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I woke up this morning with a very interesting tweet waiting for me. I was asked what the best path for Microsoft certification would be for a Visual Basic programmer. I was forced to reply with "that was not a 140 character answer." This post aims to offer guidance to that process.

Microsoft learning removed the VB paths to certification with the .NET 4 MCPD. The current batch of tests require a language test. You must pass either 70-480 to prove you are a HTML5 specialist or 70-483 to prove you are a C# specialist. Now, if you currently have a MCPD in .NET 4.0 for Windows development, you can skip the language specialist test if you update to MCSD:Windows Store Apps in C#.

This leads to the first issue to address. You must pass a language test before you can continue. To do this, you have to ask yourself where you are more comfortable. C# is closer to VB, but HTML is, arguably, an easier and more ubiquitous language.nfortunately, I can't really suggest one path over the other. I passed both the tests because of my high degree of familiarity with both languages. My instincts would tell me that it may be easier to transition to C# from VB. You can prepare for the test by converting your existing code. Most of the .NET-ness will be standardized. This will allow you to focus on the different syntax.

If you don't have any sufficiently small projects on had to try to convert, begin by creating a small, trivial app in VB. It doesn't have to be anything too fancy. Once you have created the app, convert it to C#. This will get you thinking about language without worrying about the actual problem you're trying to solve. After you do this, go back to the original project, and add a new little feature. Then, convert it.

At some point, add a few more features without starting in the VB project. You'll still be thinking in VB, but you're get familiar with the syntax. Once you're comfortable with the basic syntax, then you should be ready to start addressing the exam objectives. Just starting playing with the features that are being tested on the exam. You can supplement this with some Microsoft Virtual Academy videos.

Once you pass the language test, you're golden. You are going to have to take the following tests in whatever language you chose for the specialist test. However, you can use a very similar approach to study for the remaining tests. The MSDN documentation will generally have .NET documentation for every language. You can begin by studying the feature using VB. As you start to understand the concept, you can apply it whichever language you want. The important part is to understand the concept. Most .NET will look familiar when crossing languages. Remember, all .NET is compiled into IL and interpreted by the CLR. It is in the best interest of the language designer to keep everything as close to the target as possible.

The path to certification from VB is surely not the most direct. However, if you address this difference, you can learn a new language and advance your VB skills at the same time.

Posted on Sunday, September 28, 2014 3:04 PM .NET , Visual Studio , Certification | Back to top

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