Friday, September 17, 2010

.NET Certification Guidence

What is MCTS?

MCTS stands for Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and is a new wave of Microsoft certifications aimed at helping candidates certify their skills in a specific technology. Each MCTS certification, whether it be .NET Framework 3.5 ASP.NET Applications, or Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance, consists of one or more exams. Candidates must pass all exams to achieve the certification. Exam do not have to be taken in any particular order, but it usually makes sense to take them from foundation leading up to the more advanced.

Candidates must pass the specified number of exams to earn the certification. Using .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Applications as an example, candidates must pass the following exams:

  • Exam 70-536: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
  • Exam 70-562: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development


MCTS is also the building block for other certifications such as MCPD and MCITP. Once you have earned the MCTS certification you are usually just an exam or two away from achieving a higher certification such as MCPD: ASP.NET Developer 3.5. The online Microsoft Certification Planner is a great tool to plan your next exam and certification. The planner shows your current status and automatically calculates potential certifications for you.

All Microsoft exams are conducted through the Prometric testing provider. You must book your exam online using their website, you'll also have to pay the fees online. Your actual exam will be based at one of the many testing centres around the world, where you must attend in person. All professional Microsoft exams such as MCTS are computer based and consist of a variety of testing methods.

Once you have passed your Microsoft exam, you'll receive the Welcome Pack through the post (make sure you login to the MCP Member Site and confirm your address so Microsoft will send the pack). You'll receive a badge, certification and even a letter from Mr Gates himself!


What is MCPD?

MCPD stands for Microsoft Certified Professional Developer and is regarded as a high level and highly accredited certification. MCPD allows developers to demonstrate their ability to use Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft .NET Framework to excel in a real-world job role. The MCPD cert, validates a comprehensive set of skills required to be successful on the job, and gives hiring managers and potential customers a reliable indicator of your job performance.

Building on top of the existing MCTS certification path, MCPD takes the candidates skills one step further and focuses on high level design and implementation to build .NET solutions. The MCPD certification exists for both .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.5. Candidates choose the specific version of MCPD based on whether they use Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008.

Candidates must first complete the MCTS certification path before they can achieve the MCPD. Depending on the MCPD chosen, you will have to pass a single exam or 2 for the Enterprise level.

Using MCPD ASP .NET Developer 3.5 as an example, candidates must pass the following exams:

  • Exam 70-564: PRO: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5


If you already hold the MCPD for .NET 2.0, you can take any of the following upgrade exams to move to the .NET 3.5 version of the MCPD:

  • Windows Developer: Exam 70-566: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD Windows Developer Skills to MCPD Windows Developer 3
  • Web Developer: Exam 70-567: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD Web Developer Skills to MCPD ASP.NET Developer 3.5
  • Enterprise: Exam 70-568: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD Enterprise Application Developer Skills to MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer 3.5, Part 1 AND Exam 70-569: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD Enterprise Application Developer Skills to MCPD Enterprise Applications Developer 3.5, Part 2


All Microsoft exams are conducted through the Prometric testing provider. You must book your exam online using the Prometric website, you'll also have to pay the fees online. Fess vary per country, but are usually close to the US fee of $125. Your actual exam will be based at one of the many testing centres around the world, where you must attend in person. You can choose the testing centre and time of the exam through the Prometric site. All professional Microsoft exams such as MCPD are computer based and consist of a variety of testing methods.

Once you have achieved your Microsoft certification, you'll receive the Welcome Pack through the post (make sure you login to the MCP Member Site and confirm your address so Microsoft will send the pack). You'll receive a badge, certification and even a letter from Mr Gates himself!
 


How can I earn an MCPD?

To earn an MCPD certification you will need to pass 3 or 5 exams in the MCPD series. Depending on the type of MCPD certification you want to go for (windows, web or enterprise) you will need to pass the appropriate exams below.

Remember, that even if you achieve the MCPD Windows Developer or MCPD Web Developer, you can still continue to take more exams and achieve the Enterprise Application Developer certification.

Visual Studio 2008

Windows Developer 3.5 on Visual Studio 2008



MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Forms Application Development
Exam 70-505

MCPD Requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
Exam 70-563

ASP.NET Developer 3.5 on Visual Studio 2008



MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development
Exam 70-562

MCPD Requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
Exam 70-564

Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 on Visual Studio 2008



MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Forms Application Development
Exam 70-505

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development
Exam 70-562

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Application Development
Exam 70-561

MCTS Prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation Application Development
Exam 70-503

MCPD Requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
Exam 70-565


Visual Studio 2005



Windows Developer on Visual Studio 2005



MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development
Exam 70-526

MCPD requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework
Exam 70-548

Web Developer on Visual Studio 2005



MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development
Exam 70-528

MCPD requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Web-Based Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework
Exam 70-547

Enterprise Application Developer on Visual Studio 2005



MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
Exam 70-536

MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Windows-Based Client Development
Exam 70-526

MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development
Exam 70-528

MCTS prerequisite: TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Distributed Application Development
Exam 70-529

MCPD requirement: PRO: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications by Using the Microsoft .NET Framework
Exam 70-549
 



15% off coupon from MS Press

 
If you have chosen to buy one of the Microsoft Press books for your study material then you'll be pleased to know that at the back of the book there is a 15% off coupon. This voucher can be used against any MCP exam that you choose to book. Once you have used the voucher, it can't be used again or given to a friend.

To use the 15% off voucher:

  • Simply use the Prometric site as normal to choose your exam and test center
  • When you reach the payment page, enter the 15% off coupon code
  • The discounted price will be shown against the total cost of the exam
  • Continue paying for the exam as normal


Note: You cannot use the 15% off voucher with the Second Shot offer.


What is the Second Shot offer?

 The Microsoft 2nd shot offer is a great offer for anyone taking an MCP exam. The voucher allows you to retake an exam for free if you do not pass the exam the first time of trying.

When you schedule your exam, simply enter the second shot voucher number in the Prometric website. If you do not pass the exam, the next time you schedule the exam it will be for free.

What if I forget to use the voucher?

Don't worry, you can cancel the exam (as long as you are within the cancellation period) and reschedule it using the 2nd shot voucher. The cancellation period is usually 48 hours before the exam date. If you unsure, contact Prometric and explain your situation. They usually reply within a day or so.

Where to get the 2nd shot voucher

The 2nd shot voucher is specific to each candidate, so you need to register for the voucher using your email address. Visit the Microsoft Learning site and search for 2nd shot voucher. The current offer ends June 30, 2009. But Microsoft have reintroduced the offer on several other occasions so it wont disappear anytime soon.

The offer is valid on any Microsoft IT Professional, developer, or project manager certification exam.



How long must I wait to retake an exam

Microsoft has a set retake policy which applies to all their certification exams. These retake policies are in place to help protect the integrity of Microsoft exams from illegal copying and distribution. Microsoft is determined to stamp out braindump sites which are used to help people cheat their way through exams.

If you are unfortunate enough to fail an exam, do not worry as you can usually take the exam within a short period. This does not apply to Beta exams. See below.

Microsoft's retake policy is as follows:

General MCP Exam Retake Policy

1. If a you do not pass an exam the first time, you may retake it after at least 24 hours have passed.

2. If you do not achieve a passing score the second time, you must wait at least 14 days to retake the exam for a third time.

3. The same 14 day waiting period will be applied to all your subsequent exam retakes.

4. You are not allowed to take any exam any more than five times in a single year. If you do want to take an exam more than five times a year, then you must obtain permission from Microsoft.

5. If you have already passed an exam you cannot take it again.

If you are thinking of taking MCP beta exams then the following Microsoft retake policy applies

1. Beta exams can be taken only once, ever.

2. This policy supersedes the general retake policy and tales precedence.

A beta exam is an early release of an exam that is not available to the general public. You may volunteer to take a beta exam, but you must accept the fact that questions are in their infancy and some may be incorrect. Beta exams are usually released well before the official exam date so that Microsoft can fine tune the questions following your feedback.

1 comment:

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