What is Microsoft 70-480 exam and how to study for it?

Microsoft has so many certifications that could allow you to level up your technical skills!

And today, I did my very first certification exam and I passed! So, I'll share a bit of knowledge of what the exam is and a quick guide on how to study for it (&& pass it!).

So, what is Microsoft Exam 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 anyways? #

I have never heard of this exam until 3 months ago when I was about to complete the coding bootcamp I attended.

When you look at it at a glance, the exam seems like it's testing you on your knowledge of how to build a website but there is more to it!

Check out the exam certification page to find in-depth explanations of what the exam is.

In summary, there are 4 things they want you to have a good understanding of and pretty much sums up what goes into the exam:

  • Implement and manipulate document structures and objects (24%)
  • Implement program flow (25%)
  • Access and secure data (26%)
  • Use CSS3 in applications (25%)

So why take this exam? #

I feel that it helped me tie together what I have learned during my bootcamp. I have always enjoyed CSS more than JS because I am more of a design person but this exam has helped me appreciate JS a lot more!

Was it difficult? #

I suppose if you have been programming for years and have good fundamentals - it wouldn't be too hard. But it was really difficult for me. With only 6 months of JS under my belt, I had lots of gaps in my knowledge but it definitely pushed me to learn, question, read and understand more, repetitively. It helped me find my style of learning too!

What do you need to learn to prep for the exam? #

The honest answer is there is quite a lot of things that are covered in the exam but basically:

  • HTML, CSS3, JavaScript (ES5)
  • Callbacks
  • Error handling
  • Events handling
  • Data validation (hint: regex regex regex)
  • HTML5 Web Apis: DOM, web workers, web sockets, geolocation, app cache, localStorage, sessionStorage, canvas, svg
  • XMLHttpRequest and Ajax
  • jQuery
  • Basic CSS Layout, Flexbox, Grid, CSS Regions
  • Transitions, Transforms and Animations
  • ...(I might have missed a few other things, but let me know if I have!)

How to study for it? #

πŸ’‘ Find your learning style preference #

I think everyone has their own way of learning so essentially, it may be best to find out what your learning style preference is - is it watching videos, reading a book, doing practice questions or a combination of all of them?

As I am a visual, a verbal and a reflective learner, I used a combination of learning styles to prep for the exam!

πŸ“š Get the learning materials suited to your style of learning #

The main material I used to prep for them exam is the Exam Reference book for 70-480. I read the whole book! As you go through the book, you'll find that the book has a few errors or some outdated materials as it was published in 2014, but I complimented my reading with online materials like MDN, W3Schools, Stack Overflow, freeCodecamp, Medium articles on concepts that I struggle to understand... technically, I google the heck of everything!

πŸ’» Question everything and take notes #

Another thing that I think helped me so much in my learning is taking notes of all the questions I have and use the notes to reiterate my understanding! So, I use Google Keep to take all my notes - for instance, I wasn't happy with my understanding of localStorage and sessionStorage so I would keep the questions I have in Google Keep:

  • "What is localStorage?"
  • "Why use localStorage instead of sessionStorage" and
  • "What does 'localStorage and sessionStorage is specific to the protocol of the page' mean?".

The last question was referring to a sentence in the book because I really did not understand what it meant... when you don't know something, it's always your best bet to question it and find the answers!

Then I'd find the time to sit down and google all my questions, read different online resources to really get to the bottom of my questions! I would save the online resources as source to the answer and answer my own question in a few sentences.

πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» Practice the questions #

I had some printed mockup questions, ones I find online plus I signed up to measureup to get the feel of the exam in real-time.

πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ Ask other devs #

As I went through practice questions, when I get stuck understanding the explanation behind the correct answer - I would ask other devs and just ask how, why, what...

πŸ’ͺ🏻 Don't give up! #

Really, this is the best piece of advice I could give you - if you are new to coding, revising for the exam might feel overwhelming but do not give up.

How to pass it? #

I will be lying if I said I didn't get shocked when I found out I passed. I was expecting to fail the exams because I felt like I wasn't ready or did not know enough.

But the truth is, you will never feel ready, there will always be something that you don't know and in real-life, when you are coding and building something - you would google things you don't know...

At the end of the day, I think the whole point of studying for the exam and the exam itself is to give yourself a good understanding and strong fundamentals to HTML, CSS and JS.

If you study the materials and do a bit of practice questions, plus really learn to understand the concepts - you'll do great!

The most important thing is understanding the concept && if you still don't get it, it's okay - keep at it because you eventually will πŸ™‚

What’s next after the exam? #

You can take more exams on the Microsoft certified path... but for me, learn new things, build something and more things and keep learning.

Thanks for reading ❣️

Good luck - you got this ⚑️

Here are other resources you might find helpful to prep for your exam: