Friday, January 05, 2007

Microsoft MCPD Certification Preparation

While I likely won't pursue it (probably not the best use of my time...), I'm starting to point some of my folks down the .Net 2.0 certification route and I wanted to clear up some confusion as well as share some of what I've learned. There are three MS Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) "tracks" one can pursue: windows, web, and enterprise applications (EA). Due to the exam matrix (below), I would recommend developers pursue the EA because it's a combination of web and windows requiring only 5 exams. In contrast, pursuing the web and windows tracks individually requires 7 exams.

1 comment:

Jeff Hunsaker said...

Additional helpful thoughts/advice from my colleague Michael B.

The first four PRO exams are thoroughly covered by msdn, various websites, google and the sample certification exams on MeasureUp and Self Test Software. If you have completed a Web and Windows project, they shouldn't really be an issue. Something to remember about these exams is that they cover issues you might not always use. For example, the Web exam covers mobile webs quite extensively (.browser files, control adapters, etc.) The Windows exam loves to ask you about printing forms (I hate doing custom printing).

As I have found out, the hard way, the final PRO exam is a bit different. There aren't any training resources readily available. MSDN and Microsoft have nothing... The specification was pretty vague...

These final exams cover a lot of architecture, planning, and testing type questions. This is the one where you differentiate yourself from a developer and a principal consultant or architect.

The best advice I have received was to read the P&P book cover to cover and to learn how to use Team Foundation Server. It takes a while to get to the point where even reading about the P&P is feasible. However, don't be scared off by it. It is an awesome book and your knowledge of building Enterprise Applications will grow exponentially. I didn't really look into Team Foundation Server too much, and it killed me. A lot of the testing (bugs, security, load, etc.) questions are all based on using TFS effectively.

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It would be very beneficial to set a goal of passing the MCTS exams for Windows and Web first. There are only two exams to prove you can handle anything thrown at you by either platform. The next exam is the Distributed Applications certification. This will show your proficiency at creating Enterprise type solutions. Web, Windows, Mobile, Web Services, etc...

At this point, you will be set up to read the P&P book and grow into a more architect based developer. Learning how to assess infrastructure, testing and resource planning will make you a better consultant as well. This also has the added benefit of allowing you to achieve certifications goals without that giant MCPD PRO Enterprise looming over you.