MTA 98-361: How I passed MTA – Software Development Fundamentals?

Let’s Define Microsoft Technology Associate

(c) Microsoft

Who should take this exam?

(c) Microsoft

What Skills do I need to study for the Exam?

Check on this : Microsoft

How did I prepare?

I have an experience in VB.NET and C#, because way back in College we had a course that focuses on Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and currently on my work we are using C#. I must say it was helpful in speeding up the preparation process, but I still take some time in studying. Don’t rush on taking the examination, take time to study even it will take you 1 month or even 2 months – it’s okay as long as you passed. Let’s say you passed the exam in 1 week preparation then what? Did you learn something? Did it actually improved your skills? In my opinion, the Certification is just a reward from studying very hard. The most important thing is not just by getting the certificate thus, the things that you’ve learned is the real deal that made you certified! I mean when you pass the certifications it means you know something.

So this is how I prepare.

This is the breakdown of my time when I’m Studying:

Monday to Friday: 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Some of you may wonder why I study late. It’s because I have a work 7:00 am to 7:00 pm (average time). If you are free all day you can start studying early. On weekdays I allotted 3 hours (estimated) a day to study although sometimes I only allot 1 hr., then I play Dota2 (online Games) for 2 hours 😋. I want to share this because I want you to realize that you don’t need to rush on studying, make your preparation still enjoying. Make yourself enjoy what you are studying. If you feel a little stress, just stop. Take a break and do stuff that relaxes you e.g. Watch movies, watch your favorite anime, play some games or better stand up then go outside play basketball, go to mall etc. You need to prepare a list of schedule of what you are going to study. If you are not good on Web applications allocate a longer time on it.

Here’s an example of list of task together with the topics (it depends on you on how are you capable in terms of learning):

  • Understanding Core Programming – 3 days
  • Understanding Object-Oriented Programming – 4 days
  • Understanding General Software Development – 2 days
  • Understanding Web Applications – 5 days
  • Understanding Desktop Applications – 2 days
  • Understanding Databases – 3 days

To define the listed topics, read the following:

Understanding Core Programming  

This topic took me only 1 day to master, it’s because I already studied it in my college days and also I’m using it to my day to day work as a Software Developer. You can expect many theoretical concepts in these sections and that’s why it is easy to score here. 😄

Important thing you need to know on this topic is Recursion. You need to master it.

Recursion is a programming technique that cause a method to call itself in order to compute a result.

When I’m studying Recursion it makes my mind crazy, if I didn’t program this enough myself and I come back and I take a look on them I really have to go and spend some time thinking about what this recursive function is actually doing.

Write a program that calculate Factorial so that you can easily get how Recursion works.

Sample Program for Recursion:

Understanding Object-Oriented Programming               

You need to study very well on this, not just because it has the highest percentage on exam but it will also boost up your skills and you could use what you’ve learned on developing on your future projects because OOP makes it easier for developers to structure and organize software programs.

Understanding General Software Development           

Important thing you need to know on this topic is the Phases of application life cycle management.
When you are applying for a software development jobs expect for these topic in your Interview.
When you are start working as a Software Developer it’s an advantage that you have a general understanding of this process.

Understanding Web Applications                

I allocated more time on this topic. Web Application is a vast topic and difficult to master in short period of time. Hence it is important that you covered at least the topics mentioned on the MTA 98-361 – Understanding Web Applications.

Understanding Desktop Applications                

This was personally the easiest part for me on my preparation. We have to mainly look into Windows Services, Store Apps and Console Apps. Again, I want to emphasize that try to cover the topics mentioned on the MTA 98-361 website first. Then you could read more information depending on your interest and time at your disposal. Take a look on UI design guideline categories. You must identify some Controls and Gestures using Windows 10 on tablet mode. Like for example; swiping gesture, App Bar, share screen etc..

Understanding Databases                

Important thing that you need to know on this topic are Data Normalization and Stored Procedure.

→Understanding Data Normalization

You must know how to identify if the given data in the table is in First Normal Form, Second Normal or on Third Normal Form.

→Working with Stored Procedures

stored procedure is a set of SQL statements that is stored in a database. Queries that are stored permanently on a SQL Server. You can think of stored procedures as the SQL equivalent of C# methods.

Stored procedures have two main benefits.

  1. First, you can use them to save complex SQL statements for future execution. 
  2. Second, SQL Server compiles stored procedures so that they run faster than ad hoc queries.

Sample parameterized stored procedures.

→Its allow you to pass runtime arguments to the SQL Server.

CREATE PROCEDURE dbo.GetCustomerSales
(
@CustomerId char(5),
@TotalSales money OUTPUT

AS
SELECT @TotalSales = SUM(Quantity * UnitPrice)
FROM (Customers INNER JOIN Orders
ON Customers.CustomerId = Orders.CustomerId)
INNER JOIN [Order Details]
ON Orders.OrderId = [Order Details].OrderId
WHERE Customers.CustomerId = @CustomerId
RETURN

→Master this Stored Procedures it will help you a lot when creating a medium to large scale type of systems. For example your software is already deployed and you need to change some data immediately, stored procedures comes in handy. 

Sample Scenario :

Adhoc-query embedded on your program

SELECT * FROM CustomersWhere Country = ‘France’

VS.

Using stored procedure

CREATE PROCEDURE GetCustomers
AS SELECT * FROM Customers
WHERE Country = ‘France’
RETURN


calling your stored procedure in you program

CommandType.StoredProcedure;
command.CommandText = ” GetCustomers”;


What if I told you to also Display all the Customers where country is  in ‘Canada’?
In the Adhoc query scenario you will need to patch a new update for your software to implement this, while in the other hand you just need to modify the stored procedure that is stored on you server machine where the mssqlserver is installed.

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It is important that you covered all the topics mentioned on the MTA 98-361 Microsoft websites before taking the examination. If you studied very well, then for sure you will pass the exam with flying colors. Good Luck! 💪If I miss something feel free to comment it down below! 👇👇👇

I suggest that you schedule your exam date when you are fully prepared.

Sample scenario

Your exam was scheduled Saturday and you still have 5 days left before the exam, use the remaining time to google the topic that still confuses you. And try to reread/ recap the topics that you’ve already tackled so that your mind will be able to remember them on the day of your examination.


The best example is this PDF I found out: Certiport Sample MTA 98-361 PDF

Resources / References

Here‘s the list of Resources / References that are really useful in preparing for MTA 98-361:

Yet maybe you might find better/ more resources than the said above, don’t limit yourself on what was mentioned just try, explore and learn every resources that you might found. May I also request if you find any additional just mention them in comment section so that we can extend this list and others can also benefit from the same.

It feels great to be Microsoft Technology Associates. If you want to prove something this certification is the best to begin at. One of the best part is that I can show off the badge and Certificates that I got, on my LinkedIn, Resume, CV, etc…

Sample Badge
Sample Certificate

What next after MTA 98-361?

This is an obvious question that comes into mind.
I suggest that you take Exam 70-483 because it’s very flexible,
you can be MCSA: Universal Windows Platform or MCSA: Web Applications or better both of them.

MCSA: Web Applications

MCSA: Universal Windows Platform

→Pass required exams. Be sure to explore the exam prep resources.

Exam 70-483 Programming in C#

Exam 70-357 Developing Mobile Apps

I would recommend you to explore the possible Microsoft certification paths at this link: Browse All Microsoft Certification Paths

Other Tips:

  • Join Study Group                                                      
  • Read Blogs like this one
  • Ask someone you know that already took the exam

I really hope that you’ll find this very informative and enjoying. This may serve as your guide. Please share your certification experiences so that others can benefit too 🙂
Happy Coding and Learning! 🙂

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