Gavin Greig (ggreig) wrote,
Gavin Greig


Another week of training last week, and I am now an MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer).

Rather annoyingly, I failed the last exam by approximately one question, and had to take advantage of the immediate resit option and also roll with a corresponding punch to the pocketbook.

The second time - begun about forty-five minutes after coming out of the first attempt - was a comfortable pass. As forty-five minutes doesn't allow much time for revision and improvement, it does make you wonder. Apparently there is quite a lot of negative feedback about this particular exam. However, I'm not sure I can join in.

I am sure it could be improved in some ways, but it is a difficult topic to get "right". The exam in question is on the topic of software architecture and the design process, and the format is that you answer several questions on each of a small selection of case studies. Even with dedicated course materials which help to define some of the vocabulary used, there is more room for incorrect interpretations or sloppy thinking than in the other development exams, which are constructed of individual, focussed questions on more concrete aspects of technology.

In the end, an exam of this kind will always be open to more criticism than one which has more obviously right/wrong answers, but such criticism is not necessarily justified. Perhaps the exam is a perfectly good reflection of the real world of design, where it's easy to miss a key phrase in the briefing or misunderstand the direction desired by the users.

If the exam results show more variation for this topic than for others, perhaps some revision of the case studies and questions would help - or perhaps the value of the exam would be destroyed by presenting a more contrived and unrealistic set of examples.

Personally, I know my attention can wander and my interest in the questions falter. In fact, I was aware of it happening during the resit, which perhaps should have worried me more than it did. I seem to have got by OK though, after reminding myself to re-focus a bit.

Congratulations to my colleagues, including qidane, who both passed first time! :-)
Tags: software development, thought, work

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