Sign up ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free.

So here's my situation - Currently in college and confident, that i want to pursue a career in Microsoft technologies (.NET development more specific).

I haven't got any real world experience (as in no experience in paid nor open source projects, just personal applications and school projects) and it's hard to get into any development position, as most if not all ask for years of professional experience.

I'm pretty sure going for a certification is the right thing to do, to "seperate myself from rest of the pack", which should help me get into open source projects and paid jobs alike.

The question is, which certifications should i choose? I thought about about going for

MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Windows Applications ( 70-511 )

and then

MCTS: .NET Framework 4, Web Applications ( 70-515 )

Is that even the correct way to do what i'm trying to do ? Should i disband anything related to desktop applications since everything is moving towards web based ? Which way to go after the given certs ?

Any input appreciated!


share|improve this question

migrated from May 9 '11 at 1:18

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

[This really belongs on programmers] It really depends on what you want to do. Not everything is going web based -- there is still a huge demand for desktop programmers. If you are new to the language you should learn Object Oriented principles as they apply to many languages. If you choose to learn C#, I'd go with WPF over winforms since it is where most dev is going -- and WPF apps are more easily ported to the web. – debracey May 8 '11 at 23:01
Hey! Sorry about the mispost, didn't know there was a seperate site for that. Regarding OO principles, i got the basics, it's more about learning the correct frameworks and tools from now on. – LeeroyAnderson May 9 '11 at 0:17
My advice would be to forget the certifications and pursue internships or work practicums instead. Your department should be able to help you find something. Failing that, the faculty in your department may have openings for undergraduate research assistants. Either of these would give you real experience writing code rather than just providing further evidence that you can cram for an exam. – Charles E. Grant May 9 '11 at 1:46
For some reason IE 9 didn't save my session like Firefox used to, i'm so sorry i can't pick the best answer as the trend suggests (all answers were great). Looking for internships does make more sense than spending time on a certificate (not that i'm ruling that out tough, just as others have suggested, to go for it later). Lockable. – user24840 May 9 '11 at 11:21
@JohnNear you can recover your Stack Overflow account by going to the Stack Overflow Account Recovery page. Once you do that, you can then associate your Stack Overflow and Programmers.SE accounts. Then, log out and log back in, and you'll regain ownership of this question. – user8 May 10 '11 at 1:39

3 Answers 3

I'd say you should get some practical experience under your belt first, then start persuing certification if you still feel it will be beneficial to you. The Microsoft site for the 70-515 exam suggests "Candidates should have a minimum of two to three years of experience developing Web-based applications by using Visual Studio and Microsoft ASP.NET".

Additionally, from an employer's point of view, you could have a thousand certifications, but without any experience to back it up, they really don't mean all that much.

Many consulting companies and large financial institutions run summer internship and graduate hiring programmes, which expect you to have little/no experience, and provide you a very structured introduction to a professional work environment. Definitely try for one of these if they are available to you!!!

I've been working as a developer at a bank for 2-and-a-bit years, mainly on web-based applications using C#. I'm now at a stage where I feel certification would be beneficial to me and help "formalise" my experience as a developer. Until you get to this stage, I'd say focus on getting some practical experience wherever you can - try all avenues, including staff at your university, students you may have known from years above you now working in industry etc.

Once you get into the industry, you'll also find many companies provide support to help you get certified, so you'll skip having to pay the exam fees and possibly get some study leave as well - bonus!

share|improve this answer

Probably the best way to go would be to get some business experience before settling on a certification path. That will give you the chance to try different things, and you can decide which you like best, as far as desktop vs. web.

I know there are cases where you are interested in a certification, but your job gives you no opportunites for practical work experience in that area. In those cases, you will have to just work on studying in your spare time.

The Work Experience Recomendations from Microsoft are still your best bet for passing, but if you work hard in your spare time, you give yourself a good chance to pass.

It's worth noting that certification often does not just benefit the recipient. If your future company is a Microsoft partner, then they may receive partner points for any employees who get certified.

share|improve this answer

I was in your situation about 8-9 years ago. I didn't have any real world experience but I was very interested in MS technologies. I somehow success in one of university course (mostly about Win32 API) and I was offered some cooperation with MS - now the program is known as Microsoft Student Partner.

That was very interesting shift to my future career. MS wanted to get .NET framework to universities and student partners were their evangelists = they had to know something about .NET. It wasn't paid but we were supported by MS - we got books, certification vouchers, examples etc. I did 3 or 4 MS exams within 2 years before I left university. After first exam I got summer internship (actually certificate received from the exam help me a lot) and I got experience in a bank.

It was time of .NET 1.1 and certification were little bit different. For example web application development has changed a lot since that time. You have to know much more technologies and practices to prepare for the exam. Also I think that a lot of content in current certification tracks is deprecated. I just preparing myself for some data access certification and content is still a lot about shitty data sets. Simply it will not be easy for you to pass the certification - you will have to learn a lot. Be aware that self-packed training kits usually don't explain everything needed for certification. I always got some questions from the areas which weren't covered at all.

Certification will not prove your experience - it will not prove your experience five years later as well. It will just prove that you want to improve your skills and it should show that you have knowledge in the area = you know the API. Once you go to job interview you must prove it.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.