My experience with the new Microsoft Foundational C# Certification with Freecodecamp
As a Microsoft MVP, learning is something I love. This is also very useful for my role as a Developer Advocate at MongoDB, where I learn something new multiple times a day.
So when I was watching .NET Conf this year and saw that Microsoft had partnered with Freecodecamp to offer a Foundational C# Certification, I knew it was something I wanted to check out.
I didn't know what to expect but I was excited to explore and see what was involved.
The first thing I saw was it was made up of 7 courses you have to complete followed by an exam at the end. Each course is made up of between 6 and 8 lessons covering the basics of C# including writing your first console application, logic, data types, variables, methods and even debugging. These are a really good choice of topics to help someone get started.
Each lesson is made up of 2 parts; a link to an accompanying Microsoft Learn lesson that you have to complete as the assignment and a question to check knowledge.
I had an advantage because a lot of the courses on Microsoft Learn you have to complete, I had already completed. I have over 100k XP on Learn though so I wasn't totally surprised. But it is worth going through them, taking your time and making sure you understand. Certainly in later lessons, especially around debugging, I learned new things. So even retaking lessons was worth it.
Once you complete a course, you have to click a button to verify your trophy with Learn. This is because when you complete a module or learning path on Learn, you get an achievement and Freecodecamp checks your transcript (what Learn calls your history of lessons, achievements etc) to make sure you have completed the course. After the first course, Freecodecamp will walk you through how to connect your Learn profile with Freecodecamp which makes it really easy.
It took me a couple of hours to work through the courses. This may take you longer if you are new to development and that's perfectly OK! Never put a time pressure on yourself with learning. It is more important that you understand the concepts than race to the finish.
I have been a big fan of the Microsoft Learn platform since it was created so I recommend anyone to explore it and take any lessons that look interesting. That is what I've done over the years :) After I finished all the courses and verified my trophies, it was time to take the exam. This was taken inside Freecodecamp and involved an 80 question multiple-choice quiz. It is timed but there is no time limit. However, note that once you start you can't exit or you will lose your progress so make sure to set aside plenty of time to take the exam. Read the question and answers carefully and enjoy it! It took me about 20 minutes to complete because I have quite a few years of intermittent C# experience under my belt. I share this just to give you an idea of time commitment, not to set some kind of time to aim for or beat. Once completed I submitted my answers and got the good news that I passed, woo! After that, I was able to claim my certificate and I got an official shiny certificate to show off my achievement!
There were also buttons to share my achievement on Twitter and LinkedIn which is always fun to do. So there you have it, how I spent a few fun hours refreshing my C# knowledge, learning new things and becoming certified. I highly recommend this certification to everyone as it was good fun to experience. Even if you just take the courses and not the exam, it is valuable.