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Looking for some advice

Discussion in 'MCAD / MCSD / MCPD' started by Cheeze, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. Cheeze

    Cheeze Bit Poster

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    Hi, I'm looking for some advice.

    Here's my situation:

    About 12 years ago I studied Computer Aided Design at college and part of the course involved some basic learning of Turbo Pascal. This was something I enjoyed doing, writing little programs etc. 12 years later I am actually a pub manager with a big hobby in computers. I hadn't re-touched on programming at all since my college days until recently. A lad I knew online told me he was writing a little app which got me interested so I had a little go at VB6, very basic stuff mind you, and really enjoyed it again. Then I saw the ads on TV for computeach and decided that learning programming properly and even making a career out of it may be right up my street. I had an assessment with a really nice guy from Computeach who recommended I go initially for an MCAD and then a MCSD in C# .net. The price seemed pretty steep, about £5200, £8000 with interest on a loan. So before I jumped into this I took to google and had a search and to be honest didn't find ANY good feedback about computeach. This left me a little worried, and with the price tag I decided to turn the placement down.

    The thing is that I still am really interested in heading in this direction and I am in no rush. I have taken to teaching myself vb.net for now with the aid of 'Microsoft Visual Basic.net Step by Step' from Microsoft Press. But to be honest, once I've finished this book (another week or so with my busy schedule) I have no idea what to do next, what books to get etc. Unfortunately with my current employment the only option I have is to study at home, and my salary isn't great either so fancy expensive courses are out of the question too for the next few years.

    What advice does anyone have? I is it possible to learn stuff for these Certification exams from mainly self teaching? Any info or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry for the long winded post but thought it'd be best to put as much info into the post rather than keep posting. :biggrin
     
    Certifications: An M.O.T.
    WIP: Hopefull MCAD and MCSD
  2. Chris Winter

    Chris Winter New Member

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    Hi Cheeze

    As one who has paid for a course that didn't deliver, my advice would be that self-study is the best route to passing the Microsoft exams. Frankly, there is no substitute for working your way through a good book, doing the excercises and studying a lot of practice questions before doing each of the four exams. I have just passed 70-316 and that's what I did.

    Each exam represents a hell of a lot of work and I just don't believe there are any real shortcuts. Working on it in your spare time I would estimate it will take you 4-5 months to prepare for each exam. That may sound like a long time compared with the claims the courses make but bear in mind that to pass each exam you will need to thoroughly digest a 500 odd page technical textbook (some of them are even bigger), perform the practical excercises in the book and get very familiar with several hundred practice questions.

    The good news is that after 2 exams you can become a MCAD, which may be enough to get you a job as a trainee programmer.

    The other good news is that providing you already have a half decent computer - you can probably do the whole thing for about £1000 (includes buying: Visual Studio (Academic), textbooks, practice questions, and taking the exams @ £88 a pop)

    Good luck
     
    WIP: MCSD
  3. Cheeze

    Cheeze Bit Poster

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    I'm not looking for any shortcuts, if it takes me years then that's what it takes. I'm enjoying the work I've done so far, halfway through a 600 odd page book at the moment in just over a week. I plan on reading several books yet before even attempting an exam. The more I learn the better, even if it only leads to me writing some software of my own and releasing it on the net as a hobby. Thanks for the advice, it was helpful.
     
    Certifications: An M.O.T.
    WIP: Hopefull MCAD and MCSD
  4. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Chris, maybe you don't know, or missed the part of our Rules & Guidelines that states braindumps are illegal, and will not be condoned in anyway by CertForums.

    If you're gonna use them, you're gonna jeopordise your chances in the exam(s), devalue your certification (not only for yourself, but for all who hold it) and at worst, run the risk of being penalised for use of said illegal materials.

    Just so's you know.

    Other than that, welcome - why not swing by the New Members board and say hello ? :)
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  5. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    He has:

    http://www.certforums.co.uk/forums/thread5876.html

    I have to echo Gav's comments about braindumps. Seems like the subject is being brought up a lot lately.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  6. Cheeze

    Cheeze Bit Poster

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    Thanks guys, not sure what braindumps are anyway but I pressume it involves not really learning anything properly. I'd much prefer to know exactly what I am doing and why. When I eventually sit an exam or two I'd rather pass knowing I do so on my own merit having fully grasped what I have learnt.

    If there are any books you could recommend then I'd be grateful. Like I say, taking my time at the moment, just doing a few books etc.
     
    Certifications: An M.O.T.
    WIP: Hopefull MCAD and MCSD
  7. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    OK, there appears to be some confusion here - my last post was aimed at Chris Winters, in referencing braindumps. Cheeze made no mention of them (rightly so).

    HTH :)
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    :blink Darn! Goofed again. :oops:
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  9. Chris Winter

    Chris Winter New Member

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    Apologies, I was perhaps being a little imprecise in my use of language when I used the illegal(?) "b word". What I meant to convey was the importance of using practice questions that bear some resemblance to the questions that will be encountered in the exam. These are perfectly legitimate and many companies that sell them are approved by Microsoft, e.g. Transcender. I used Self Test software, which is approved by Microsoft in conjuction with questions provided by the Microsoft Self-Paced Training Kit.

    In my opinion, it would be almost impossible to pass a Microsoft exam without making use of such questions. Thompson Prometric one of the Microsoft Exam Providers in the UK strongly advocate that candidates use such questions in their preparation and provide a link to Self Test. The nature of the exams is that questions are asked that involve knowing microscopic details about certain commands, parameters, switches and class properties, while other areas that are theoretically in scope get completely ignored. You absolutely must have a good knowledge of these standard areas of questioning or you cannot hope to pass and at £88 per exam, this is not a lesson to learn the hard way.

    Having recently spent 3 months slaving away full time to prepare for 70-316, and having achieved a mark of 880 (pass mark 700), I would certainly not want to advocate any practices that devalued the qualification. I'm sorry if I have caused offence.

    Does anyone have any recommendations about textbooks for MCSD .NET C#? I have not enjoyed using Microsoft Press books. I've heard the Amit Kalani books are better. Any views?

    Regards
     
    WIP: MCSD
  10. Leey2000k

    Leey2000k Bit Poster

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    Hi Cheeze,

    Well I worked for Computeach for 1 1/2 Years in their Sales Support Department! my ADVISE DO NOT GO WITH THEM, all Computeach offer is courseware which has just been rewritten by them and thats it, none of the tutors knew what they were talking about and the So Called "Selection Executives" ie "SE's" that come out to see you and go through the courses their just glorified Sales men, who earn lets just say a large amount per enrolment.
    And the loan's with Marehill Finance are loans from Computach with an APR of 29.9%

    Good luck which ever road you take!
     
    Certifications: 70-271
    WIP: MCSDT
  11. Cheeze

    Cheeze Bit Poster

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    Thanks Leey2000k, I had already decided not to go with them. Although the SE was a nice bloke and was understanding when I turned them down I did find it all rather odd.

    I found it amazing after a half hour chat and a few questions that he could determine that going for a full MCSD in C#.net was right up my street and I was the absolute perfect candidate for that course, also the most expensive course lol. I do think I would be the right person to do this course but how he can tell that in a very quick chat is beyond me. He told me, "There's only about 100 people in the uk with that qualification". Looking around the web I'd say that was probably bull.
     
    Certifications: An M.O.T.
    WIP: Hopefull MCAD and MCSD
  12. alvincho

    alvincho New Member

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    I recommend Amit Kalani's books for 70-315, 316, and 320. They contains a lot of useful knowledge even for an experienced programmer. And Que's 70-229 by Thomas Moore. Unfortunately no book for 300.
     
    Certifications: MCSD, CFA Level I, FRM
    WIP: CFA

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