One neat thing when you’re a MVP (for 3 more weeks!) is that you get a lot of invitations to all kind of events. So when I got an invite to take the MCTS exam (beta) for WPF 3.5, I though I should try it, even though it’s my Most Busy December Ever. It’s not easy preparing for a Beta exam, because there are no courses, no books, no test exams available, so you’re pretty much left to yourself. Thankfully, I found a list of subjects online, and after marking those of them which I was really not feeling comfortable with, I sat down a few evenings with Adam Nathan’s book, and reviewed. When you learn a huge platform like WPF, there are areas which you know perfectly well, and others you never ever work with, and you really need a refresher. In my case, I needed a good brush up on Custom Controls (and themes), 3D, FlowDocuments and a few other areas.
So now I just had the exam, and it was pretty hard. My way of developing is not by learning stuff by heart, but rather learning where to find the answer if I ever need it. That means that I rely a lot on MSDN (offline or online) and examples (books, blogs), and less on my memory. I am pretty sure it’s the best way of doing software engineering, since information changes all the time, and the risk to memorize obsolete information is too high if you learn by heart. As such, I am really not sure that I like the MCTS exam concept, but since this one was free, why not. I think I passed, but I am not sure, because it’s a beta exam and I won’t get the result before 8 weeks at least. That blows, because I was impatient to know how I did; also, due to the snail mail delays between the US and here (Switzerland), it’s maybe not even going to arrive before MIX. Oh well, I guess I just have to be patient, and cross my fingers.
I obviously cannot comment much on the exam’s content, but let’s just say that some questions were really tricky :) Anyway, I’ll let you know the result when I get it (if positive or negative, I swear :)