I’ve recently completed my certification (ah, thanks, you’re too kind!) and a lot of people have been asking me what’s the deal with all the new .NET 2.0 credentials. I will try to answer those questions in the following blog post.

For those among you who don’t already know Microsoft has reorganized their certification system. In the .NET 1.x world there were two recognizable certifications that could interest professional developers like us: MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) and MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer). The MCAD certification was aimed at regular developers who could choose to specialize in either windows forms or web applications. The MCSD tag was the uber credential for enterprise level developers and required knowledge in both windows forms and web applications.

This has all changed with the reorg. Now, we have a new .NET 2.0 breed of certifications – bigger in numbers and with more stringent requirements. The basic picture, however, is still unchanged:

MCAD becomes MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist)

MCSD becomes MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer)

So far so good. But when you actually start reading the descriptions it becomes a bit more complicated. There are THREE different specifications of the MCTS and MCPD degrees. The MCTS has these:

Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Web Applications (upgrades to MCPD Web)

Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Windows Applications (upgrades to MCPD Windows)

Technology Specialist: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications (this one doesn’t have an MCPD equivalent)

And the MCPD has these:

Professional Developer: Web Developer (upgrades to MCPD/EAD)

Professional Developer: Windows Developer (upgrades to MCPD/EAD)

Professional Developer: Enterprise Applications Developer (this is the new top certification for professional developers)

There are also numerous other MCTS degrees targeted at different technologies. Examples include MCTS Biztalk, MCTS SQL 2005.

Now that we have all the naming schemes in the clear I will focus on the actual content that has changed to adapt to the .NET 2.0 framework requirements. First and most important of all – the number of exams has decreased, but the amount of stuff you need to know in order to earn the top certification is much more now. While the .NET 1.x level certifications where mostly focused on the “meat” of the application, the requirements for .NET 2.0 degrees now require knowledge of security (this is a big one – it is in almost all exams, even MCTS level) configuration and deployment, analyzing and planning applications. The new certifications also require additional knowledge of technologies such as WSE 3.0. Another move on Microsoft’s part is to take all the fundamental knowledge about the .NET framework and put it in one entry level exam - Application Development Foundation which is required for all certifications.

If you are already an MCSD and wish to brush up your resume you don’t have take all five exams. There are two (Exam 70–553 and Exam 70–554) upgrade exams which will upgrade your title to MCPD/EAD. If you happen to be an MCAD there are a bunch of options for upgrade which are listed here.

When you complete all the requirements for your certification you will receive a welcome kit (if you order one) and get one of these nifty looking cards. Good luck!

(ooh, shiny!)

By the way, does anyone know what the third spot on the card is reserved for? Well, that’s all folks. I hope my post cleared things up. Feel free to post a comment.

About the Author

Vladimir Milev

Vladimir Milev is a developer manager.


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