Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: "Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications"

Last year I took and passed the Microsoft's Exam 70-480 (Programming HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript).  I perhaps over-studied, living a breathing JavaScript for a couple months.  This was prior to any published books on the test so I had to find my own way.  In any case, I found a process that worked well.  For each skill on the Exam's website, I did the following.
  1. Look around the internet for lists of study materials (often these were wrong though or outdated)
  2. Find several articles or book chapters.  
  3. Brainstorm projects and exercises that would apply to the skill
Once this was done, I had a giant study list that I could work off of, and gauge the speed of my learning.  This worked well but it had the drawback that I spent almost as much time identifying study materials and thinking up exercises, as I did studying and practicing.  Further, the material was uneven.

This is where a book like "Exam Ref 70-486: Developing ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Applications" by William Penberthy comes in handy.  It already gathers together in one places discussions on each subject the exam covers, as well as exercises to work through, and links to further information.

The chapters are concise and relatively well-written, and since I have a good bit of experience with MVC, I could tell that the author knows his subject.

I the end I decided not to pursue taking the exam (my interests have taken me in different directions), but if I ever decide to take another Microsoft Exam, I'll definitely consider getting a book from this series.