On passing the Xamarin Mobile Developer Certification Exam

Microsoft likes us to have some technical certifications.  Personally I enjoy the challenges of the tests.  This year my goals were the Windows 10 UWP Developer exam ( Developing Mobile Apps 70-357 - https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/exam-70-357.aspx )and the Xamarin Certified Developer accreditation ( https://university.xamarin.com/certification ).  Earlier in the year I passed the UWP exam, so up next was the Xamarin Cert.

Cutting it short, I passed the Xamarin exam Saturday.  Good to go.  Check it at the Xamarin site https://university.xamarin.com/certification.  You can search for me by name - Joe Healy.


My background – pretty significant UWP and Xamarin Forms. Quite a number of engagements on Xamarin, ALL WERE XAMARIN FORMS, so my native-fu was weak. I knew I had to refresh there.

The Xamarin exam long.  Very long.  My ADHD doesn't hold up very well in the long exams.  This was going to be a challenge. They give you a big chunk of time. Didn’t double check my answers as I tend to hurt myself by double guessing my answers.

I had a down week and spent Tues/Wed/Thurs working through all 16 of the required certification classes. I reviewed the slides and anything I was vague on went into my OneNote, manually typed and keyed in.  I also pasted in code samples from the slides, which helped a lot of some of the things I don’t use too much (effects, renderers). Friday = machine crash and setup backup machine ( see gotchas below). Saturday – review materials, review native stuff again, take exam.

Best tip – you have to have the counselling thing before taking the exam, listen to what they say. My counselor, Kym Philpotts ( https://www.kymphillpotts.com/ ), pointed out extra study guides on the bottom of the cert page ( https://university.xamarin.com/content/certification ). Each one listed out specific items to know and links to find detailed info. Work through these. Make sure you understand, well, everything. Quite a number of questions from them, especially things like publishing on iOS.

Question topics – Rumed - "Hey the cert track is mostly xam forms ( 12/16 courses ) so that’s the ratio forms to native on exam".  Don't count on it. Lots of native still. Be ready. Review all materials thoroughly.

The test is open book.  Given you have to have 80% to pass, this was refreshing.   In hindsight I realized you can save yourself hassle before starting the test by configuring your work area properly. One side monitor at home, so test open on side monitor, with research helpers on main for when I got stuck.  If I had done it properly I would have had open:

  • My OneNote with my study notes and some pasted code samples
  • Visual Studio 2017 with Android and IOS PCL project
  • Visual Studio 2017 with Android Native Project - base
  • Visual Studio 2017 with iOS Native Project - base
  • Mac crossover connected to PC with VS Mac on latest update
  • Browser on "bing" ready to search when I got vague

Gotchas – before my final my HPZbook battery and charger went boom. All my downloaded exercises were on that machine. I was planning on using those for reference on some of the projects I hadn’t played with that much. Wound up just pulling down AND101-2 and IOS1-2 to my machine. Too burned out at that point after provisioning up my backup box and 3 days pre-study to pull the rest. Ugh.

Drained today but travelling. Going for some 3 mile walks and having red wine or scotch for dinner this evening. Cya!