Alistair does .NET part 1

Since passing my SQL Server exam at the end of October, I’ve been focussing on bringing myself up to speed on C# and .NET with a view to my first coding exam being 70-315 developing web stuff with C# and VS.NET.

It’s not as if I’ve completely ignored things over the years, just that I’ve only really had opportunity to skim the surface.

My recent efforts have also been an opportunity to try out for myself the materials that are used to maintain and enhance the technical skills of the people we employ at work.

First stage I went through was a consideration of computer based training from appdev which is a series of CDs featuring the dulcet tones of Mr Jesse Liberty going through the fundamentals of the C# language. I was really impressed at the quality of the training, even if it was a bit back to basics when looking at the basics of conditions, looping, and function calls.

Having completed that I’ve moved on to working through the QUE book for 70-315 which I think is really good as well. It is completely focussed on the exam, following the exam outline with material and exercises for each heading and subtopic. Having got to chapter 6 I’m beginning to reassess how many of the exercises that I carry out in detail as I think the pace is a bit slow. But that said, on what I’ve found so far I would still recommend the book. Each chapter ends with a number of example questions in the style of the exams – something I think is very helpful. The book also starts with a discussion of learning techniques and processes, a useful analysis of how information is retained and related to what is already known.

As for what I think, the bulk of the detail to date has been C# the language. I continue to get caught out a bit by the case sensitivity of the language, I tend to add too many capitals to keywords because of my long history with Basic and scripting derived languages. That said, I continue to be impressed by the support for object orientation and the support given through the framework classes. It all makes a lot of sense and has a kind of coherent ring in the design that all fits together really well.

What I would say though, is that you’re not going to learn this stuff without having a full copy of Visual Studio .NET, one of the versions of SQL Server and one of the Microsoft operating systems that supports IIS e.g. XP PRO or better. Not an insignificant collection of kit.