Microsoft Certifications: How do I upgrade my MCAD or MCSD?

Microsoft Certifications: How do I upgrade my MCAD or MCSD?

  • Comments 58

Sorry for the long time between posts but work just keeps getting in the way.  Along with moonlighting and University.  Oh well, moonlighting is pretty much over and my final has been written.  Woohoo, more free time.  Yeah right!

At any rate, to the question at hand.

When we made the switch over to the new generation of certifications, that left the MCAD and MCSD monikers sitting as older designations, or what we refer to as "Classic certifications".  These certifications also proved proficiency in earlier versions of developer technologies such as Visual C++ 6, VB 6 and .NET 1.0/1.1.

The new generation of certifications concentrate more on specific technologies and are getting more and more focused.  Where MCAD and MCSD required multiple exams to achieve the credential, the new generation require fewer exams.  They also allow hiring managers to more closely gauge your fit for their needs.

Because there is such a change in technologies, coupled with the new generation of certifications, we have provide only one upgrade path.  That is from MCAD or MCSD to MCTS or MCPD in .NET 2.0.  There will be NO direct upgrade path from MCAD or MCSD to .NET 3.5.

Initially, we had a path from MCAD to MCPD Web or MCPD Windows, but we found that the fail rate was rather high.  A part of that reason revolves around what I think, in that the MCAD is not qualified to be an MCPD yet.  We are restructuring the exam story and recommending a different upgrade path depending on whether you are an MCAD or and MCPD.  Although not mandatory, here is my recommendation for the most success.

If you are an MCAD already;

You can take the upgrade path to MCTS Web or Windows 2.0.  These exams will be released shortly and will be numbered 70-558 for upgrading MCAD skills to MCTS: .NET 2.0 Web Developer and 70-559 upgrading MCAD skills to MCTS: .NET 2.0 Windows applications.

It is recommended that you do not take the current exams 70-551 and 70-552 to upgrade from MCAD to MCPD based on the current failure rates.  Once again, we are not enforcing this, but recommending it. 

If you are not ready for MCPD yet, then taking the upgrade path to MCTS 2.0 is a good choice if want to remain current on 2.0.  Again, there is no direct upgrade path to 3.5 and the MCTS exams will require passing 70-536 for both 2.0 and 3.5, as well as the requisite MCTS exam.

If you are an MCSD already;

It is my intention to leave 70-551 and 70-552 in market for upgrading MCSD to MCPD.  The reason I want to to do this is simple.  I mentioned earlier that there is no direct upgrade path to 3.5 for MCAD or MCSD, but this path allows you an indirect upgrade.

So, I am sure this is likely still somewhat confusing and if so I apologize but to summarize:

Upgrading your MCSD to MCPD 2.0 is the quickest way to gain the MCPD credential.  It also allows you to take one upgrade exam, when available, to the MCPD 3.5.  Upgrading your MCAD to MCPD 2.0 will also afford you the same but again, I point out that is not recommended.


On a closing note, there will be an announcement next month surrounding the retirement of exams and certifications in the MCAD/MCSD space so if you don't currently have either of these, now is not a good time to start unless you don't plan on using .NET 2.0 or later.



Leave a Comment
  • Please add 6 and 6 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • Sorry for the long time between posts but work just keeps getting in the way.  Along with moonlighting

  • Did you see this post at

  • Hi Gerry,

    So will there be an upgrade route from MCPD 2.0 to 3.5? If so, how many exams do you expect it to be?



  • Hi Rob.

    You will have to wait for that post in this series.  :-)


  • Hello Gerry,

    Thanks for the nice post explaining upgrading from MCAD/MCSD.

    In my situation (MCAD), I am thinking about taking the new 70-558 and to get the "MCTS: .NET 2.0 Web Developer". However, I didn't understand how it will work if I want to get additional MCTS certifications.

    If I got the "MCTS: .NET 2.0 Web Developer" (MCAD + 70-558), and my next step is to get "MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Distributed Applications", then do I sill need to pass on both 70-536 and 70-529, or only pass on 70-529? If I am still required to take 70-536, then I don't see any advantage in taking the upgrade exam 70-558 and I rather start from the scratch.

    Thank you,


  • Hi Luis.

    The upgrade exams are supposed to give you credit for 70-536, which means that you would only need to take 70-529.


  • Thanks for the quick response, Gerry.

    I am looking forward for the new upgrade exams.



  • Hello Gerry,

    I have MCAD and I want to upgarde it to MCTS and MCPD . what should i do?



  • Hi Ratnesh.

    The post that you responded to answers your question in great detail.


  • Do you know when will this 70-558 exams be released as I enquired at Thompson (Prometric) and they had no idea whatsoever. I was planning to give the 70-551 but after reading your article I think its sensible to wait and give the upgrade from MCAD to MCTS by giving 70-558. Please let me know if you any timescales.

  • Hi,

    In my case (MCAD) i want to upgrade to next high level certification (i dont know whether MCPD OR MCTS) which one is good keeping 3.5 in mind?

    Also, If I want to upgrade to MCPD by taking 70-547 exam how it will help if I want to upgrade it to 3.5?

    (My certification planner shows that by taking 70-547 i can become MCPD)

    Thanks in Advance


  • Hi Shaleen.

    I was hoping to have it released already but a few issues arose around the exams in the meantime that needed to be clarified first.  It should be released in April.


  • Hi Satish,

    As an MCAD, I recommend that you upgrade to the MCTS first.  We have had numberous failures on the MCAD to MCPD upgrade exams due to the difficulty.

    If you feel you are qualified by looking at the prep guide,,  then I say by all means take the upgrade to MCPD Web Developer 2.0.

    How will this help you for 3.5?  It means one upgrade exam to MCPD ASP.NET Developer 3.5 instead of 3 exams to get there from scratch.

    So basically, if you are an MCAD right now and don't take 70-551 which is the upgrade to MCPD Web Developer, you will need to take 70-536, 70-528, and then 70-547.

    NOTE: 70-551 contains components from all three of these exams so you need to know the material for those.

    If you pass 70-551, then you path from MCAD to MCPD 3.5 is two exams.  The long way is 4 exams minimum, (70-536, 70-528, 70-547, MCDP 3.5 updgrade exam), or 5 exams maximum ( 70-536, 70-528, 70-547, 70-562, MCPD Web 3.5).

    Hopefully that doesn't completely confuse you.


  • Thanks Gerry,

    That helped me a lot. I think 70-551 is right for me.

    I was trying to prepare for 70-300 which i failed before (upgrade to mcsd) and then take up MCTS. ( :) total mess).

    I think this certificate planner (MCP Site) is totally confusing.



  • Right now i have finished MCAD. I want to do upgrade. what should i do? Whether MCPD (70-551 Upgrade) is ok ? or shall i do MCTS?.

Page 1 of 4 (58 items) 1234