Preparing for the Microsoft Azure AZ-202 exam (70-532 Developer Migration)

So I’ve been preparing for the new AZ-202 exam, and the first place you should always start is looking at the exam objectives. I generally parse them, see what i might need to brush up on (if i’m taking an exam its usually because i think i already know the subject quite well).

Exam Objective Scrape

Given half a chance, i always go to automate everything and this was no exception when i noticed we’d restyled the Exam pages… the Powershell comes out.

It scrapes the contents from the exam page and creates a CSV file with links to find documentation on the exam topics.

I then apply the standard Microsoft levels to say which subject areas i’m confident in. I apply some conditional formatting to make it look nice, and i’ve got my revision prep list ready to go.

So what was the AZ-202 like?

I took the AZ-202 in Beta in order to provide feedback to the exam team for when the exam goes live. The format of the exam is much the same as all the other Microsoft exams I’ve taken, a mix of case-study focused questions, a set of questions you can’t hit previous on, and a bulk of general questions with different answer formats.

The quality of the exam questions, even in Beta was really high. I only commented on about 10% of the questions, the rest were sufficiently clear in their phrasing and testing strategy.

The AZ-202 is the migration exam for the 70-532 exam, and i can tell you – it felt much harder. Microsoft exams getting harder can only be a good thing, it means that holding the associated certification is seen to be of higher value. What really struck me was the depth some of the questions went to, i can’t speak about specifics for obvious reasons… but the exam felt it was really trying to test for the practical knowledge of “has this person actually done this” rather than “has this person read about this and mostly understands it”.

My revision strategy is minimal to say the least. I broadly think that exams should test what you already know, and you shouldn’t dedicate a bunch of time to prepare for an exam in a subject you’re not confident in. True to my self assessment (the 100-400 levels above), the areas i was weakest in were the IOT questions. This is the other good thing about exam certification, there will ultimately be a couple of areas you’ll need to brush up in to provide a completeness of knowledge.

Producing animated gifs on Windows 10

I’ve had a real struggle trying to find capable apps for Windows 10 that do a decent job taking screengrabs and producing an animated gif. Several comparison guides have been read, followed and led to quite a poor experience.

I’m going to be pretty prescriptive in my recommendations; 2 tools. One for capturing a persistent screen region to file with minimum fuss, and the other for producing a nice animated gif with variable delays and slick editing experience.

Screen capture

It’s really easy in Windows 10 to capture the whole screen to file, Windows+PrintScreen. However when you’re trying to make a specific resolution gif, or even just a window you need to find a 3rd party tool. Lightshot is that tool, it’s free, simple to use and has just the features needed without bloatware or advertising.

You can see some of the Lightshot tools in the image above, but by far the most important is once the screen region is set that it persists for future screengrabs and saves straight to file.

Animated Gif Production

Now that you’ve got a nice set of image files in a directory, the task to create the Gif begins.
ScreenToGif is an Open Source project that does an awesome job. For my purposes i’m going to focus on the Editor capabilities, although it does have a capture mode but that doesn’t align with what I need from it.

The editor gives the ability to tweak the order of the images, the delays and transitions between the images and works with high-res images nicely. The project output also saves as a STG file which means you can return to it at any time.
The last feature I find really handy is the ability to draw on the image inside ScreenToGif, it means I can quickly annotate the screengrab and save it.

To see an example of what the final version looks like, check this out.