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Finding Microsoft certification training -- for free

There's new Microsoft certification training material available to help developers earn the MCSD Windows Store Apps credential.

Since the latter part of 2012 -- around the same time it dropped its Metro terminology for the Windows 8 tile-based portion of its user interface -- Microsoft has been pushing and promoting a free e-book and free Jump Start training sessions. These are designed to prepare software developers to earn the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) credential that focuses on Windows Store Apps.

Let's examine how the pieces of this specific Microsoft certification training puzzle fit together.

MCSD: Windows Store Apps Using HTML5

This certification seeks to identify individuals who can "demonstrate their expertise at designing and developing fast and fluid Windows 8 apps," following a track that focuses on HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. There are three exams that candidates must pass to earn this certification:

70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3

More about Microsoft certification training, Windows:

Getting Windows certification right

Are you ready for Windows 8?

Updating Microsoft certifications with the MCSA exam

70-481: Essentials of Developing Windows Store Apps Using HTML5 and JavaScript

70-482: Advanced Windows Store App Development Using HTML5 and JavaScript.

Sure, Microsoft offers full-blown five-day training classes on each of these exam topics (as do their authorized training partners), but do-it-yourselfers can take advantage of other, free materials available from the folks in Redmond to prep for these exams and earn the MCSD in the process.

Jump Start training

Microsoft recently announced it'll begin delivering the 70-482 Advanced Windows Store App Development training through its Jump Start training classes at the Microsoft Virtual Academy. If history is any guide, a recording of that class will likely show up on the Microsoft Virtual Academy pages, just as you can already find prerecorded classes there that cover the 70-480 and 70-481 material online. That means exam candidates who are already somewhat familiar with the material can get one-day tune-ups and exam prep sessions from some of the best instructors at Microsoft -- for free.

The e-book fills out the story

But how can prospective Windows Store App programmers become somewhat familiar with this material to get the most out of these three free classes? Since October 2012 (when the first two Jump Start classes were delivered live), Microsoft Press has offered an e-book to those interested in this subject matter. The book's title, Programming Windows 8 Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, speaks directly to the primary technologies for the MCSD: Windows Store Apps certification. What's more, the e-book is free.

Microsoft is asking for feedback from readers to make an upcoming revision to this book (which they plan to also give away). Interested readers should also check out author Kraig Brockschmidt's blog for updates on this still-developing certification.

How can you say no to free training?

All of this free stuff is pretty impressive and speaks loudly to Microsoft's desire to have Windows 8 and its new user interface and app paradigm succeed. The company clearly recognizes that the best way to load up the Windows Store with apps is to get as many people as possible plugging away at Windows App code.

The HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 approach involves about as shallow a learning curve as you're likely to find in climbing onto the Microsoft development framework, so it's clearly calculated to draw as many programmers into the fold as possible. I don't mind a little cheerful enlightened self-interest on Microsoft's part, especially when they've essentially lowered the cost equation for the MCSD Windows Store Apps to not much more than the cost of the exams (that's $450, plus the time and effort required to pass them, of course).

For anyone interested in programming the Windows way, this new Microsoft certification training material is worth a close look.

Ed Tittel is a long-time computing industry guy who's been in and around the trenches for more than 30 years. He's also the author of HTML For Dummies, which first appeared in 1995, and for which a 14th edition is scheduled for 2013 release. In addition, Ed also blogs on IT careers and certifications for TechTarget, Tom's IT Pro, and, and on Windows Enterprise Desktop topics for TechTarget as well.

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