My Experience of Live Courses
Although I was dubious at first, Xamarin University seemed to me like a big commitment to take on while working full time. However, once I got stuck in, I was pleasantly surprised.
After trying out the self-guided learning modules before making the commitment I realised that there was a lot I could learn through Xamarin University, especially as I had not worked on Xamarin much previously.
The courses at Xamarin University consist mostly of lectures, taught by experts in Xamarin.
You choose a time slot for lectures that suits you so the experience can fit around your lifestyle. Thankfully this meant that I could work full time and fit in Xamarin University when I was able.
During the lectures, you also work through non-graded exercises. These don’t contribute to your final score but give you a chance to interact with the information and consolidate it in your mind.
You have the ability to ask questions at any time and listen when others ask, benefiting the group as a whole. The interactivity of these sessions is what I’ve found so useful, lecturers take time to answer questions properly and give them the discussion time they need.
Azure Cloud Services
This was one of the modules I found most useful. Before I started this one I was already familiar with Azure but not on mobile, I thought it would be a good chance to expand what I already knew.
I really enjoyed the structure of the classes. The first lecture had us making a website while the second built on that, making a mobile app that integrated with the website so it could be viewed. Each class built on what we had previously done and gave me a good understanding of Azure for mobile platforms.
XAML in Xamarin.Forms
This module I decided to take as I hadn’t worked on Xamarin much before I started Xamarin University. I also hadn’t done much work on user interface previously, but I knew I would need to in the future.
This was a great introduction to XAML for me and since has allowed me to create more intuitive UI across mobile platforms. Since taking these classes I have found creating UI with the use of XAML much easier.
Every so often there is a chance to attend guest lectures; where experts in their field hold lectures of their own. This is a rare opportunity to tap into the knowledge of world renown developers. These aren’t part of the regular modules, so don’t count towards your certification, but the only way I would get to see talks like this otherwise would mean travelling far out of my way.
Office hours are included in the Xamarin University subscription, a chance to have 1:1 meetings with lecturers and gain feedback. This meant I knew exactly how I was doing and what areas needed a little extra work. This was also a chance to ask any question I’d come up with between lectures.
There is a wealth of modules to choose from and the certification is just a small part of what Xamarin University has to offer. With a broad spectrum of modules available you can use Xamarin University as a tool to expand your knowledge, look into areas you are interested in or enhance your skills for what you are working on at the moment.
To get your certification you take the specific track when you are ready. Like all the other modules the track consists of classes but ends with an exam.
You have 3 hours to complete the multiple-choice exam and you need a score of 80% or higher to pass. That being said, passing the exam is not where the University ends.
Once you are certified, people can look you up on the Xamarin Certification page and you are also added into a private LinkedIn group, here you can communicate with other certified developers from around the world and tap into the pool of knowledge available.
Additionally, Xamarin developers have an advantage on Devconnect, a platform for hiring managers to find developers. The profiles of certified developers are filtered and listed at the top so there is a higher likelihood of being seen and employed.
Has It All Been Worth It?
Overall I would say yes.
My confidence in developing cross-platform native applications has grown massively, I now have a great understanding of Xamarin, and app development in general. I feel much more prepared for any issues that arise in the development process, and with the Xamarin support, I can receive I am in a much better position now I am certified.
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