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Microsoft Certified Training - How to get certified RRS feed

  • Question

  • I've been writing applications in VB for years, started with good old VB 3 on windows 3.1. I've read quite a few books along the way and always seem to manage. If I come across something I don't know about I read up on it. Over the years i've just accumulated this knowledge.

     

    What I would like to do now is get myself Microsoft certified. I feel quite at home now with NET 2.0 winforms, I actually work as a full time .Net developer. What would be the best way forward for me?

     

    The MCSD certification appeals to me the most, I think it most describes what I do. Is it possible for me to take the exams? I know I would have to make sure I cover everything beforehand and revise.  I believe they are quite expensive, but how much?

     

    I would be very grateful if anyone can share any info or pointers that might help me.

     

    Many Thanks

     

    Monday, April 14, 2008 10:00 PM

Answers

  •  

    First of all, I think MCSD has been retired now, I did it in the past for VB.

     

    More recently, I did the MCTS certifications, which are for developer certifications, and more recently of all, I did the MCPD.  TS is technical specialist, and PD is professional developer.

     

    I'm in Australia, and they're reasonably priced, but here you also get tax credits for them, whereas in England I don't think you do.  I used to live there, nearish to Manchester.  From what I remember of taking them in England, the exam isn't that expensive, and the books aren't particularly either.

     

    I made do with the MS press training books, but to get the really good marks you need to read the suggested reading and things to look at type of tasks in the chapter summaries, and do the research with MSDN.

     

    You mentioned in the subject Microsoft Certified Training, you could do that, but that would cost, and I'm sure if you've been using the .NET environment for any amount of time, you'll be fine.  And the MCT certification is available once you have MCTS, MCPD and so on.

     

    Take a look at:

     

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-au/tce/default.aspx

     

    Hope this helps,

     

    Martin Platt.

     

     

    Monday, April 14, 2008 10:35 PM
  • Certification vs Not bothering...

    IMO your experience will be close to useless, in fact it will probably work against you. You're better off assuming that you know nothing about the subject and start from scratch cause the exams always contain questions about areas that you've never used and would never want to. Plus you get questions that are just plain wrong and the more knowledge you have the more confused you get, this is especially tricky with the speed of change of technology vs the slow speed of change in the exams. E.g. back in the days of the dinosaur I was asked a question about OSs where the "correct" answer was to avoid Win95 because it didn't have DCOM (or something). However, about two months earlier a service pack was released with DCOM in it. If you do start from scratch then you may actually learn something and that is good, it does force you to investigate all the areas however the value of the exam is, for me, useless. The problem is that there are a number of schemes/training that will get you through an exam without injecting you with relevant experience. This means the market is flooded with accredited developers who are *!!!*$. The good news for you is that you do have the experience, I guess what I'm saying is that do the exams if you're interested in learning or you believe it will help your career but personally I think you'd be better off mastering  the technologies that you're interested in rather than constraining yourself to an exam syllabus. Having said that whenever I've been given a free exam I've taken it!

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:36 AM
  • Hi guys,

     

       while Martin's answer is concrete in what Dan's original question was, surely what pkr2000 says about the exam is something to seriously take into account

     

       It's a sad truth that examinations and courses take some time to be renewed while in the meanwhile technology could evolve (by roadmap-planned releases or urgent patches) making the written letter a bit worthless

     

       I dare to say that, while that happens, in major terms still exams follow the pace of platforms (without invalidating pkr warning). Probably the question about "what exam to take" could also consider beside "certification? what for?"

     

       And "what for" matters. I can tell by personal experience. As pkr2000 says, certification may or may not, in certain contexts, that you are proficient with the latest trends. It just say that you are good enough to pass the exam

     

       However for certain scenarios, being able to demonstrate that you were good enough to pass the exam could be worth (curriculum, aspiring a promotion in your current job, etc). It's a merit, anyway, and not just for people. Companies pursuit the certification in norms like ISO, CMM, CMMi, etc, even knowing that some of them introduce certain amount of bureaucracy. Particularly CMM is able to state that the procedure used to deliver the software was good, but make no assumptions on the quality of the software itself

     

       Despite that, some companies are able to get the certification as some other companies establish that they won't hire any company not certified in some given norms

     

     

     

       Don't want to do value judgement about that, just tell what my personal experience let me know  

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:01 PM

All replies

  •  

    First of all, I think MCSD has been retired now, I did it in the past for VB.

     

    More recently, I did the MCTS certifications, which are for developer certifications, and more recently of all, I did the MCPD.  TS is technical specialist, and PD is professional developer.

     

    I'm in Australia, and they're reasonably priced, but here you also get tax credits for them, whereas in England I don't think you do.  I used to live there, nearish to Manchester.  From what I remember of taking them in England, the exam isn't that expensive, and the books aren't particularly either.

     

    I made do with the MS press training books, but to get the really good marks you need to read the suggested reading and things to look at type of tasks in the chapter summaries, and do the research with MSDN.

     

    You mentioned in the subject Microsoft Certified Training, you could do that, but that would cost, and I'm sure if you've been using the .NET environment for any amount of time, you'll be fine.  And the MCT certification is available once you have MCTS, MCPD and so on.

     

    Take a look at:

     

    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-au/tce/default.aspx

     

    Hope this helps,

     

    Martin Platt.

     

     

    Monday, April 14, 2008 10:35 PM
  • Certification vs Not bothering...

    IMO your experience will be close to useless, in fact it will probably work against you. You're better off assuming that you know nothing about the subject and start from scratch cause the exams always contain questions about areas that you've never used and would never want to. Plus you get questions that are just plain wrong and the more knowledge you have the more confused you get, this is especially tricky with the speed of change of technology vs the slow speed of change in the exams. E.g. back in the days of the dinosaur I was asked a question about OSs where the "correct" answer was to avoid Win95 because it didn't have DCOM (or something). However, about two months earlier a service pack was released with DCOM in it. If you do start from scratch then you may actually learn something and that is good, it does force you to investigate all the areas however the value of the exam is, for me, useless. The problem is that there are a number of schemes/training that will get you through an exam without injecting you with relevant experience. This means the market is flooded with accredited developers who are *!!!*$. The good news for you is that you do have the experience, I guess what I'm saying is that do the exams if you're interested in learning or you believe it will help your career but personally I think you'd be better off mastering  the technologies that you're interested in rather than constraining yourself to an exam syllabus. Having said that whenever I've been given a free exam I've taken it!

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:36 AM


  • I agree in a way with what you're saying pkr...

    There's the way that you'd do it normally, then there's the way you need to learn to do something for the certifications.

    That said, the developer exams aren't really like that, there's lots about how to use the .NET framework, and thus has little to do with ways to do things, and more about what to use to achieve something.

    The PD ones are more as you say, but a lot less than they were with MCSD.

    I absolutely agree that there are developments that happen after the exams are written that in some ways invalidate the question, although I don't recall seeing one this time around.  When I did that last lot of certs 7 years ago, that was definitely the case, I think that things have improved since then though.

    I like to learn, then have an exam at the end to have a goal to aim for.  I think that there is value in learning technology, reading and taking exams too, a balanced amount of knowledge.  All of this is meaningless without experience, which is the important thing, and the two things together are quite a powerful thing to possess.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do,

    Martin.
    Tuesday, April 15, 2008 6:44 AM
  • Hi guys,

     

       while Martin's answer is concrete in what Dan's original question was, surely what pkr2000 says about the exam is something to seriously take into account

     

       It's a sad truth that examinations and courses take some time to be renewed while in the meanwhile technology could evolve (by roadmap-planned releases or urgent patches) making the written letter a bit worthless

     

       I dare to say that, while that happens, in major terms still exams follow the pace of platforms (without invalidating pkr warning). Probably the question about "what exam to take" could also consider beside "certification? what for?"

     

       And "what for" matters. I can tell by personal experience. As pkr2000 says, certification may or may not, in certain contexts, that you are proficient with the latest trends. It just say that you are good enough to pass the exam

     

       However for certain scenarios, being able to demonstrate that you were good enough to pass the exam could be worth (curriculum, aspiring a promotion in your current job, etc). It's a merit, anyway, and not just for people. Companies pursuit the certification in norms like ISO, CMM, CMMi, etc, even knowing that some of them introduce certain amount of bureaucracy. Particularly CMM is able to state that the procedure used to deliver the software was good, but make no assumptions on the quality of the software itself

     

       Despite that, some companies are able to get the certification as some other companies establish that they won't hire any company not certified in some given norms

     

     

     

       Don't want to do value judgement about that, just tell what my personal experience let me know  

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:01 PM


  • Diego,

    I absolutely agree with the viewpoint of certifications only going part of the way toward proving one's knowledge.  Experience is really the key, but let's face it, that can be fabricated and twisted to get a job.  By the time you figure out that someone just did a cert and isn't as experienced as they were tell you, you've possibly invested some timeand money into them.  I think that the filter there should be down to good interviewing techniques to test that knowledge.

    Absolutely agree that technology moved quicker than exam content, if exams did move with technology, then no two exams would potentially be the same, so the exam would not offer a baseline standard to measure against.  I believe that the idea now is that you sit certifications, then take refreshes, incremental exams to build on that base knowledge and keep the knowledge as current.  I don't see a problem with sitting an exam, then as we all have to do in this industry, we also study the latest trends, technologies, techniques, and tools, and adjust our thinking where appropriate.

    I have to say that there is a lot in there that I did not use for example having done an MCSD 6 years previously.  Then the experience of taking the MCTS exams was that the content was very similar, just that the names had changed into something a little more organised, with the addition of a small amount of new stuff.  What I'm saying is even though new technologies come out, they're generally a variation on a theme that has been around for a while.  If the exams test that base theme, then the knowledge is useful.  It is also important to point out that I work with these technologies all the time, so there would be something wrong if I found them to be difficult.

    I have found that I have been shown interest because of the certifications a couple of times, strangely more by companies wanting Partnership status. 

    I find it useful to have gone through that process of learning, to come out the other end with a piece of paper that says that I did achieve a certain level, as I believe that can only extend my knowledge and skills.  I think for those that are experienced, the certifications will teach a lot less than someone new to the industry.

    There seems to be a huge gap between where the developer finishes his or her certifications, and where the architect can start.  The MCPD exam content is based around a senior developer, so a bit of requirements gathering, modelling and so on, but that knowledge falls way short of commercial strength solution architecture.

    I don't disagree with anything you're saying there at all.  I have done it all for personal reasons, to make sure that I have a certain level of understanding, but that knowledge isn't based solely on certifications, that's only a small part of the picture.

    Cheers,

    Martin Platt.
    Wednesday, May 14, 2008 10:01 PM