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When looking through job postings I noticed some employers listing MCSD or MCAD certifications. Are these certifications correct ones for web developers? Which track should one choose?. I also noticed looking at MCSD that most certifications are "retired". So how are suppose to take the exam it it's no longer offered?? thanks

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The "retired" certifications tend to be based around older versions of the Microsoft stack. e.g. 70-526 and 70-536 were the exams for Windows desktop application developer in .NET 2.0. In most cases there will be a newer version of the certification (a quick search suggests 70-511 and 70-518 would be the equivalents for my example) – Steve Mallam Aug 8 '11 at 7:08
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The new certification to pursue is MCPD.

If you had an MCAD or an MCSD you could upgrade to an MCPD (they give information on "upgrade paths"). If you don't have any, you can choose from three different paths and the name of the certification depends on the framework version. As of version 4.0 the following paths are available:

  • Windows Developer
  • Web Developer
  • Azure Developer

I think that for you the second option applies. To get the Web Developer MCPD You need to pass four exams (70-513, 70-515, 70-516, 70-519) of which two (70-513 and 70-516) are common to all three paths. Since they are common, once you have your Web Developer MCPD you only need to pass exam 70-583 to get the Azure Developer MCPD (which is "web" related, that's why I'm bringing it up here).

I don't know about your programming level, but if you are a beginner I think you should start with the 70-516 which is related to accessing data, that is using ADO.NET, Linq, Entity Framework, etc. That way even if you develop interest in another (web/windows/windows phone, yes, there is one for WP7 too) path, you already have the basics. Also, learning about Linq and Entity Framework is very interesting (okay, that is my opinion :-)

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that pretty much sums it up. thanks – Shane Km Aug 8 '11 at 7:10

I wouldn't want to work for an employer that demanded an MCAD or MCSD. I know a lot of good programmers who have neither, and a few shite programmers that gotten Excellence in the certifications. It seems like a load of crock to me.

You're better of knowing how to design or program than memorising a bunch of facts, which actually make you a good encyclopaedia, not a good programmer/designer.

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I agree with the fact that having an MC** certification does not mean much in itself. A vast majority of people use cheat sheets in order to pass the exams with near 100% completion and without studying anything. That's your "shit" programmers here. The exam is however very useful not in its "goal" (the certification, the MC** title) but in all the learning process if you do it the right way, that is, with books, and a bit of practicing. Also, when you do it like that, and even if the exam is not well regarded in some circles, it is rewarding. – Jalayn Aug 8 '11 at 7:36
Additionally to @Jalayn's comment, some companies are required by Microsoft to employ a certain number of MC** certified people to maintain a partner/license standing. Saying you won't work for one of the companies that require this means that you may be missing out on some nice perks that go along with the company. Like an employer paid for MSDN license. Always remember that the reason they are asking may not be because they think those are the only competent devs, it may be required. – Alexander Kahoun Aug 8 '11 at 16:01

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