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DesktopWeb FormText   MCSD .NETTue, 07 Sep 2004 21:20:00 GMT # 

70-315 (5/08) 874
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70-320 (5/22) 968
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70-340 (9/07) 828

so now i'm an MCSD .NET. i've never been certified before ... and i used to make fun of people with certifications (so you can make fun of me now). got certified mainly because recruiters are idiots. they know what MCP, MCAD and MSCD are ... but they have no clue what an MVP is. ultimately it is just more flair for the resume ... which cost about $750 to get (including books and exam fees). more costly was the month of time that was spent studying. my study material consisted of the MsPress study guides (for all tests) and the free questions at CertYourself.com (for many of the tests). people swear by the Transcenders but i could not justify spending the additional money. that said, Transcender does have some free sample tests that i wished i would have found out about sooner. i've seen that a couple people have got dual certifications in both C# and VB.NET. yes, i think recruiters are stupid enough to not know It's The Runtime Stupid ... but i'm not going to drop the cash to take 4 VB.NET tests that are inherently the same as the C# tests i've already taken; and would be trivial to pass having passed the other. also, if a company does not realize that i could do VB.NET at the drop off a hat ... then i dont want to work for that company either. granted, i would bet that some recruiters would pass me up because i will not have MSCD in VB.NET on my resume. did i say stupid?

so that was my motiviation for getting certified ... will let you know if it pays off in the future. the immediate gain is minimal ... if not a loss. by studying for the tests, i learned a few esoteric things, but nothing that i will probably ever use in my day to day work. it did make me learn some things that i would never look at on my own, so it is good to have a better understanding of those concepts, although i will promptly clear most of that info from my short term memory. if i have not already used it in my almost 4 years of .NET ... then i'm probably not going to use it in the next 4. basically all i've done to this point is 'prove that i know what i already knew' (part of the reason i write developer articles too, although i hope those articles prove i know more than what certification proves). the only test that i really thought was valuable was the 70-340 Security test, which i also thought was the most difficult. so right now, i learned a little, spent $750, and spent a month of time on it. i wonder if that month of time would have been better spent teaching myself something new, and writing (a) developer article(s) in the process? i'm certain the TS would have preferred that i spent that cash on her instead :)

what would i change? 1st off, if a person passes the test, then show them the correct answers for the questions they missed! the person spent the money (and the time), if they proved they know it well enough to pass, then train them to be better by showing them what they did not get right. it will only improve the developer ... which should be the ultimate goal. the only logic i can imagine for not showing the correct answers is to hinder the people with photographic memories that memorize the tests for people that provide exam study guides. all you are doing is slightly slowing these people down when you could be doing developers a greater service. 2nd, let people specialize. there is too much in .NET for a person to know it all: Win Forms, Web Forms, Services. make the specific tests harder, instead of doing easier tests across the board (i.e. jack of all trades, master of nothing). also offer more specialized tests, like one for ADO.NET and another for the Compact Framework. this would give people more choices for the core requirements. 3rd, overhaul the electives. the Security elective is great. the Biztalk exam needs to be updated to 2004, kill off Sql Server for Yukon, and kill off Commerce Server entirely. 4th, get rid of the trinkets. i dont what any certificates to hang in a cube or pins to put on my notebook bag. that stuff stopped being cool when i turned 16. 5th, spend some of the money that you use to promote certifications to promote the MVP program instead. i consider MVP more valuable than MCSD, but not enough people know about it