Monday, December 6, 2010

Exam 70-502 Passed

The exam was great. Really I am not saying that because of my score. I am saying that because it was much more fun (for me at least) than 70-536. WPF (and now Silverlight) is a technology I am deeply passionate about. Maybe its because of my love for beauty and elegance. Maybe its because I hate to say to someone that adding a really classy button just the way you want it to your application will take me three days.

PS: I sincerely believe that 70-536 made me a better programmer. You will not catch me asking around about StreamReader or how to determine drives in c#.  Although a quick google search would help you ... but I will not need one ... I hope :) Oh not to mention : http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/system.io.path.getfilenamewithoutextension.aspx or http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/wz42302f.aspx (these weren't asked of me ... but I remembered them).

Now how did I prepare for this exam. 
Well I have had an eye on WPF for three years. Recommended it to a colleague two years ago (I myself was experimenting with python + flex)  and did a project in WPF about a year and a half ago. Simultaneously I had read the book WPF unleashed (http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Presentation-Foundation-Unleashed-WPF/dp/0672328917).This book is basically what got me really motivated to start doing Microsoft certifications in the first place (I devoted myself to a technology I loved). The official book would not be sufficient without this. Everyone will tell you that. Without this I wouldn't know what {Binding} meant (bind directly to datacontext) or that a style without an explicit key but a targettype gets an implicitly set key.

It wasn't until mid of this year that I finally got the time to start doing it. First I applied for exam 70-536. Just then the new certifications came out (VS2010). But I really wanted the title WPF technology specialist, so I decided to go with the old certifications anyways. Additionally I don't feel comfortable about doing a certification without an official "book" (VS2010 book isn't out yet). For this I read the book cover to cover one and a half times (second time just the highlights to memorize what I thought deserved memorizing the first time I read it). This is the "book" http://www.amazon.com/MCTS-Self-Paced-Training-Exam-70-502/dp/0735625662/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291632845&sr=1-5 I loved this book. Without this book I wouldn't have known that there are EnterActions for property triggers.

I still had time (about a month due to prometric test center being booked in my city) ... I decided to read WPF Unleashed 4 http://www.amazon.com/WPF-4-Unleashed-Adam-Nathan/dp/0672331195 I intend to finish it someday but just got curious about silverlight as it is now. And then I picked up Silverlight 4 Unleashedhttp://www.amazon.com/Silverlight-4-Unleashed-Laurent-Bugnion/dp/0672333368 Now note that I am reading this book after preparing 70-502. This meant I know the value of learning ... really learning every single API that is exposed. And I couldn't put this book down. I simply love it. It showed me how to make my own controls in the very first chapter. I can see XAML now (just like I could see c#). Make my applications Blendable. And I really feel comfortable with MVVM (and yes I have made applications without MVVM ... I am not proud ... and I don't intend to do that ever again). This alone made it the best book on WPF (yes WPF... even though it does not claim it) ever!

And that's it ... the exam was today morning at 10:30 am ... and the rest is history. Thanks for everyone who waited patiently while I prepared for this exam. Love you mom for tolerating my eternal business and keeping me well fed and energized.