February 28, 2021
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Microsoft Developer Certifications: What's Your Path?

  • By Steve Rowe
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As mentioned earlier, the MCSD certification is the premier Microsoft developer certification. MCSD candidates will be expected to demonstrate abilities in developing and maintaining departmental level applications, as an MCAD is expected to do, but the MCSD is expected to broaden their skill set into analyzing, planning, and designing enterprise-level solutions. The MCSD is to also have an expert-level familiarity with Microsoft development tools, platforms, languages, and technologies to analyze, plan, and design solutions. The MCSD candidate is recommended to have at least two years of experience developing and maintaining solutions and applications. This experience should also equate to having the skill set of an MCAD. If you are working toward the MCSD on .NET technologies, you will achieve the MCAD status along the way because the MCAD's required exams are a direct sub-set of the MCSD's required exams.

MCSD on Visual Studio 6 Technologies

As you have learned, you can achieve the MCSD credential on either .NET technologies or Visual Studio 6 technologies (sometimes referred to as an MCSD on Windows 2000). To achieve an MCSD on Visual Studio 6 technologies you will have to pass three core exams and one elective. The language choices in this version of the MCSD will center on Visual Basic 6, FoxPro, and Visual C++ 6. The following list breaks down the topics you will encounter in the core section of this exam track.

  • Desktop Applications Development Exam: You will be required to pass one exam from this category that deals with Designing and Implementing Desktop Applications with a Microsoft language. Again, you can complete this exam with VB 6, FoxPro, or VC++ 6 for a language choice.
  • Distributed Applications Development Exam: You will be required to pass one exam from this category as well. These exams center on Designing and Implementing Distributed Applications with one of three Microsoft languages discussed earlier. This exam will assess your ability to create applications that will possibly reside on multiple servers and be accessible via avenues such as the Internet, rather than applications that will be only designed for desktop-level use.
  • Solution Architecture Exam: To obtain the MCSD on Visual Studio 6 certification, you must pass the solution architectures exam. This is commonly known as Exam 70-100: Analyzing Requirements and Defining Solution Architectures. This exam will require you to be able to analyze business requirements, current business IT infrastructures, and so forth, and design a solution that meets the needs of the business based on Microsoft development technologies. This exam is at the heart of what an MCSD is expected to be able to do.

There are several electives available for this exam. Generally, the electives exams center their focus around designing and implementing solutions with servers and languages. You may want to test on creating solutions for SQL Server, Exchange Server, or other Enterprise Servers. You also may take a core exam as an elective, as long as you did not use that exam to satisfy your core requirements.

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This article was originally published on March 31, 2003

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