Recently I got certified by Microsoft as Solutions Developer for the Windows Universal Platform by taking two exams that are currently in beta. Because the exams are in beta there is not much guidance to be found online. I noticed during the exams I was being tested on skills not mentioned on the Microsoft Learning web site.
In this post I’ll cover these differences and how I prepared for the exams so it’ll be easier for you to get certified.
Microsoft is constantly changing the exams, so my experience can differ from yours. As both UWP exams were in beta, the exams I took might not represent the exams in the future.
Also, I won’t go into detail about the actual questions in the exam. This is prohibited by the NDA we all sign at the start of an exam.
MCSD: Universal Windows Platform
According to the certification website with this certification you:
Demonstrate your expertise at planning the designing and implementing of Universal Windows Platform apps that offer a compelling user experience, leverage other services and devices, and use best coding practices to enhance maintainability.
The certification covers a total of three exams. One exam that has been around for a couple of years and the two beta exams I mentioned earlier.
Exam 70-483: Programming in C#
Passing this exam will give you the Microsoft Specialist certification.
This certification will count towards other MCSA and MCSD certification:
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: SQL Server 2012
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: SharePoint Applications
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Web Applications
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer: Windows Store Apps Using C#
As I passed this exam back in december 2013 I can’t offer you any actual insights into additional measured skills. So I’ll only give you the link to the skills measured for exam 70-483.
Exam 70-354: Universal Windows Platform – App Architecture and UX/UI
This exam validates a candidate’s knowledge and skills for planning the development of Universal Windows Platform apps and designing and implementing a compelling user experience.
This exam is quite broad. As it covers everything from designing the app to the application lifecycle management of your app.
The skills measured for exam 70-354 are listed on the website.
Additional skills that can be tested:
- Choose between version control systems. For example Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Team Services and GitHub
- Implement optimistic concurrency in your data layer
- Enable beta testing of your app
- Publish the app to the store
Exam 70-355: Universal Windows Platform – App Data, Services, and Coding Patterns
This exam validates a candidate’s knowledge and skills for implementing apps that leverage other services and devices and that use best coding practices to enhance maintainability.
This exam is more limited to the developer role. It covers everything related to developing code, but not limited only to application development.
The skills measured for exam 70-355 are listed on the website.
Additional skills that can be tested:
- Execute code reviews
To prepare for the exam I used the free online training provided at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.
The courses I followed were:
- Windows 10 Development for Absolute Beginners
- Windows 10: Getting Started with UWP
- Windows 10: App Patterns and Navigation
- Windows 10: Managing the App Lifecycle
- Windows 10: Data Binding
- Windows 10: Developing Responsive and Adaptive UIs
- Windows 10: Live Tiles and Notifications
- Windows 10: Inking and the InkCanvas
- Windows 10: Speech Recognition and Cortana Integration
- XAML for Windows 10: Layout
- XAML for Windows 10: Controls
- XAML for Windows 10: Items Controls
What I found surprising was that a lot of questions were not about UWP app development itself but focusing on the surrounding challenges and technologies. Like:
- Working in a team
- Sharing and reviewing code
- Using back-end services like Azure
- Using and connecting with technologies not owned by Microsoft like GitHub, SQLite and MongoDB
So passing the exams will show that you are not only able to write an app. But also that you can do with a team, an appropriate lifecycle and utilizing external data sources.
Beta bonus: Charter member
If you do the exams while they are beta you will find a bonus notation in the certification title on your transcript:
This is explained at the end of the transcript.
*Charter- Certification that was achieved within six months following the retail release date of the certification. Charter Members are recognized by being given the Charter version of the certificate acknowledging their early adoption of the technology solution.