Visual Studio 2010 Exams Are Changing

Visual Studio 2010 Exams Are Changing

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Well, just a little.

After much thought, and then some more, along with discussions with the community, the product groups for Visual Studio and .NET 4, our own internal folks and anyone else who wanted to chime in, we have finally decided on most of the new developer certification plan.

Here are the 99% definite exams;

MCTS Web Developer

MCTS Windows Developer

MCTS Connecting to Data (ADO.NET)

MCTS WCF

MCPD Web Developer

MCPD Windows Developer

Here are the 50% definite exams;

MCTS Workflow

MCPD Enterprise

So, what are the changes I eluded to?

1) The Windows exam will cover both Windows Forms and WPF.  Percentages to be determined by your peers during the design sessions.  This will also help to address the feedback over the Windows vs WPF requirements for MCPD Enterprise on .NET 3.5.  NO, I don’t mean we are changing the 3.5 certs, I mean the new plan will not have seperate Forms/WPF issues.

2) Web to cover some Silverlight.  Why?  Silverlight is akin to nailing Jell-o to a wall.  The dev cycles are shorter than our exam dev cycle.  ouch!

3) Workflow has some great changes and is an awesome technology but, we need to decide based on other factors.

4) MCPD Enterprise in my opinion is still a non-defined audience.  I don’t feel we are positioning this exam correctly and we need more market research into what an “Enterprise Professional Developer” really is.  Thoughts and comments are welcome of course.

There will be Windows Mobile exams created, with one for 6.5 getting underway in June and the next version on the horizon.  Embedded is coming up as are Microsoft Office SharePoint Server dev exams, Expression Blend and perhaps Web.  We are still trying to nail down a Software Tester style cert as well.

All fun here in Redmond for sure.

I could post more, but I don’t want to.  Actually, I can’t because we still need to lock firmly on what we have committed to.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.

 

Gerry

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  • when will these exams be out in europe? should i hold off on 70-536?

  • In my mind the MCPD enterprise certification should focus on making an enterprise platform for a company where you use a great deal of different Microsoft products to solve their business problems. An example of this could be to have Dynamics AX as ERP system, Sharepoint Server as portal on the internet, intranet and extranet level, Dynanmics CRM as sales tool, SQL Server as Business Intelligence layer and in the middle of this a Biztalk Server. As a designer/architect/developer you don't have to understand every product in depth, but you do have to have a great deal of knowledge of the different products to know when you should use one product instead of another.

    The certifications required for this should be:

    - WCF (with a lot of systems there is going to be a lot of integrations, so this is a very essential skill)

    - WWF/Biztalk (as you often have to do workflows/orchstrations that combine the different systems

    - Sharepoint Dev (as sharepoint is a core components of so may products these days)

    - One dynamic exam where you can choose between CRM, AX or NAV (or maybe other Dynamics products)

    - Platform exam the focus on when to use different products and be able to design the platform for the company

    This will make this certification something between the MCPD Web/MCPD Win and the architect certifications you got, where you need A LOT of experience.

    The WCF and the ADO.Net certification should be pre-requisites for the MCPD Web and MCP win as you in most cases where you make a web or win app these days would need those to technologies. This will raise the bar for the MCPD certifications which I think is needed.

    You should also look into making a "Dublin" certification...

  • Whoa, hang on there Raj.

    Let us get these started first.  This is an early look at what the plan is.

    When Visual Studio releases, we can have this conversation.  :-)

    Gerry

  • Hi Torben,

    Great post, thanks very much for the insight and comments.

    A lot of what I was thinking and then some.

    Gerry

  • has any consideration been made in regard to Virtual Earth becoming Bing and the implications this will have on the MCTS cert (70-544) yet in the 2010 release?

  • Since WF and WCF have tight connections (Workflow Services, Accessing Services from Workflows) it might be a good idea to combine the two topics.

  • So, what are the chances we will actually have material to offer through CPLS' for these certifications? Hopefully it won't be as weak as the 2 and 3.5 offerings where there is *zero* material for the PD.

  • Why the hell can't we go back to the MCSD with core exams and electives? Everyone understood that one and it had real value in the marketplace. The current set-up is a complete dogs dinner and no one, outside of MS recognises the resultant alphabet soup on any business card, or Email signature, that is actually wide enough to hold it all.

  • I'm about to take the MCTS WPF Exam and I made a conscious decision not to take the MCTS WinForms Exam.  WinForms is on the way out & WPF on the way in so combining them both into one exam and getting people to learn the old WinForms is in my opinion a step backwards.  Similarly combining Silverlight & ASP.Net.

    I think employers when they start looking for someone with WPF or Silverlight skills would appreciate a separate MCTS for each.

  • Hi Dave,

    There are no discussions at this time for a certification on Bing.

    There also are no discussions around an upgrade for the Virtual Earth exam either.

    Gerry

  • Hi Martin,

    Combining these two exams would not allow adequate coverage of either technology.

    WCF is huge and workflow is getting there as well.

    They will continue to be seperate exams as a result.

    Gerry

  • Hi Steve,

    There will be content created for at least the MCTS exams but as for the MCPD, I can't say for certain.

    If I'm not mistaken, the MCPD content doesn't sell that well anyway.  I don't work on the training side anymore so I am likely out of touch with that.

    Gerry

  • Peter,

    Many reasons why we won't go back to the MCSD.

    1) Employers had no idea what you were certified in, only that you had an MCSD.  The new certs are more focused and provide that information.

    2) When MCSD first launched, nobody knew what the hell it was or what it meant either.  It took time to cement its place in the market.  The MCTS and MCPD are no different.  Once the market takes the time to understand them, they will hold more weight and value.

    3) The elective style certification was the worst mess anyone had to deal with.  Again, with the MCSD, what were you qualified on?  Almost everyone I know chose different electives.  Employers didn't understand what that meant.

    4) The MCTS, MCPD, MCM and MCA show a clear path throuhg a certification landscape that offers breadth and depth.  MCSD didn't show nor offer that.

    Gerry

  • Hi Kiran,

    I hate to disagree but I must.

    Check the job boards.  Windows Forms is not on the way out yet although some would like to believe that.

    Combining them into one exam is a way to help people transition from Windows Forms to WPF in a gradual manner.

    For every one of you that tells me to do away with Windows Forms, there are ten more telling me to not to.

    I go with what my market research tells me and at this time,  WPF is on the move but it's not overtaking yet much as we, Microsoft, and some of you in the industry would have us believe.

    Patience, Windows Forms will be gone soon and WPF will be everywhere.  Just not yet.

    As for a seperate Silverlight exam, the development cycle for that product is moving so fast, that we cannot keep up with exams.  To create a seperate exam for Silverlight would mean that it would have to cross multiple versions.  This makes for a bad certification story from a couple of perspectives.

    1) Those who have the cert will not want to be constantly upgrading it.

    2) If we create a version agnostic version, will it have weight in the industry?  How will employers know which version you can work with?  

    There are a lot of variables and issues with a Silverlight certification just now and we are working with the product group in Microsoft to identify where things are going and the best choices to make concerning this.

    At this time, that means no seperate certification exam for fiscal year 2010.

    Gerry

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