 100% prepared, I took the opportunity to sit for Exam 70-483 while attending the PASS Summit in Charlotte last October.  I did fail, but it really turned out to be a great learning experience because I knew what I needed to focus on for my next attempt.

Not wanting to lose momentum, as soon as I left the testing area, I went online and ordered the eBook version of the Microsoft Press Exam Ref 70-483 guide.  With chapters and sections having one-to-one correspondence with exam objectives, it gave me the additional structure I needed for my study plan. 

While I had hoped to get through the book quickly, the reality of end-of-calendar year professional and domestic obligations set in, and it did take me three months to thoroughly review the material.  I read the book cover-to-cover twice, making sure to answer and review the end of chapter questions.  (One suggestion - Chapter 1 starts tough with multithreading and asynchronous processing, but don't get discouraged.  Any concepts that remain unclear to you in the initial read will be sorted out when you do a second pass through the book).

January came around, along with another conference…and another opportunity to take the exam.  This time, I knew I was ready.  I sat down at the terminal, took a few breaths, and, shortly thereafter, emerged from the test center with my passing score.

I am proud to add the Microsoft Programming in C# Specialist credential to my title, and am excited to continue down the path to earning my MCSD: Windows Store Apps certification.  I'll keep you posted as to my progress, and I hope that you'll consider joining me.

Comments
  • cristian_pereira.hotmail.com
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    Congrats. That's the way we start something in your life. Step-by-step always.

  • cristian_pereira.hotmail.com
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    Congrats. That's the way we start something in your life. Step-by-step always.

  • Jason
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    Congrats Larry.  You've moved me to restart my own certification journey.  That first step can be the hardest.

  • Larry Kaye - MSL
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    @Cristian and Jason

    Thanks for the well wishes.

    Jason - psyched to hear that you're moving ahead with your certification?  Which path are you taking?

    Cristian - care to share about your certification journey?

  • MsDee2604
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    Woo Hoo... Your journey reminds me of a similar parallel of my own experiences.  Woo Hoo!  That is what I am talking about!  Congratulations.  I kicked a screamed from 1985 to around 2007 about learning to program but I personally realize the biggest threat to our user community lies within the application layer of the osi model.  So, I have let go my objections and I try to spend time with a host of technologies involving software development, like Expression Studio, Windows Visual Studio, etc.  Good Job and I am right behind you.

  • cristian_pereira.hotmail.com
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    @Larry, sure. Why not? It was a long way until get my MSCD windows store with HTML5 title. I took the exam 70480 while it was in beta version (Dec/2012). In March/2013 I took 2 beta exams and I failed them. There was a message in prometric website that we had a second shot event failed in beta exams. I fought for the second shots and I got them on August/2013. With those vouchers on my hands, I decided to keep moving in the same way and try to have the title. I studied so much for exam 70481 and I got it on Sep/2013. I was studying for exam 70482 when it was updated for win8.1 and VS2013. Then I started to study and read about the changes in this exam. I got the last one in Dec/2013. And now I'm a MCT. I watched all videos related the exams in microsoft virtual academy. They are really great and helped me a lot. I wish all the best for you guys are trying to get their dreamed titles.

  • Larry Kaye - MSL
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    @MsDee:

    Thanks for your support.  Totally agree with you on your area of focus.  While I have had many middleware assignments (it's amazing how many date/time conversions are needed to display satellite telemetry), my most rewarding tasks have involved design and implementation of intuitive user interfaces for interaction with complex data.

    Curious to hear more about your personal certification journey.

  • Larry Kaye - MSL
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    @Cristian:

    I congratulate you on your persistence in earning the MCSD credential, offer thanks for participating in the beta process, and welcome you to the MCT community.

    Did you find the side-by-side comparisons of Win8/VS2012 and Win8.1/VS2013 exams that I posted on the Exam pages useful?

    What other study resources did you use to prep for the exams?

    How would you describe the value of instructor-led training for the developer community?

  • Leann Turpin (Microsoft)
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    Larry, this is awesome! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • ProgrammingIsFun
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    I tried watching the Programming in C# Jump Start videos, but couldn't get past the first two videos. It seemed like a clear example of the inmates running the asylum! The guy on the right clearly had need of a psychiatric evaluation, and the guy on the left just smiled at everything. It's a no wonder after watching those videos you failed your first exam. Personally it put me off looking any further into windows 8 ..for a while . Even though I had purchased the exam book 70-483.

    But best of luck to you. I am on my 2nd year of study with C# , and though I do enjoy working on exercises and projects, I feel Microsoft made a huge quagmire out of the programming industry.  I still have not been able to find this infamous .net class library ? Just getting keyhole views of some of the classes here and there. I truly believe many of the potential developers have been let down by the available "incoherent studies". It's a terrible shame. A hundred years from now Microsoft will not exist. My prediction - the current convoluted programming mess will be replaced with a logical style.

  • Xango
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    Congrats! I'm going to purchase the exam-ref book as well. Were there any other study materials you used?

  • cristian_pereira.hotmail.com
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    @Larry:

    The side-by-side comparisons of Win8/VS2012 and Win8.1/VS2013 exams posted on the Exam pages were really useful because they guided me where I should go.

    I watched the videos from MVA website (Jeremy Foster and Palermo)

    It is being a great time in my life. I have never imagined to become a instructor. But now it is real and I can see there are many people interested in being a developer.

  • Mason Woodhams
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    An inspiring post, many thanks

  • faiben_2006.hotmail.com
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    Congrats. Just Keep It Up!

  • Larry Kaye - MSL
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    Wow...so many comments...keep up the chatter :-)

    @Mason, Faiben, Leann, Xango - Thanks for the well wishes.  Love to hear more about your own certification journeys, when you get a chance.

    @Xango - For my own journey, I relied solely on the Jump Start videos, first attempt at exam, and exam prep guide.  If you're looking for additional materials, take a look at the Skills Measured section on the Exam page for links to MSDN articles

    @Cristian - Glad to hear that the side-by-side comparisons of Win8/VS2012 and Win8.1/VS2013 exam objectives were useful to you.

    @ProgrammingIsFun - Thanks for the candid feedback.  Sorry that you didn't find the Jump Starts appealing.  With the Jump Starts, we had an opportunity to do something different than traditional instructor-led training, and, personally, the humor kept me engaged to the final module.  And, as I watched Jerry and Daren share stories about their coding challenges, it helped me tie book concepts to the real world.

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