Thursday, 22 September 2016

The road to becoming an MCSD: Web Applications 3/4: Exam 70-486

I wanted to pass the 70-486 exam as the second step in my quest for MCSD (see my previous post). To do so, I might just try the exam out and see how I would do, but that would also mean I would not get any refresh course on the exam objectives, which was part of the goal.

How to pass Microsoft Exam 70-486 (Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications) in 30 days

On the internet you can find a good guide into building your career: It also has a chapter on how to pass the 70-486: It shows some books which might help you:

This book was written by William Penberthy. And its terrible not the best book I’ve ever read.

Pros; Each objective on the exam receives equal coverage.  There are some good insights into the various technologies at a high level, and the author is clearly very experienced in this field.

Cons;  This is the official book from Microsoft from the 70-486 exam, and it is somewhat off the mark.  The objectives/sections/chapters are disjointed and only covered at a very high level.  The book is severely lacking in detail and code samples/walkthroughs.

If you really want to read a book, I highly recommend reading Professional ASP.NET MVC 4, which was written by Jon Galloway, Phil Haack, Brad Wilson, Scott Allen and Scott Hanselman. Five people who are leading experts in this field. I learnt a lot from this book, it flows well, there are sufficient code samples and the book is very engaging.

But I am not one to learn much from books. I learn a lot more from doing and lectures. The site also has a list of Pluralsight training videos which is more my style of learning:

Here are some of the videos I watched whilst preparing for this exam; (Make sure you follow along whilst the presenter is talking!)

Pluralsight course playlist

Based on that list of Pluralsight courses I created my own playlist:
As you might notice, I just skipped the one about Windows Azure Fundamentals. I did start the lecture, but noticed very soon that it is heavily outdated. Azure has been changed so much since the lecture was posted (around 2010), that I did not find it profitable to spend my time on.

So I started to follow the courses listed.

It is indeed important to make sure you follow along whilst the presenter is talking! But the courses feel sometimes very slow paced if you know the subject, and you feel the urge to skip to the more interesting parts. Like I told in my previous post I like to play them in double speed.

Especially the lecture about claims based identity was very informative. Although I am already used to implement OAuth and AzureAD for authorization, it told the very basics of why it works and in general how. Even if you're not going for an exam, this lecture is a must-see for any web developer.

I felt confident enough to pass the exam, so I planned the exam.

Examination time!

I did not pass it, with a score of 658 out of 1000. According to the result I was weakest in the following skill areas:

  • Design and implement routes. This objective may include but is not limited to: define a route to handle a URL pattern; apply route constraints; ignore URL patterns; add custom route parameters; define areas
  • Configure and apply authorization. This objective may include but is not limited to: create roles; authorize roles by using configuration; authorize roles programmatically; create custom role providers; implement WCF service authorization
  • Configure state management. This objective may include but is not limited to: choose a state management mechanism (in-process and out of process state management, ViewState); plan for scalability; use cookies or local storage to maintain state; apply configuration settings in web.config file; implement sessionless state (for example, QueryString)
So I've got to do some more learning and training on those points.

To be continued ...

Disappointing of course to not pass the exam. I'll do some more studying and retry the exam. I will keep you posted whether I pass it the next time...