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So you’ve been programming in VB for a few years now. You know your stuff, you keep up to date with the new releases and news. And at times you’ve even thought about starting a small software business. Should you become certified for your efforts? Is becoming a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer worth it? We’ll find out.

Microsoft has recently changed their requirements for the MCSD track. The original track required two MCSD core exams, and two MCSD elective exams. The new requirements are one Desktop Applications exam, one Distributed Applications exam, Solution Architecture and one required elective exam.

This article isn’t going to deal with "are the exams hard?" type questions. There are numerous books and CBT’s out there that will more than help you pass the exams. We want to know if it’s worth getting the certification at all. According to Microsoft, MCSD benefits include: Industry Recognition, Microsoft Developer Network subscription, a one-year subscription to Microsoft TechNet Plus, and more Microsoft-related items. What about the rest of the computer industry?

Well Microsoft gets one benefit right, Industry Recognition. It is much easier to get a job if you have certification with the products you will be using. If you decide to start your own business, certification is also a good thing to have. Customers will feel more at ease when purchasing your products.

The best reason to become certified, is keeping up to date. When new releases of VB come out, you can take the upgrade exams to become certified with the new products. That way you know exactly what is going on with the new versions of VB, and where it might be headed. So all in all, if you purchase a good CBT and pay for the exams, maybe you’ll even take an instructor-led course, becoming a MCSD is worth it. And the best part? You get to put "MCSD" after your name.More InformationPrices for MCSD exams are $50 USD for a beta exam, and $100 USD for a live exam. These are subject to change. Microsoft recommends Sylvan Prometric, or Virtual University Enterprises.Visit the MCSD web site at:

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