Well, after previously saying that I’d would give the pursuit of further certifications a bit of a rest, I’ve gone and acquired yet another Microsoft Certification. This one is Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer – Application Lifecycle Management.
It all started around the beginning of January this year when Microsoft sent out an email with a very special offer. Register via Microsoft’s Virtual Academy and you would be sent a 3-for-1 voucher for selected Microsoft exams. Since the three exams required to achieve a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer – Application Lifecycle Management exams were included within this offer, I decided to go for it. I’d pay for only the first exam and get the other two for free!
So, having acquired my voucher code, I proceeded to book myself in for the first of the 3 exams. “Administering Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012” was the first exam which I’d scheduled for the beginning of February. Although I’d had some previous experience of setting up, configuring and administrating Team Foundation Server, that was with the 2010 version of the product. I realised I needed to both refresh and update by skills. Working on a local copy of TFS 2012 and following along with the “Applying ALM with Visual Studio 2012 Jumpstart” course on Microsoft’s Virtual Academy site, as well as studying with the excellent book, “Professional Scrum Development with Microsoft Visual Studio 2012” that is recommended as a companion/study guide for the MCSD ALM exams, I quickly got to work.
I sat and passed the first exam in early February this year. Feeling energised by this, I quickly returned to the Prometric website to book the second of the three exams, “Software Testing with Visual Studio 2012”, which was scheduled for March of this year. I’d mistakenly thought this was all about unit testing within Visual Studio, and whilst some of that was included in this course, it was really all about Visual Studio’s “Test Manager” product. The aforementioned Virtual Academy course and the book covered all of the this course’s content, however, so continued study with those resources along with my own personal tinkering helped me tremendously. When the time came I sat the exam and amazingly, passed with full marks!
So, with 2 exams down and only 1 to go, I decided to plough on and scheduled my third and final exam for late in April. This final exam was “Delivering Continuous Value with Visual Studio 2012 Application Lifecycle Management” and was perhaps the most abstract of all of the exams, focusing on agility, project management and best practices around the “softer” side of software development. Continued study with the aforementioned resources was still helpful, however, when the time came to sit the exam, I admit that I felt somewhat underprepared for this one. But sit the exam I did, and whilst I ended up with my lowest score from all three of the exams, I still managed to score enough to pass quite comfortably.
So, with all three exams sat and passed, I was awarded the “Microsoft Certified Solution Developer – Application Lifecycle Management” certification. I’ll definitely slow down with my quest for further certifications now….Well, unless Microsoft send me another tempting email with a very “special” offer included!