One Chapter Down, Fifteen to Go

Friday, April 13, 2007 8:00 AM by Michael Paladino

I've finished the first chapter in the Training Kit book and it has taken a little longer than I thought. There are some basic programming principals such as boxing/unboxing, type conversions, etc. that I have never really taken the time to think about before. It's all making sense so far, and I'm feeling pretty comfortable with the material.

As far as the books, it appears the Training Kit book is going to be much simpler and less in-depth than the VB 2005 book which seems to be inline with some of the reviews I've read of both books. I do like the way the Training Kit book is broken up into lessons within each chapter with questions at the end. That provides a good way for me to start and end a lesson in one sitting.

So far I've only been able to get about 30 minutes to an hour at a time to spend studying. I'm getting pretty close to my goal of 2 hours of personal time and 2 hours of work time per week. The last couple of weeks I've come into work early on Friday morning to get some good uninterrupted study time, and I'm going to try to keep that up each week.

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Categories:   Certification | Personal
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Certification Overview

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:00 AM by Michael Paladino

Since one of the main purposes of this blog is to serve as a record of my studies towards Microsoft certification, I thought I would talk a bit about the certification process as I understand it. My goal is to become a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: Enterprise Application Developer. In order to acheive that, I will need to pass 5 exams earning certifications as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist in the following areas along the way: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications, Web Applications, and Distributed Applications. The image below shows which exams I will be taking and which certifications I will receive after passing each:

Microsoft Certification Chart

My first exam will be Exam 70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 - Application Development Foundation. I have purchased the following Microsoft recommended books:

I will be reading these books and going through the included sample exam questions. After finishing those, I will evaluate whether or not I need to do further training before taking the exam. I've done a lot of .NET programming over the last three years, but have not covered nearly the breadth of information included in these exams. I've committed to spending 4 hours a week studying. That number may have to be adjusted to get through the material a bit quicker. This should be fun!

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Structures and Value Types

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 9:00 AM by Michael Paladino

I've always read about structures and understood them to basically be dumbed-down classes but never had much more of an understanding than that. Going through the first chapter of my studying, I came across an explanation that makes sense to me. I'm sure there's much more to it than this, but structures are value types and not reference types. According to the book, "Value types are variables that contain their data directly instead of containing a reference to the data stored elsewhere in memory" as do instances of classes.

Consider the following code sample:

Dim p As Person = New Person("Michael", "Paladino", 28)
Dim p2 As Person = p

p2.firstName = "Leslie"
p2.age = 27


In this code sample if Person is a Structure, creating p2 creates a new location in memory to store the data. Setting p2 equal to p actually copies the data from p to the new location in memory at p2. Therefore, changing the properties of p2 has no effect on p. Thus the output will be as follows:

Michael Paladino, Age:28
Leslie Paladino, Age:27

If Person is a Class, setting p2 equal to p causes p2 to point to the same location in memory as p. Therefore changing the properties on p2 also changes the properties of p, resulting in the following output:

Leslie Paladino, Age:27
Leslie Paladino, Age:27

MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-536): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0-Application Development Foundation
Lesson 1: Using Value Types

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