Friday, April 27, 2012

MCPD upgrade, 70-523 exam

So today I finally did the 70-523 exam in order to upgrade the certification with the longest title ever created:

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer .Net Framework 3.5 Web Developer
Microsoft Certified Professional Developer .Net Framework 4 Web Developer

Two characters shorter now, though.

Almost 1 year and a half now since I did the 70-567, to upgrade from .Net 2.0 to 3.5 which means I was already late, considering .Net 4.0 was already launched. The .Net Framework 4.5 is on Developer preview so I guess I could finally catch up.

Like the 70-567 exam, this was composed by more than 1 exam. "An exam within an exam" once said Leonardo. In the case of 70-523, there was 4 exams:

TS Accessing Data with Microsoft .Net Framework 4
TS Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .Net Framework 4
TS Web Applications Development with Microsoft .Net Framework 4
Pro: Designing and developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .Net Framework 4

Which means you get 3 MCTS and 1 MCPD certificates.

The countdown was per exam, 40 minutes, which was more then enough considering the questions are straightforward, with few text to read.
The way Microsoft does these tests is interesting. I've been doing these exams since 2006 it has always been the same. When I say "the way", I mean normally select 1 out of 4 options, or select 2 out of 6 where:

Each option is a complete solution
Both answers together make the solution

The idea that "it's never something too hard to do" is always valid and really helps a lot when you are not sure about the answer. Indeed they always include some questions regarding something you'll never see in your life, but we shouldn't have a hard time if we use the principle: "It's never too complicated".

So they asked something like:

You work for Lorem Ipsum Inc and you have a WCF service you must log all message exchanges. What do you do?

A - Create this config <binding>tralálá..</binding>
B - Create a new project, reference you old service assembly's to the new project, delete the Chrome shortcut from your desktop and make sure you use Internet Explorer and Bing.
C - Copy paste the service implementation and deploy both services on the same server.
D - Buy a new server, setup load balance and deploy your service.

Ok. I made it sound extremely ridiculous, but I want to prove a point here: Which one would you select?
Even if you have no idea what the above text is talking about, if you follow the principle I mentioned, you would select the first option.

How to be prepared? I'm hopping you have a full time job working with Microsoft Technology, this really helps! Plus, most places you work, you don't have the chance to use every single new thing Microsoft launches as part of a new release of .Net Framework, so having a private project or at least play with it at home once in a while does help. On top of that, the standard way of study, (I suppose it's still standard), books.

I read these 3:

MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-515): Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Mcts 70-515 Exam Exam Prep)

MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-516): Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

MCPD 70-519 Exam Ref: Designing and Developing Web Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 4

If you did 70-536 exam, a number I won't forget because took me a long time to be prepared to and the number of questions regarding pieces of the Framework I have never used were amazing, you might have read this book. It was written by the same guy who wrote the last book I listed above, Tony Northrup.

One thing worth mentioning: I was surprised by the number of errors on the 70-519 book by Tony Northrup, but since it was its first release (5 months ago), it's understandable. I enjoy reading his books but I was hoping better from Microsoft Press review people.