It's been about 2 years since I decided to specialize in mobile software development with Xamarin. I'm still not sure that was the best idea. Where's the work? Who's looking for Xamarin developers? Will this platform survive long-term? Okay, those questions warrant a separate blog post. Anyway, I've wanted to get certified for some time now and my current employer (a local consulting firm) was happy to provide me with a Xamarin University account to do just that. And, well, I did it!
Let's talk about the process of becoming a Xamarin Certified Mobile developer (sounds fancy, doesn't it?). First, I have to say, Xamarin University is a quality organization with great instructors. They make you attend many of the classes live, which I didn't like at first but soon learned to love. I mean, why not make it fully on-demand? Well, it really could be, but you would lose out on the experience of live instructors and, as I learned, that's pretty valuable.
The classes, both live and on-demand, are very good. Rich, comprehensive coverage for the certification track. But, don't think that by taking just these courses you'll be prepared for the test. You won't be. To pass the exam, you really need to have some experience under your belt because the surface of the actual test is very broad. The exam covered things I've never encountered or thought about. It's not easy.
But, Don, it's open book (open internet), right? Yes it is. But, the questions are designed in such a way that you could spend lots of time searching for some of the harder answers and come up with nothing. I was screaming at my monitor more than a few times because I just couldn't find anything. There were moments of desperation. I had to rely on my experience and frankly, guess more times than I was comfortable with. I was sure I would fail.
It's a good thing my family wasn't home because the words coming out of my mouth were less than savory. Anyway, the deal is, you have 3 hours to answer 150 questions and you have to pass at 80% or better. It's pretty tough and you feel the pressure (for 3 freak'n hours). Again, at the end, when I hit that submit button, I was sure I had failed. I didn't. I passed.
More foul language poured out of my mouth upon seeing the number - 82% - flash on the screen, this time, out of pure joy, the joy that I wouldn't have to endure this nightmare again. Okay, I will for renewal, but I don't even want to think about that now. Whomever designed this exam, hats off to you because it's a real bitch. Anyway, I'm a Xamarin Certified Mobile monkey. I hope it's worth it. I have my doubts.