Sorry for the long time between posts but work just keeps getting in the way. Along with moonlighting and University. Oh well, moonlighting is pretty much over and my final has been written. Woohoo, more free time. Yeah right!
At any rate, to the question at hand.
When we made the switch over to the new generation of certifications, that left the MCAD and MCSD monikers sitting as older designations, or what we refer to as "Classic certifications". These certifications also proved proficiency in earlier versions of developer technologies such as Visual C++ 6, VB 6 and .NET 1.0/1.1.
The new generation of certifications concentrate more on specific technologies and are getting more and more focused. Where MCAD and MCSD required multiple exams to achieve the credential, the new generation require fewer exams. They also allow hiring managers to more closely gauge your fit for their needs.
Because there is such a change in technologies, coupled with the new generation of certifications, we have provide only one upgrade path. That is from MCAD or MCSD to MCTS or MCPD in .NET 2.0. There will be NO direct upgrade path from MCAD or MCSD to .NET 3.5.
Initially, we had a path from MCAD to MCPD Web or MCPD Windows, but we found that the fail rate was rather high. A part of that reason revolves around what I think, in that the MCAD is not qualified to be an MCPD yet. We are restructuring the exam story and recommending a different upgrade path depending on whether you are an MCAD or and MCPD. Although not mandatory, here is my recommendation for the most success.
If you are an MCAD already;
You can take the upgrade path to MCTS Web or Windows 2.0. These exams will be released shortly and will be numbered 70-558 for upgrading MCAD skills to MCTS: .NET 2.0 Web Developer and 70-559 upgrading MCAD skills to MCTS: .NET 2.0 Windows applications.
It is recommended that you do not take the current exams 70-551 and 70-552 to upgrade from MCAD to MCPD based on the current failure rates. Once again, we are not enforcing this, but recommending it.
If you are not ready for MCPD yet, then taking the upgrade path to MCTS 2.0 is a good choice if want to remain current on 2.0. Again, there is no direct upgrade path to 3.5 and the MCTS exams will require passing 70-536 for both 2.0 and 3.5, as well as the requisite MCTS exam.
If you are an MCSD already;
It is my intention to leave 70-551 and 70-552 in market for upgrading MCSD to MCPD. The reason I want to to do this is simple. I mentioned earlier that there is no direct upgrade path to 3.5 for MCAD or MCSD, but this path allows you an indirect upgrade.
So, I am sure this is likely still somewhat confusing and if so I apologize but to summarize:
Upgrading your MCSD to MCPD 2.0 is the quickest way to gain the MCPD credential. It also allows you to take one upgrade exam, when available, to the MCPD 3.5. Upgrading your MCAD to MCPD 2.0 will also afford you the same but again, I point out that is not recommended.
On a closing note, there will be an announcement next month surrounding the retirement of exams and certifications in the MCAD/MCSD space so if you don't currently have either of these, now is not a good time to start unless you don't plan on using .NET 2.0 or later.