Quick Update for the New Year

I know it’s been awhile since I posted and for that I have to say, oh well.

I spent two weeks at home over the Christmas holidays and didn’t touch a computer for the purposes of work  The break was nice for a change.

Since I have been back, things have been a little hectic as I get ready layout my plan for certifications on Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0.  Some of you would like a peek into that plan but I can’t let the cat out of the bag yet.  Do note that you will see some changes to what will be.

I am spending a fair bit of time with different groups in Microsoft determining direction of products, personas, areas of focus etc.  My plan has to encompass not just Visual Studio 2010 but all current developer technologies that Microsoft has set for release.  This includes the following, in no particular order;

Visual Studio 2010
Windows Forms
ADO.NET (Data Services)
Application Lifecycle Management (MSF)
Security for developers
Software Testers
SharePoint Services
Expression tools (Blend, Designer, etc.)
Windows Mobile
Windows Embedded
Performance Point Server

I know there are a few more but this is all I can recall at the moment.  I’m in the process of installing Windows 7 on my computers so I don’t have access to the complete plan.  Now, this doesn’t mean that you will see certs or exams on everything that I have listed here.  This is my “wish list” based on conversations with you, the product groups and just an overall view of what is available for developers.

As usual, this wish list will be whittle down to what we can budget for and what makes sense in terms of reach and audience need.  SO, in case you thought I was off idling somewhere and forgot all about the blog, rest assured that I wasn’t.

Look for more updates as this plan becomes solidified and I can start to paint the new landscape for you.


Comments (28)
  1. S.Y. Paul Lai says:

    From http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/certified.mspx


    154 MCTS ADO.NET 3.5

    271 MCTS ASP.NET 3.5

    272 MCTS WCF 3.5

    236 MCTS WPF 3.5

    161 MCTS WWF 3.5

    Now, .NET 4.0 is comming in 1 year.  I think something in Microsoft’s plan is wrong…

  2. You know you’re not going to get off that easily Paul.  You have to elaborate on what, in your opinion, is wrong.


  3. Ulugbek Umirov says:

    I like the pace (dumpers just don’t have time to follow it) as long as beta exams exist.

    Gerry, any plan to introduce separate exam on ASP.NET MVC? Or it will be combined with ASP.NET?

  4. Grank says:

    If Microsoft wants to push adoption of Silverlight really hard, they’re going to need to come out with a Silverlight-related certification and training materials.  Right now it’s too much of a risk for my company to really get into doing anything with it because we have no way of knowing if the developers we have writing it are in any way competent with the environment and what it can do.  I’m one of those 236 people in the world with the WPF MCTS (well actually I didn’t take it until mid-December so I’m not included in that number, but still) and while there’s a lot of cross-over, that doesn’t really certify me to know the first thing about Silverlight.

    I would strongly urge the Microsoft Certifications program to focus on getting a Silverlight cert out the door as quickly as possible.  I would gladly write a beta exam towards this goal.  Silverlight’s in 2.0 already and we haven’t even seen any materials related to Silverlight 1.0.  Wanting to hear some news about Silverlight-related exams is the reason I subscribe to this blog…

  5. Thanks Ulugbek,

    As for a seperate exam, likely not.  Deciding factors include quantity of content, in other words can it be included on an exam with other ASP.NET stuff and not dilute the testing points.

    We also need to factor in the number of exams we can build each year against the number of exams expected to be delivered.  We are still a profit center so business factors really weigh into decisions as well.


  6. Hi Grank, thanks for the comments.

    It’s funny that you say you would urge us to get a Silverlight cert out the door quickly.  The reason I say that is because Silverlight is on of the fastest changing products we have to work with.  Their product development cycle is about one year.

    That creates a couple of issues as I see it.

    1) It makes it very difficult to stay on top of the latest and greatest in the product.

    2) It typically takes 9 months for me to design, develop, test and release an exam.  In order for it to be relevant, I have to start when the product is in beta.  In order to do that, I need to find experts in the technology.

    Silverlight 1 was basically client-side utilizing JavaScript.  Only in version 2 did we get integration into .NET.  I chose not to do an exam on version 1.0 and by the time I had my development budget, version 2.0 was pretty much released.

    Will we have on version 3.0?  I certainly hope so.  Will it be a seperate exam?  I’d like to think it will be but I can’t guarantee that at this time.

    Stay tuned, there is more to come.


  7. Jason Strate says:

    I like where the exams have been headed.  Especially the SQL Server ones 😉

    Have there been discussions in the SQL Server arena of developing deeper skill specific exams at the MCITP level?  Such as a performance tuning or SQL Server internals exam.  

    The materials tested in the SQL Server Developer or Administration exams are fairly broad.  So they provide an assurance of a minimal level of knowledge of SQL Server.  But someone that passes the administration exam may not have a firm grasp on SQL Server internals.  An internals certification could go a long way to providing a valuable validation of a DBA skills.

  8. Hi Jason,

    Thanks for your comments.

    We haven’t looked at adding the depth you are discussing here, mostly because we have the Microsoft Certified Master program that will address these areas.

    However, I am considering performing some form of split on the BI technologies at the MCTS level.


  9. Arnaud Weil says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Thanks for the list, this will be my check-up list of things to master by the end of this year. 🙂

  10. Bonjour Arnaud,

    De rien mon ami!


  11. Isak B says:

    Hey Gerry,

    Its good to see you are already working on the VS2010 exams.

    Not sure if you know this yet, but I am doing the MCPD exams as soon as they come available. Do you know what the upgrade path would be to 2010?



  12. Hi Isak,

    For now, the upgrade path will be similar as in the past.  There will be MCPD upgrades from 3.5 to 4.0.  There may be upgrades from 2.0 to 4.0 as well but I won’t know for certain until I see all the new changes in the product.


  13. Muhammad Umair says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I tried sending an email to you at " gerryobrien@microsoft.com" but it failed. Is this the right email address?

  14. Hi Muhammad,

    I don’t make my email available publicly, especially not on a public facing web site where it can be mined by spammers etc.

    You can ask any question here of, if it is of a sensitive nature, let me know in a post.  I moderate all posts so I see it in my inbox first without it being posted here.

    I will enable the email contact link on my blog and then you can send any sensitive information that way.


  15. richardod says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Any guideline for when 70-569 and 70-568 are going to be released (could it be days, weeks or months)?



  16. Hi Richard,

    Currently, we are looking at a March release for these exams.


  17. Mark Price says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I hope you had a relaxing break because it looks like 2009 is going to be a busy year!

    Do you have an ETA for your .NET 4.0 plan? As a trainer currently handling a painful transition of courses from .NET 2.0 to 3.5, it would be very useful to see your plan ASAP. It would be heart-breaking to finish the transition to 3.5 only to discover some changes in certs in 4.0 that mean throwing every out and starting again once 4.0 arrives next year.

    Anything you can tell us will be much appreciated.



  18. Hi Mark,

    Unfortunately, it is too early in the planning stage for me to share anything other than the above.  The reason is that I have lots on the plan and we haven’t gone through the budgeting process yet.  I have a huge list of certs I want to create, well not "huge" but big enough.

    I will be forced to make cuts as budget discussions are undertaken and at that time I have to determine which ones get put on hold and which ones get created.  It might also mean combining a couple.

    SO, to say anything about what I have planned right now, would only create major issues later if I announced an exam that later gets taken out of the plan.

    Hope you understand.


  19. Iain says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I notice there is no BizTalk in that list, will there be a new MCTS exam for Biztalk 2009?

    Also any idea when the beta results for 70-564 (asp.net 3.5 mcpd) will be released? 😉



  20. Hi Iain,

    I just had a meeting this morning with the new BizTalk readiness Manager and we discussed BT 2009.  We looked at a couple of options, which will be explored.  What makes it interesting is that we just released the R2 exam, now we need to look at what we do for BT 2009.   Stay tuned.

    As for the results, by the end of February at the latest I believe.


  21. Minor says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Exams 70-505 and 70-563 haven’t been released yet. And Exam 70-565 doesn’t even have a preparation guide yet. You are planning for certifications on Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0. Is it too soon?

  22. Minor,

    That is a very good question and the answer is no, it is not too soon.

    The reason is that we try, we don’t always succeed but we try, to get the exams out shortly after the release of the product.  Some of our .NET 3.5 exams were late for very good reasons.  

    Our planning cycle is at this time each year and that is when I need to put my vision in place.  Keep in mind that VS 2010 is set to release this year.

    So, while all my 3.5 exams are not released yet, they will be by the middle of March and then, budget and other factors permitting, the 4.0 stuff will be out in the latter part of this year, just in time to confuse the heck out of everyone.  🙂


  23. tarique says:


    The Beta period for 70-564 has been over for a while now.

    Any rough timeline on when we’ll know if we passed the beta exam or not?


  24. Hi Tarique,

    I answered that in my reply to Iain above.

    Somewhere around the end of February is all I can tell you at this point.


  25. tarique says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Actually, looks like we won’t have to wait till the end of february for 70-564 :). I got an email today with the exam results.


  26. Robson Castilho says:

    Hi Gerry

    I´m from Brazil.

    First of all, thank you for this blog.

    I never read anything from Microsoft about "brain dumps" for the exams…so I decided to ask you about it (sorry if this is not the right place for that, but please read it).

    What can be done about it? Probably, you don’t have permission to say if exam questions are changed each year or something like that…but I’m really concerned about this subject..

    We see a lot of people asking for dumps (mainly in Orkut, which is very popular here) and people getting certified just reading a pdf with the REAL QUESTIONS.

    This kind of thing may affect the reputation of a MCP.

    Thanks a lot. Sorry once again (including my English)

  27. Hi Robson,

    Thanks for posting your concern.  I share it along with a lot of others as well.

    Microsoft Learning is actively pursuing numerous ways to address these issues from identifying and shutting down brain dump sites to decertifying those who are cheating on exams.  Yes, we can tell although I’m not divulging how we know.

    We are also working towards new exam delivery models that reduce the amount of multiple choice questions on an exam and actually require the candidate to complete tasks in a real scenario.

    It will take time for all of these measures to be put in place and become effective and in the meantime, we must suffer the value hit that these cheaters are causing.

    If you know of someone cheating or of brain dump sites, send information directly to tctips@microsoft.com so we can investigate.



  28. Robson Castilho says:

    Hi Gerry

    If I know something, I’ll send to that e-mail.

    Thank you for the answer.

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