Monday, November 17, 2008

Considering becomming a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist - first up 70-536

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Daddy's got a brand new car with the acronym VS2008 and it runs on C# 2008 and .NET 3.5. I haven't really done any development i .NET since the good ol' days of platform breaking .NET 1.0. Java's fine for me but I would like to widen my knowledge since I both found it easy to use and productive and at the same time adoption seems to rise (judging from the number of vacancies with .NET in the job description). Running for a certification might lead the way into the inner workings of .NET and give me something for my CV since I currently do to less coding (In my own eyes).

Nowadays the first step is MCTS: Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and any matter which of tracks I'll go for (probably WCF og ASP.NET) I'll need to pass Exam 70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation. There's a little confusion about this one since it used to be for .NET 2.0 but has be updated for 3.5 (both still in play for VS2005/VS2008) and reading about the 70-536 exam on the Microsoft Learning site doesn't make this much clearer but according to Gerry O'Brien's Get Ready for the ASP.NET 3.5 MCTS Exam and not the least his own comment:

The exams for 3.5 were recreated from scratch. We invite subject matter experts from the industry into a focus group and create the exam structure and coverage based on how the product or technology is used in the industry.

We do not base our exams solely on product features. The features come into play as a result of the tasks that are performed based on our SME input and as a result, the exam may or may not include content that is similar in nature to what was on an exam for 2.0.

To prepare for an exam, never assume anything about the content but rather use the prep guides found online to understand the areas that will be covered on the exam and prepare accordingly.

So it's new but might be close to being the same - fair enough the basics are still the same.

The exam costs 1600 kr. in Denmark which isn't exactly cheap but as I recall the SCJP costed somewhere similar.

What's the exam about

The material covered in the exam spans seven areas:

  • Developing applications that use system types and collections (15 percent)
  • Implementing service processes, threading, and application domains in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)
  • Embedding configuration, diagnostic, management, and installation features into a .NET Framework application (14 percent)
  • Implementing serialization and input/output functionality in a .NET Framework application (18 percent)
  • Improving the security of .NET Framework applications by using the .NET Framework security features (20 percent)
  • Implementing interoperability, reflection, and mailing functionality in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)
  • Implementing globalization, drawing, and text manipulation functionality in a .NET Framework application (11 percent)

and I'm afraid that I'm pretty blank on many of them.

Study material

Considering that presently I can just find one book to directly support this exam: MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft® .NET Framework Application Development Foundation, Second Edition (Paperback) (just out November 12, 2008) and that the former version MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation (Hardcover) according to Derik Whittaker - "Taking the MCTS Test 70-536 -- That Sucked...." and the commenter's on his blog isn't that great.

The book Pro C# 2008 and the .NET 3.5 Platform, Fourth Edition seems like the best book in general and is in fact a newer incarnation on the now seven years old C# and the .NET Platform (Paperback) that I keep in a box somewhere.

Many of the comments found strongly recommends taking/rehearsing text exams so I'll probably also have to get testking or measureup.