The Price of Effective Training

by Dmitry Kirsanov 21. December 2012 08:00

I’ve finished an experiment today. For a bit more than a week I was going to prepare myself for a Microsoft certification exam 70-480, which is about HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. I had good prior knowledge of HTML 4, some basic JavaScript and (as I thought) good enough CSS. However, this was about the next, more advanced level.

The experiment was simple – even though I had access to quite expensive courses and official training materials, I was only going to use free video training created by Microsoft, which is available for everyone at Channel9. And what do you know? 900 / 1000.

The Trend

After the /Build 2012, the annual online conference by Microsoft, I noticed, that Microsoft really did put a lot of effort into making lots of free and effective training materials. Free e-books, online “jump starts” and conferences created by evangelists and actual product team members. For example, awesome course on Windows Azure by Scott Guthrie, which gives you more up to date information about Windows Azure than any course or book you could get.

I also noticed, that Microsoft is going to discontinue nearly all legacy certifications (read: training courses and exams) – for everything ranging from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 R2 and .NET 4. Since August 2013, it’s only Windows 8, Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 and .NET 4.5. Only the newest stuff.

Which also means, that trainers at training centres no longer know the product better than you could, using the new free materials. And also that means, that the existing course library offered by the rest of the market became tremendously smaller. Huge amount of content is going to expire. And there is nothing new so far to expect from 3rd parties.

70-480 – HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript

This particular exam is unique for Microsoft. The unique part is that it’s not about Microsoft products at all. It is, as it’s title implies, about HTML5 in general, CSS3 and JavaScript. That’s why I think it will become the most popular exam in IT for developers, not necessarily Microsoft developers. But not only because of that.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve only used free video training created by Jeremy Foster and Michael Palermo. It’s one day course, labs-free, just pure theory. As effective as AppDev course, but totally free. I highly recommend to watch it whether or not you plan to get to the exam. However, as I mentioned earlier in Twitter, the exam is free if you apply till the end of March 2013. You only have to use the promotional code.

This course alone was enough for me to pass the exam with score of 900 / 1000 – with just 4 questions answered wrong, out of 40. Video course, logic and common sense.

I’ve also got the book by Stephen Walther about developing Windows Store applications using HTML5 and JavaScript, but I didn’t go past the cover, just for the purity of my experiment. I will do it today, for sure. And I recommend that book to you, just because that’s Stephen Walther.

Resume

Now the only excuse you have left is lack of time.

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