Category Archives: Certification

On the road to MCSA certification…

Been quiet recently because I took a Microsoft exam yesterday, the 483: Programming in C# exam (it went rather well) and I’ve been primarily studying for that.

Good news is I passed it so very happy with that, took me about an hour to get through all the questions which just flew by. That means I’m one exam down on my goal of getting an MCSA certification, though by passing the exam I’ve also received the ‘Microsoft Certified Professional’ certification.

Microsoft, quite nicely, has a decent path system in place and once you’ve completed an exam it shows you the certification options available to you (though I imagine anyone taking these exams will have that decided beforehand anyway). So because I’ve completed the 483 exam I can go onto do the certifications for ‘Universal Windows Platform’ or ‘Web Applications’ with the latter being my initial goal. Though I’m now thinking that as I’ve done some UWP previously, released a few apps to the Windows store (and got a few thousand downloads in total), and recently achieved my Xamarin certification I may aim for both. Mainly because my long term goal is to become very fluent in a variety of Microsoft technologies with the aspiration of getting MCSA and (additional) Xamarin certifications.

The plan now will be to apply my spare time to developing ASP.NET, UWP, and Xamarin skill sets and develop some sites and apps hopefully for clients but there are some ‘internal’ projects I want to do so looking forward to getting stuck into those.

If anyone is considering it I’d certainly suggest you give it a go, the exam was about £113 and I took out the practice test package which was very useful in giving a general idea of what to expect. Can’t really say much about the exam itself as you sign an NDA about it and best to say nothing in that respect that to tread a fine line. Though feel free to get in touch and I’ll try to give help where possible, as mentioned won’t be talking about the exam specifically though but my prep etc all good.

Just wanted to get the exam details out and to continue getting content done, I’ve got another post due out in the next few days so hopefully, that’ll be of interest.

Now with Xamarin Certification

So just wanted to write a post as I just got my Xamarin Certified Mobile Professional certification today, very happy with that.

Very Quick Overview of Xamarin:

Xamarin is a cross-platform mobile development framework for developing Android and iOS apps. It allows a huge amount of code reuse through the use of the Xamarin.Forms framework and when coupled with UWP allows for all 3 major platforms to have an app developed at a huge reduction in cost, time, and effect (the magic 3 in my mind). The best bit is that it is all done using C# (and XAML if you want) and makes use of native APIs for those platforms. Xamarin tries to provide a wrapper that you use to do what you want but the underlying framework calls into the platform-specific APIs, obviously this doesn’t work in all cases but they recommend you can get anywhere from 70-90% code reuse.

I’ve been using Xamarin (not as part of my day-to-day job) for quite some time, about 2 years on and off I think. My goal has always been that I will move into mobile development (…again (my first job was as the Android developer within an R&D team)) and for quite a while I only had the time to do any mobile development in my spare time, which there was not a lot of and even less now. But to be honest it’s more than likely I didn’t make as much time as I could’ve to speed the process up… the lies we tell ourselves hey.

My introduction with mobile development was through Android (day to day job back in 2014/2015) and I had a Windows Phone for a few years so I made some apps for that and put them up on the Windows Store. Though nothing to shout about tbh, for example, the first was the classic Torch app, though one I was quite happy with was a Pokemon guessing game where users would guess the name of the Pokemon back on the silhouette (basically the “Who’s that Pokemon” game in the show). A few people seemed to like it, wouldn’t go looking for it though in case you were interested it’s not available in any of the stores. No doubt there are plenty of good alternatives, I even contacted the Pokemon Company the find out if I could somehow develop the game properly…. as you can imagine they were not interested.

Anyway coming back to Xamarin, when I heard about it I thought it was brilliant, started listening to the Xamarin Podcast, with James Montemagno and Pierce Boggan (check it out here), and attended one of the Xamarin Dev Days (which was really good and even got to have a go on the Hololens which was cool) though they don’t seem to be happening anymore. As mentioned becoming a mobile developer, specifically a Xamarin developer, has been in the works for a while now and I didn’t seem to be making much in the way of progress (always something taking up the time, I’m sure you’ve experienced similar problems right?) but a few months ago I just decided I was going to go for the certification and I would get it. After some time and effort, today is that day, if you are thinking about doing it yourself I highly recommend just starting the material on the Xamarin University website. Get through it as and when you can and before you know it you’ll be making a nice amount of progress. Even if you don’t want the get certified still worth a look, the content is free.

I’ll be releasing some material over the next few months about how to get started and possibly some other tutorials. I do have some other Introductory content coming up but I’m looking to target that in a more general sense using C++ and C#. Should hopefully get the ball rolling soon.

Thanks for reading and if you have any comments feel free to leave them or send me an email via the contact page.