Visual Studio 2008 Cert Story Almost Complete

I know a lot of you are waiting for this and I do apologize for the delay.  The issue with this current certification path is in the changes reflected in the product, coupled with the Technology Specialist certifications that are about to release.

Early next year, right around the official product launches of Visual Studio, SQL Server and Server 2008, you will see 5 new TS level certifications.   Well 3 for sure and possibly 5.

These certifications are focused on specific aspects of .NET 3.5.  Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow, ADO.NET and ASP.NET.  The two latter certs being the later released of the five.

As a result, these 5 TS certifications have a tendancy to muddy the waters for not just the Professional level space, but also blurring the lines between, or potentially eliminating, the 3 previous silos of Windows Developer, Web Developer and Enterprise Developer.

Although the 5 TS certs do have some mapping to each of these silos, there isn't a clear picture of where they belong.  This is why I asked the question in an earlier post about the term Web Developer and what comes to mind.

We have comitted internally to a time frame for this final story, and once that is communicated inside MSL, we will formulate the necessary communication out to you.

Comments are welcome on your opinions and how you use these technologies in the real world.



Comments (32)
  1. I know a lot of you are waiting for this and I do apologize for the delay. The issue with this current

  2. VS2008 says:

    Is it worthwhile starting certification for .Net 2.0 exams right or it is better to waiting for someone who has not yet started?

  3. Great news! Will AJAX be added to the ASP.NET cert?

  4. S.Y. Paul Lai says:

    I’ve just taken 503 beta today.  My feeling is that the new TS is much more easier than the old 536 and 52x.  The reason is that the WCF exam has a very narrow scope.  When I was preparing for the the 52x and 536 exams almost 2 years ago, I need about 2 weeks to prepare each exam.  Now I prepare 503, I just need to read the SDK and play with the beta VM for 2 days.  I think Microsoft should not remove the contents of 52x exams from the requirements of MCPDs.  Microsoft may combine 52x and 54x contents into new exams for beginners (unlike the 55x exams which only test the updated contents).

  5. For the first question about starting on 2.0 now or waiting for 3.5, the decision is entirely your own.  Exam 70-536 will be rebranded to remove version 2.0 from the title.  It will carry on as pre-req for TS Web, Windows and Dist. for 2.0 and will also be pre-requisite for the 5 new TS 3.5 exams.  

    So, in short, start with 70-536 for now if you haven’t done so already.  Then, concentrate on the specific 3.5 TS exam you want.

    The Pro level exams will likely carry forward at this time but will require some changes to ensure they relate to both 2.0 and 3.5 correctly.  I am also considering a title change for the pro exams as well, but more on that later.

    Yes, there is an entire section on the ASP.NET exam around ASP.NET AJAX and client-side scripting.

    There will also be some changes coming in regards to the upgrade exams for 2.0, (551, 552 etc).  There were issues with these exams from the pass/fail percentage causing grief for you.  We are adding two new upgrade exams, 70-558 and 70-559 at this time.  These will cover the Web and Windows upgrades for MCAD to MCTS.  

    Note, these are not going to MCPD but to the TS level.  I am considering leaving 70-551 and 70-552 in market but requiring them to be MCSD to MCPD only.  In other words, MCADs cannot directly upgrade to pro level certification.

    These decisions will be made this week after internal discussions so look for the formal announcements once we reach consensus.


  6. A few bits of interest, if you care about Visual Studio 2008 : There is a "what’s new" classroom training

  7. A few bits of interest, if you care about Visual Studio 2008 : There is a "what's new"

  8. Jarrod Albert says:

    I just passed the 70-536 exam so I am glad to read that it will still count.  However, I just ordered and received the books for 70-526 and 70-528.  My ultimate plan was to get the MCPD for Enterprise Applications Developer.  

    My question is should I return the books for 70-526 and 70-528, since it sounds like they will not count for the certification I was going for and concentrate on the 3.5 info for those exams?

    Thank you,

  9. Wayne Anderson says:

    I would remind everyone that you can still get your MCPD on .NET 2.0 which will be good for 3 years, offering you plenty of opportunity to upgrade as your project work et cetera allow.

    You can finish your .NET 2.0 credential now as the 3.5 track is probably not likely to be availible for a while.

  10. Wayne is correct in stating that you can still get our 2.0 certification now on MCPD.  The MCAD and MCSD to MCTS and MCPD story will be changing slightly, more on that later, but the MCTS and MCPD 2.0 are still valid certifications.

    The 3.5 track does have the TS certifications outlined for specific technologies but the pro story is not in place yet and won’t be until we are certain it makes sense from a product standpoint while still allowing you to upgrade from 2.0 certifications.

    Remember that 70-536 will carry over as a foundation pre-requisite for the 3.5 TS exams so you can certainly start there.

    If you have started on the 2.0 path to Pro, by all means continue to do so.  The upgrade path will be designed for moving from 2.0 to 3.5.


  11. Anthony Main says:

    Any news on this, Im an MCAD and have been planning on taking my 70-551 exam to .net 2.0 but I’ve moved jobs a few times to its a little overdue! But after reading this post, Im not sure if I should hold off and wait until the 70-558 is made available.

    What would be your recommendation? Im quite happy to do the 551 if you think its relevant as be good to learn the new features of 2.0 more thoroughly rather than still coding 1.1 style

  12. Hi Anthony.

    Although we will be recommending that MCADs take 558, which will upgrade you to MCTS 2.0, you can still attempt 551.  Just ensure you are prepared for the Pro level topics.  Look at the prep guide for 547 adn 548 and ensure you are up to speed on those areas.

    The reason I recommend this is because there will be no upgrade path for MCAD or MCSD to 3.5.  There will be an upgrade for MCPD 2.0 to MCPD 3.5 however.

    Does that help?


  13. Anthony Main says:

    Kinda of, but you say MCTS will take me to 2.0 not 3.5?

    Will I then need to upgrade to 3.5 as well?

  14. Hi Anthony.

    That is correct.  Taking the exams mentioned above will only take you to .NET 2.0 because the Pro level exams for 3.5 are not available yet.

    Once you become an MCPD on 2.0, there will be one upgrade exam to get you to MCPD 3.5.  That is the only path to MCPD 3.5 from MCAD.  There will be no direct upgrade path for MCAD or MCSD to 3.5.


  15. Dmitry Zorin says:

    Is it possible to know how many people in the US have MCPD/MCSD/..  ?

    It would be great to see this kind of info broken down by state.


  16. Dave Busch says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I just finished my MCPD (Web Dev) and am happy that there will be an upgrade path from 2.0 to 3.5 for the MCPD!  Two quick questions for you:

    1) It sounds like the 3 current TS certs (web, windows, enterprise) are going to be phased out.  So, will the 70-536 exam stay, get updated for 3.5, and be the base exam for the new TS certs?  Then, after passsing the 536, there will be a choice of 5 TS certs for 3.5?  Would there then by FIVE MCPDs; one  for each aspect of .NET?

    2)  Any word on a timeline for the upgrade exams for 2.0 to 3.5?  Would they ideally be available around the same time everything else is?

    Thanks for your time!

    Dave Busch

  17. Dave Busch says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I just finished my MCPD (Web Dev) and am happy that there will be an upgrade path from 2.0 to 3.5 for the MCPD!  Two quick questions for you:

    1) It sounds like the 3 current TS certs (web, windows, enterprise) are going to be phased out.  So, will the 70-536 exam stay, get updated for 3.5, and be the base exam for the new TS certs?  Then, after passsing the 536, there will be a choice of 5 TS certs for 3.5?  Would there then by FIVE MCPDs; one  for each aspect of .NET?

    2)  Any word on a timeline for the upgrade exams for 2.0 to 3.5?  Would they ideally be available around the same time everything else is?

    Thanks for your time!

    Dave Busch

  18. Hi Dave, congratulations on completing your MCPD Web Developer!

    For question 1;

    The 3 current TS certs are sort of being phased out.  We currently have 5 TS exams releasing over the next few months, WPF, WCF, WF, ADO.NET and ASP.NET.  We will be creating one more, WinForms.

    So, the TS cert story will look like this;

    70-536 will remain as the foundation.  It will be renamed to remove 2.0 from the title and will remain valid for 2.0 and 3.5.  The changes in the CLR are not significant enough to warrant a rewrite of this exam.

    Once you pass 536, you can acheive the following TS certs;

    TS: Windows Presentation Foundation 70-502

    TS: Windows Workflow 70-504

    TS: ASP.NET Developer

    TS: Distributed Developer (ADO.NET + WCF)

    TS: WinForms Developer (new exam)

    At this time, I don’t think we will have 5 MCPD certs that map as above but we need to ensure the correct mapping of technologies into the Pro level where they make sense correctly.

    2) The upgrade exams timeline cannot be determined until the Pro level exams are created as they feed into the upgrade story.  My plan is not to release MCPD exams at the same time as the TS exams but rather 6 months to 1 year after the TS releases.  The rationale is to ensure that the technology has had enough time in market so that we can identify, true "Pro" level candidates and tasks so we can create a relevant and real world exam with appropriate content.

    Hopefully that makes sense.


  19. Joe Alfano says:

    I am an MCPD 2.0.  Do you know how many exams will be required to achieve an MCPD 2.0 to MCPD 3.5 upgrade?

    Thanks for the information.

  20. Hi Joe.

    At present, we are planning on keeping the same three silos of Web, Windows and Enterprise.

    As a result, I want to maintain a one exam upgrade path for MCPD 2.0 to 3.5.  The only unknown at this time is if the Enterprise will have one or two exams.  Because you are going from MCPD 2.0 and not MCAD or MCSD, there is a good chance we can create one upgrde exam for MCPD Enterprise 2.0 to MCPD Enterprise 3.5.

    That is what I am aiming towards however, the content will dictate that more than anything else.  ie, how much material needs to be covered to go from 2.0 to 3.5.


  21. Linda says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I’m sorry for asking something that’s been asked before, I just want to make 100 % sure before spending money on a course.  I am about to buy course material for the 536 exam.  Will there be no change in the course material or exam for 536 when the new 3.5 stuff is released?

    Thanks a lot!


  22. Hi Linda.

    You are completely safe in continuing with the existing courseware for the 536 exam.  There will be no change in the exam or the course materials for .NET 3.5.

    Because it is the pre-req for both .Net 2.0 and 3.5, you are starting with the correct exam.


  23. René says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Some questions on if the 3.5 MCPD upgrades will โ€œrefreshโ€ your 2.0 certifications? (the three year thing)

    I have a MCPD in Windows Clients.  Suppose I take the MCPD 2.0 to 3.5 upgrade, does that also renew my 2.0 Windows Clients MCTS?  Would I automatically get the 3.5 Winforms MCTS in the upgrade?

    I also have a MCTS in Distributed Applications and was aiming the MCPD (ie missing two exams).  Is completing the 2.0 stuff and then upgrading to the 3.5 MCPD the best option if the 3.5 MCPD is my objective? Once you touch WCF, you never want to go back. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The thought of having to renew each exam is fine from a technical perspective but the time and cost is somewhat daunting…



  24. Andrew Mackie says:

    I’ve just completed the 70-526 MCTS Winforms in .NET 2.0. Is that now obsolete, and I’ll need to redo that all again in .NET 3.5 ? Any info on this new TS: WinForms Developer for 3.5 yet ?

    What about the 70-548 Pro Winforms in .NET 2.0 ? Is there any point starting on that at this time, or should I just wait for the 3.5 version – or is there not going to be one ?

    As for WPF – I’ll leave the Winforms-v-WPF debate for another time!



  25. arnold says:

    Is 70-528, 70-527, 70-529, 70-547, 70-548, 70-549 will be totally remove? Can I have a refund for the books that I bought for MCPD? 70-547, 70-548, 70-549 …

    Is this like in MCAD/MCSD, there is option which exams you like to take is it for 2.0 or 3.5?

    How long will these exams be available? When will MCPD Web Developer, MCPD Window Developer, and MCPD Enterprise Developer be available?

  26. Hi Arnold.

    No, these exams are not going away just yet.

    No, you cannot get a refund for your books from Microsoft, perhaps you can get a refund where you bought them, that is up to your book seller.

    I’m not sure what you mean by an option for which exams you like to take.  The certifications for .NET 2.0 are clearly outlined on for MCTS certifications and for the Pro certifications.

    If you are referring to the 2.0 exams you mention in your post, they will be available until mainstream product support for .NET 2.0 retires officially from Microsoft.  Likely for another 2 to 3 years at a minimum.


  27. Andy Mackie says:

    As for 70-548 Pro Winforms in .NET 2.0, I took and passed that, so no great shakes anyway. Very strange exam though – I hope the 3.5 version (if there is one) will be much less subjective!

  28. René says:

    Hi Gerry,

    You didn’t answer my questions… ๐Ÿ™

    I missed the "Microsoft Certification for Developers" webcast. Do you know if there’s a recording available?  Can’t find it…



  29. James Dixon says:

    Hi Gerry:

    I read this thread and I am still a bit lost.  I am a MCPD Enterprise on 2.0.  I understand that there are 2 upgrade exams for 3.5 (70-568 and 70-569).  I assume that these 2 exams are composite exams (much like 70-554 had content from 70-529 & 70-549).  If so, what are the base exams (70-503, 70-504, & 70-505?  Others?)


  30. Hi James,

    These are composite exams, correct.

    The best I can offer is to have you check out the prep guides for them.  Rather than concentrate on what exams they are comprised of, use the prep guide to understand what is covered on each.  That will provide you with a more focused effort for study and preparation.


  31. James Dixon says:

    Thanks Gary:

    I looked here:

    and, if I am reading that right, MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 requires the usual baseline of Forms, Web, ADO, Ent Arch and the distributed piece is being replaced by WCF.  So will there be any WF and WPF on the exams?  If not, that seems backwards – you would want to test on the new stuff in 3.0 and 3.5 (WF, WCF, WPF, LINQ, etc…) and not re-hash the 2.0 stuff.  Did I mis-understand your intention?  Or is the Forms/Web replaced by WPF and WF sprinked in various exams?

    Also, you mention the prep guides.  I used this link

    and there is not a exam-specific prep guide listed.  Is there another url?


  32. Hi James,

    Mispelling my name is a good way to get me to ignore you.   ๐Ÿ™‚

    So to answer your question about misunderstanding my intention, no, you didn’t.  WF and WPF are not a part of the Enterprise developer track.

    Enterprise is intended to be for developers creating large, multi-tier applications.  Now, in the near future, perhaps WPF will form a part of the client side but at this time, it hasn’t replaced Windows Forms and therefore, it remains as a standalone MCTS certification only.

    Workflow is not a standalone technology either and must be hosted in an application.  Because it can be spread across multiple application styles, such as standalone, Office apps, SharePoint sites etc., we felt it was best to not force developers to take that portion when they may not be using it at all.

    As for the prep guides, I’m afraid you need to dig a little deeper than that page.  Once you get there, select Technology, then choose Developer and then MCTS or MCPD.  These pages will then give you exam numbers to click on for the prep guides.

    We can’t make it too easy for you.


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