A while back I received a voucher code that I could use to try the new – and then still beta – exam 70-777: Implementing Azure Cosmos DB Solutions. Since I do use Cosmos DB quite often (you can read my other Cosmos DB posts here, or check out the LinqPad Cosmos DB driver here), I thought I'd give it a try. This week I got confirmation that I had passed the exam, so I thought I'd share my experience.
The exam format itself is pretty straightforward, if you've ever taken any MS Person Vue exams. The only difference is basically that you don't get the results at the end automatically; you have to wait for the exam to go live and then your test is re-scored and then you get the results.
But the exam itself is the same — except the fact that there really are some wrong questions. And by "wrong", I mean unanswerable. Of course this is expected during the beta phase (I guess that's why there is a beta phase). For me, there were two questions that were just flat-out wrong: one of them had an Azure Function code sample with blanks that needed to be filled, but the method representing the function had no name (a clear syntax error). The other one was a question about the .NET SDK where I had to fill in the right side of an assignment operation with the correct value from a drop-down — only the left side and the options on the right side had completely different types. But that's why the beta phase is important: questions like this can be corrected or weeded out. And during a beta exam it is especially important to comment on the questions, so that they can be reviewed later.
Given this you might think that beta exams are hard: you have to not only figure out the answer, but also the question :) But I don't think that's true. These mistakes are minor "in the grand scheme of things", and if you really do know your stuff, you can easily figure them out. But beta exams are hard. And not because the questions are not yet ready, but because the training material is not yet ready. When I did the exam, all I had was the exam site that lists the competencies that are measured. If you cross reference it with the Cosmos DB documentation, you can see that just based on that, you have to know everything. You have no online or in-class trainings, no self-paced study books, nothing. Just your wit and the official documentation. Given this I have to admit, I do feel pretty good about myself :) and I'm looking for the next beta exam that I can try.