For the last couple of weeks I spent some extra time on learning. I have decided to organize my knowledge and experience and fill in all the gaps.
It’s not bad to learn things through working with them. Theoretical knowledge is not as valuable and useful as real-life experience in my opinion. The downside is however, that if the only thing you’re doing is learning through practice, the odds are high that you will miss some things and not fully benefit of everything that’s already there.
For the last 2,5 years I’ve been working with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. Right from the beginning I started with development on the SharePoint platform. Because I had a few years (web)development and webdesign experience it wasn’t that difficult for me to adapt to the new development platform. And although I was doing my job and was getting things done, I was reinventing things without even knowing it. That is why just recently I decided to fill in all the gaps I had with the knowledge I should have had a long time ago.
The great thing about it was that about a half year ago Imtech ICT Velocity – the company I work for – started a new education program led by a colleague of mine and a great trainer Erik Schoenmakers. Within that program I got room to learn about the technologies I was working with every day.
I started off with the (70-536) Microsoft .NET Framework - Application Development Foundation exam. Developing on the SharePoint platform means developing in the .NET framework. It is therefore important that you know what the framework offers you and how things work. I prepared for the exam using the Self-Paced Training Kit and I have to admit it was a great experience. The kit covers all aspects of the .NET framework: from things I use daily like XSLT, Regular Expressions and Tracing to stuff I never work with as a SharePoint developer like drawing.
Next I took the (70-562) Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development exam. This time I attended a two-day course delivered by Erik. And although the course didn’t go as far as the Self-Paced Training Kit I enjoyed discussing all the different things with other students.
Just when I thought that I had it all covered I stumbled upon yet another certification: (70-564) Pro: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. From what I’ve seen and read about this certification on the Internet it seemed like a great match with all the things I’ve been working with for the last 2,5 years. There is one thing about that particular exam however: there are no official preparation materials for it! So does Microsoft expects us to pass it using nothing else than the basic knowledge and real-life experience? After all the 70-564 certification is targeted to developers with at least three years experience in working with ASP.NET.
As preparation I read the Pro ASP.NET 3.5 in C# 2008 book by APress. This book covers all core concepts and fundamentals of ASP.NET 3.5 as well as some more advanced topics. While this book isn’t really a deep-dive into real-life ASP.NET it gives you a lot of examples of what ASP.NET offers you out of the box.
After a couple weeks of studying and doing exams, I became Microsoft Certified Professional Developer in ASP.NET 3.5:
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