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Which Developer Certification is right for me? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm leaving the trades industry after 12 years away from programming and I'm trying to decide which dev path I should take.

    My previous programming job that ended 12 years ago was on a network operations security team providing support for a large global financial institution. I was the sole programmer in my group. I wrote adhoc applications in C, C++, VB and VBA to gather network ID information from the NT ISAM DB, NDS (Novell directory services) and other platforms. Some of these were just things I did with batch files too. With this information I provided information to accounting for billing purposes to the client. I also wrote programs to do mass ID additions, deletions, mass password changes for servers in field offices.. I pretty much just did what people needed to get done adhoc. Mostly just programming for the purposes of data mining and changes to ID's - like programming to get information on all the test ID's network admins created so we didn't bill the client for those or bill them for inactive id's. There were a about 50,000 across about 10 platforms/services...  I also wrote other network data gathering applications that would get specific information from ISAM, NDS and old bindery servers and create an Access DB with the proper fields and dump the data I gathered into the DB or update it as requested by other teams we worked with or the client network team.

    I'm by no means a master of any of the languages I programed in but I was pretty good at scripting languages like VB and VBA and just figuring out what I needed to do. In c or c++. I also did some java for NDS but very little of it.

    I don't have a 4 year degree and all I know so far has been self learned. I was a film major when I got a temp gig adding new users to the network for a major roll out and I wrote a program to do mass adds (because it seemed dumb to do them one at a time) and with that got into a better full time position and started making the $$ and realized that when I got out college I'd have a hard time because there aren't really any jobs in the paper for a film historian. Like a fool I dropped out of college.

    Anyway, with that background info in mind I'm looking to get out of the trades because as much as I like doing architectural metal work, managing crews and coming up with cool metal designs there just isn't much of it around in this booming economy and with all the new gadgets and increased dependency on technology I need to make a change.

    I'm trying to decide which way to go for certification. I'd like to be able to stick with some of what I already know. I do know a bit about .net apps but a can't say I have a great grasp on the architecture. A little studying should clear that up. I also want to be able to do other things with the new technologies in cellphones and such and hopefully not get stuck riding a dinosaur around at some point. Which is basically what happened to my last programming job when people soft and some other thing I can't remember came along.

    This is a sample of something I made with asp.net and sql 2005. It's an outdoor silent/adventure sports widget that is not yet completed. There are search results that will show in Cycling-ALL, Climbing-All or adventure racing for the state of Minnesota (drop-down boxes). That's pretty much the whole of my .net experience.

    So finally to the questions.

    I looked at the certifications and noticed a few things. There is a test for VS 2010 but no study materials yet. I don't want to take a cert. test os spend a minute of time studying for something that's going away. I guess VS 2008 will probably be around for a bit longer though due to the costs of upgrades so some thoughts on that would be nice.

    1. Is the MCSD a retired certification? I looked at it and it appears the tests have all expired.

    2. Is the MCAD a retired certification? I looked at it and it appears the tests have all expired.

    3. For the MTCS there are two tracts it seems. Which one is going to carry into the future? Granted if I did get one I'd likely get MCPD and have all of them but where is a good start given my current skill set and the ability to actually find work in it?

    Anyway and advice you have on all this id appreciated. Sorry for the long story. I just wanted to provide a bit of a background.

     

    Thanks,

    Shawn

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 5:21 PM

Answers

  • Let me thank first for actually supplying a lot of information...

    Ok I am going to attempt to answer your questions.

    To questions 1 and 2, yes they are both retired at this stage and have been superceded by the MCTS and MCPD certifications.

    Now for question 3.

    There are 2 main cert types in the .NET world right now. There is the MCTS and also the MCPD which you are aware of.

    The MCTS is the how type cert, the cert that deals with technical questions such as how would you bind a datagrid, how would you access data using SQL Server etc.

    The MCPD on the other hand is the why type of cert. It deals with design decisions, such as why would you use a datagrid over a repeater and why does this operation fail when in this network configuration.

    And within .NET there are currently 2 versions of the framework you can certiify against .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.5 and each of these frameworks has a slightly different (but at the same time familiar) way of certification. I will come to the .NET 4 certs in a moment

    Within .NET 2.0 there are 3 technology silos, which are Windows Forms, Web Applications and Enterprise/Distibruted applications. Each of these technology paths has an applicable MCTS and MCPD and in the case the Enterprise developer it is a combination of all 3 available MCTS certs and 1 MCPD cert. So a total of 3 different MCTS and 3 MCPD

    Now on .NET 3.5 its a bit more complex. There are still the 3 main technology silos but there are some additional technologies that you can certify in. In total there are 6 MCTS and 3 MCPDs

    Coming onto .NET 4 these exams will be released in June or July and then you should see training materials appearing around 3 to 6 months after that. We will leave that for the moment again and come back to it :)

    Right! With me so far :)

    On both .NET 2.0 and 3.5 certifying paths there is 1 single common exam which is exam 70-536 or .NET Application Development Fundamentals. To get any of the MCTS on either .NET 2.0 or 3.5 you need to pass this exam only ONCE . So once you have it passed it can be used for all of the relevant MCTS. I should add that MS certs are given based on the combination of component exams rather than the order.

    Now where should you start.

    Well I would suggest looking at the MSDN RampUp series which is a free online jump start training for people like yourself who want to get into the whole .NET development process. The great thing about this program is that it is a structured series of training programs with some cool additions such as reductions on the training materials and offers to reduce the cost of your first exam (it used to be like that with the offers tho this may have changed)

    By starting that you should look towards taking exam 70-536 and then deciding on what ASP.NET track you would like. I would suggest ASP.NET 3.5 as its the one that will probably give you the most benefit. On the asp.net site there is a bunch of training materials that you can use. The relevant MCTS exam is 70-562.

    Now the reason I am suggesting .NET 3.5 as your starting point is that there is a wealth of free training out that you can use to help you to understand and progress your experience.

    If you look in my signature there are quite a few links to my blog with information about the exams and links to MSDN articles etc. Once you feel comfortable in .NET you should start looking at and eventually you will find most of the information on your own.

    Please come back to me if you have any other questions

     


    Blog: http://www.certsandprogs.com

    70-515 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-536 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-505 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-562 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-433 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Shawn,

     

    First i thank you for Niall for his detail information. I would also suggest you to have look on below sites to know the latest MSFT certifications which is suitable for you.


    Sachin Shetty| MCP|MCTS|MCITP| Please remember to mark the replies as answers and Vote as helpful if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.Thank you in advance.
    Friday, April 23, 2010 5:35 AM

All replies

  • Opps! This is the link I was going to paste in that last post for a sample. This isn't spam. The thing isn't even done yet. I'm just trying to give a bit of a background. If you think it's spam delete this post but not the one above. I'm really looking for some advice.

    http://www.generationoutdoors.com/widget.aspx

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 5:25 PM
  • Let me thank first for actually supplying a lot of information...

    Ok I am going to attempt to answer your questions.

    To questions 1 and 2, yes they are both retired at this stage and have been superceded by the MCTS and MCPD certifications.

    Now for question 3.

    There are 2 main cert types in the .NET world right now. There is the MCTS and also the MCPD which you are aware of.

    The MCTS is the how type cert, the cert that deals with technical questions such as how would you bind a datagrid, how would you access data using SQL Server etc.

    The MCPD on the other hand is the why type of cert. It deals with design decisions, such as why would you use a datagrid over a repeater and why does this operation fail when in this network configuration.

    And within .NET there are currently 2 versions of the framework you can certiify against .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.5 and each of these frameworks has a slightly different (but at the same time familiar) way of certification. I will come to the .NET 4 certs in a moment

    Within .NET 2.0 there are 3 technology silos, which are Windows Forms, Web Applications and Enterprise/Distibruted applications. Each of these technology paths has an applicable MCTS and MCPD and in the case the Enterprise developer it is a combination of all 3 available MCTS certs and 1 MCPD cert. So a total of 3 different MCTS and 3 MCPD

    Now on .NET 3.5 its a bit more complex. There are still the 3 main technology silos but there are some additional technologies that you can certify in. In total there are 6 MCTS and 3 MCPDs

    Coming onto .NET 4 these exams will be released in June or July and then you should see training materials appearing around 3 to 6 months after that. We will leave that for the moment again and come back to it :)

    Right! With me so far :)

    On both .NET 2.0 and 3.5 certifying paths there is 1 single common exam which is exam 70-536 or .NET Application Development Fundamentals. To get any of the MCTS on either .NET 2.0 or 3.5 you need to pass this exam only ONCE . So once you have it passed it can be used for all of the relevant MCTS. I should add that MS certs are given based on the combination of component exams rather than the order.

    Now where should you start.

    Well I would suggest looking at the MSDN RampUp series which is a free online jump start training for people like yourself who want to get into the whole .NET development process. The great thing about this program is that it is a structured series of training programs with some cool additions such as reductions on the training materials and offers to reduce the cost of your first exam (it used to be like that with the offers tho this may have changed)

    By starting that you should look towards taking exam 70-536 and then deciding on what ASP.NET track you would like. I would suggest ASP.NET 3.5 as its the one that will probably give you the most benefit. On the asp.net site there is a bunch of training materials that you can use. The relevant MCTS exam is 70-562.

    Now the reason I am suggesting .NET 3.5 as your starting point is that there is a wealth of free training out that you can use to help you to understand and progress your experience.

    If you look in my signature there are quite a few links to my blog with information about the exams and links to MSDN articles etc. Once you feel comfortable in .NET you should start looking at and eventually you will find most of the information on your own.

    Please come back to me if you have any other questions

     


    Blog: http://www.certsandprogs.com

    70-515 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-536 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-505 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-562 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-433 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    Thursday, April 22, 2010 9:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Shawn,

     

    First i thank you for Niall for his detail information. I would also suggest you to have look on below sites to know the latest MSFT certifications which is suitable for you.


    Sachin Shetty| MCP|MCTS|MCITP| Please remember to mark the replies as answers and Vote as helpful if they help and unmark them if they provide no help.Thank you in advance.
    Friday, April 23, 2010 5:35 AM
  • Niall and Sachin, Thanks! I'm looking at some of it now. Lots of stuff to look at.:)

    I understand everything in the first part of the ramp up. I've done a fair amount of VB programming (and  bit of C/C++) and in the sample I posted I did all that using vb and java with master pages, css, sql 2005 connections, authentication and all that. I've got the difference down between a datagrid and a repeater and things like that.

    I looked at some of the skills for the 70-536 and there were a few things I didn't know so I'll have a bit of studying to do but it all made sense anyway. 

    I also noticed in the skills list for the 70-536 that some things weren't supported for VB. Am I going to need to know both VB and C# for this test?

     

    Thanks,

    Shawn

     

     

     

     

     

    Friday, April 23, 2010 9:24 PM
  • No you dont have to know both languages. You will be asked at the startof the exam which langauge you want to take it in be it VB.NET # or Visual C++.NET

    You will probably be ok then with exam 70-528 which is the .NET 2.0 Web Applications exam but you will need to study up for 70-536 as lot of that is down in the depths of the .NET framework


    Blog: http://www.certsandprogs.com

    70-515 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-536 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-505 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-562 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    70-433 Objectives List with MSDN Links
    Saturday, April 24, 2010 4:56 PM
    Moderator