Visual Studio 2010 Exams Are Changing

Well, just a little.

After much thought, and then some more, along with discussions with the community, the product groups for Visual Studio and .NET 4, our own internal folks and anyone else who wanted to chime in, we have finally decided on most of the new developer certification plan.

Here are the 99% definite exams;

MCTS Web Developer

MCTS Windows Developer

MCTS Connecting to Data (ADO.NET)


MCPD Web Developer

MCPD Windows Developer

Here are the 50% definite exams;

MCTS Workflow

MCPD Enterprise

So, what are the changes I eluded to?

1) The Windows exam will cover both Windows Forms and WPF.  Percentages to be determined by your peers during the design sessions.  This will also help to address the feedback over the Windows vs WPF requirements for MCPD Enterprise on .NET 3.5.  NO, I don’t mean we are changing the 3.5 certs, I mean the new plan will not have seperate Forms/WPF issues.

2) Web to cover some Silverlight.  Why?  Silverlight is akin to nailing Jell-o to a wall.  The dev cycles are shorter than our exam dev cycle.  ouch!

3) Workflow has some great changes and is an awesome technology but, we need to decide based on other factors.

4) MCPD Enterprise in my opinion is still a non-defined audience.  I don’t feel we are positioning this exam correctly and we need more market research into what an “Enterprise Professional Developer” really is.  Thoughts and comments are welcome of course.

There will be Windows Mobile exams created, with one for 6.5 getting underway in June and the next version on the horizon.  Embedded is coming up as are Microsoft Office SharePoint Server dev exams, Expression Blend and perhaps Web.  We are still trying to nail down a Software Tester style cert as well.

All fun here in Redmond for sure.

I could post more, but I don’t want to.  Actually, I can’t because we still need to lock firmly on what we have committed to.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.



Comments (89)

  1. raj says:

    when will these exams be out in europe? should i hold off on 70-536?

  2. In my mind the MCPD enterprise certification should focus on making an enterprise platform for a company where you use a great deal of different Microsoft products to solve their business problems. An example of this could be to have Dynamics AX as ERP system, Sharepoint Server as portal on the internet, intranet and extranet level, Dynanmics CRM as sales tool, SQL Server as Business Intelligence layer and in the middle of this a Biztalk Server. As a designer/architect/developer you don’t have to understand every product in depth, but you do have to have a great deal of knowledge of the different products to know when you should use one product instead of another.

    The certifications required for this should be:

    – WCF (with a lot of systems there is going to be a lot of integrations, so this is a very essential skill)

    – WWF/Biztalk (as you often have to do workflows/orchstrations that combine the different systems

    – Sharepoint Dev (as sharepoint is a core components of so may products these days)

    – One dynamic exam where you can choose between CRM, AX or NAV (or maybe other Dynamics products)

    – Platform exam the focus on when to use different products and be able to design the platform for the company

    This will make this certification something between the MCPD Web/MCPD Win and the architect certifications you got, where you need A LOT of experience.

    The WCF and the ADO.Net certification should be pre-requisites for the MCPD Web and MCP win as you in most cases where you make a web or win app these days would need those to technologies. This will raise the bar for the MCPD certifications which I think is needed.

    You should also look into making a "Dublin" certification…

  3. Whoa, hang on there Raj.

    Let us get these started first.  This is an early look at what the plan is.

    When Visual Studio releases, we can have this conversation.  🙂


  4. Hi Torben,

    Great post, thanks very much for the insight and comments.

    A lot of what I was thinking and then some.


  5. Dave Lowe says:

    has any consideration been made in regard to Virtual Earth becoming Bing and the implications this will have on the MCTS cert (70-544) yet in the 2010 release?

  6. Martin says:

    Since WF and WCF have tight connections (Workflow Services, Accessing Services from Workflows) it might be a good idea to combine the two topics.

  7. Steve Wiggins says:

    So, what are the chances we will actually have material to offer through CPLS’ for these certifications? Hopefully it won’t be as weak as the 2 and 3.5 offerings where there is *zero* material for the PD.

  8. Peter Jordan says:

    Why the hell can’t we go back to the MCSD with core exams and electives? Everyone understood that one and it had real value in the marketplace. The current set-up is a complete dogs dinner and no one, outside of MS recognises the resultant alphabet soup on any business card, or Email signature, that is actually wide enough to hold it all.

  9. Kiran says:

    I’m about to take the MCTS WPF Exam and I made a conscious decision not to take the MCTS WinForms Exam.  WinForms is on the way out & WPF on the way in so combining them both into one exam and getting people to learn the old WinForms is in my opinion a step backwards.  Similarly combining Silverlight & ASP.Net.

    I think employers when they start looking for someone with WPF or Silverlight skills would appreciate a separate MCTS for each.

  10. Hi Dave,

    There are no discussions at this time for a certification on Bing.

    There also are no discussions around an upgrade for the Virtual Earth exam either.


  11. Hi Martin,

    Combining these two exams would not allow adequate coverage of either technology.

    WCF is huge and workflow is getting there as well.

    They will continue to be seperate exams as a result.


  12. Hi Steve,

    There will be content created for at least the MCTS exams but as for the MCPD, I can’t say for certain.

    If I’m not mistaken, the MCPD content doesn’t sell that well anyway.  I don’t work on the training side anymore so I am likely out of touch with that.


  13. Peter,

    Many reasons why we won’t go back to the MCSD.

    1) Employers had no idea what you were certified in, only that you had an MCSD.  The new certs are more focused and provide that information.

    2) When MCSD first launched, nobody knew what the hell it was or what it meant either.  It took time to cement its place in the market.  The MCTS and MCPD are no different.  Once the market takes the time to understand them, they will hold more weight and value.

    3) The elective style certification was the worst mess anyone had to deal with.  Again, with the MCSD, what were you qualified on?  Almost everyone I know chose different electives.  Employers didn’t understand what that meant.

    4) The MCTS, MCPD, MCM and MCA show a clear path throuhg a certification landscape that offers breadth and depth.  MCSD didn’t show nor offer that.


  14. Hi Kiran,

    I hate to disagree but I must.

    Check the job boards.  Windows Forms is not on the way out yet although some would like to believe that.

    Combining them into one exam is a way to help people transition from Windows Forms to WPF in a gradual manner.

    For every one of you that tells me to do away with Windows Forms, there are ten more telling me to not to.

    I go with what my market research tells me and at this time,  WPF is on the move but it’s not overtaking yet much as we, Microsoft, and some of you in the industry would have us believe.

    Patience, Windows Forms will be gone soon and WPF will be everywhere.  Just not yet.

    As for a seperate Silverlight exam, the development cycle for that product is moving so fast, that we cannot keep up with exams.  To create a seperate exam for Silverlight would mean that it would have to cross multiple versions.  This makes for a bad certification story from a couple of perspectives.

    1) Those who have the cert will not want to be constantly upgrading it.

    2) If we create a version agnostic version, will it have weight in the industry?  How will employers know which version you can work with?  

    There are a lot of variables and issues with a Silverlight certification just now and we are working with the product group in Microsoft to identify where things are going and the best choices to make concerning this.

    At this time, that means no seperate certification exam for fiscal year 2010.


  15. Bart says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Firstly: What about people with MCPD Enterprise in .Net 3.5 and upgrade. For me this is all too fast, we have this exam only for half a year without any book or materials.

    Secondly: My quick story: I have MCPD Win Developer .Net 2.0 and I was waiting for upgrade it to gain MCTS  win forms 3.5.Before upgrade shows up, I just go and take MCTS win form exam with 3.5 to move forward with Enterprise. This exam has so little differences to  2.0 (I’ve read on amazon that in training kit they add only two chapters so I said what a heck.) that I  passed without any prep. If it is possible there is no need for new exam in path just for completeness of the whole 3.5 path.

    I really don’t like exams whit one topic change.

    Now I have MCPD Enterprise and I am worried about retaking whole path for me this is waste of many and time.

  16. Mark Price says:

    Hi Gerry,

    Thanks for the update. Two things:

    First, one of my concerns is the amount of content covered by the Web exam. The 3.5 exam is already crammed with AJAX as well as server-side tech, and now Silverlight too. And what about Dynamic Data sites and MVC? I was honestly expecting two MCTS Web exams due to the vastness of the ASP.NET APIs these days. Since you want to include Silverlight, I would recommend one exam on server-side web tech (ASP.NET Web Forms and MVC) and one on client-side (ASP.NET AJAX client-Library, JQuery, calling services, and Silverlight).

    Second, the MS Press exam study guides. You posted in a comment last week that the one for 70-564 has been cancelled and the recommendation is to use the old 2.0 book. Is it possible for MS Press to release a 2nd edition with version specific stuff removed? That way it could be used for the 3.5 and 4.0 MCPD exams.


  17. RichardOD says:


    I would be very interested in finding out if you have any plans for an ASP.NET MVC exam? That to me would be a very interesting certification.

  18. Mark Price says:

    Here’s what I’d like to see (perhaps for .NET 5.0?)



    a) Web Client-Side Technologies (JavaScript, JQuery, ASP.NET AJAX Client Library, CSS, DHTML, Silverlight, consuming services)

    b) Web Server-Side Technologies (ASP.NET Web Forms, MVC, Dynamic Data Sites)

    c) Windows Client Technologies (WinForms and WPF)

    d) Data Technologies (ADO.NET)

    e) Service Technologies (WCF)

    f) Designing, Debugging, Testing, and Maintaining .NET Applications



    MCTS: Web Developer (a+b)

    MCTS: Windows Developer (c)

    MCTS: Data and Services Developer (d+e)

    MCPD: .NET Developer (a+b+c+d+e+f)

    This would cover middle-tier (Data and Services) and give two presentation tier options (Web or Windows) as well as a "mega" cert including all exams and allow you to drop the multiple MCPD exams which have a lot of overlap right now.

    Less exams, less expense, more clarity.

  19. Peter Jordan says:

    "The MCTS, MCPD, MCM and MCA show a clear path throuhg a certification landscape"…yeah, right! What are they, record labels? Universities don’t give qualifications for every paper a student passes, they award a single degree. That’s a time-proven model well worth following, rather than providing a case study in poor abstraction and unecessary complexity.

  20. Dean says:

    Was just wondering if ASP.NET MVC will be covered in the Web Developer area, and if so what proportion compared to Web Forms? Thanks.

  21. Hi Bart,

    I’ll address your questions seperately.

    1) This is all too fast and without any books.

      We release exams to keep up with the technology.  Sometimes, and for very good reasons, we have exams that are delayed, which is the case with the 3.5 versions and why it seems like they just released and we are creating new ones so soon after.

    2) Personally, as for book or materials, I would say that I don’t care about that aspect.  If you have the experience, the prep guide and MSDN is all you need.

    3) The changes between 2.0 and 3.5 were not great.  However, we need to test on the new material.  We cannot just add it to the existing exam as those who have already taken it, would not have the same level of testing as those who took it later.  Also, we don’t decide what goes on the exam.  Your peers do.  They tell us what is important in a a day-to-day consideration, to be successful and productive with a specific version of the technology. That is what drives the change.

    4) To take the whole path again is a personal choice.  Look for upgrades and quicker paths with less out of pocket expenses.  

    We don’t force anyone to upgrade their certifications.  Only MCTs and partners are required to meet specific certifications.  For everyone else, it’s a personal choice.


  22. Hi Mark,

    Concern number one is valid.  Too much content waters down an exam.  That is why we must balance coverage on the exam.  Your peers will help decide that balance.  Of you for that matter if you are interested in the process and working on the exam development.  As long as you have the requisite experience, you can be involved in the process.

    As for creating multiple exams, I would love to split them out to cover each technology however, in a realistic world, I have to make tradeoffs based on budget.  I only get so much budget to create my exams and that means I have to focus on the most prevalent content in the best way possible.  Sometimes, that means not creating an exam that I, or the community, really wants.

    In terms of the training kits, those are handled by another planner and he is bound by the same budget issues I am plus, he has to deal with intellectual property ownership with the authors.  Some authors own the IP and changes to a book must be in agreement with the author.  There are many variables that go into those decisions as well so it’s not always clear cut or easy to make these changes.  Also, ensuring that customers understand what the book covers is another aspect.   Some want very targeted and focused content.

    Hope that makes some of this a little more clear.


  23. Hi Richard,

    No MVC specific exam planned at this time, sorry.


  24. Peter,

    A University degree is not comparable to a certification.

    A four-year bachelor’s degree requires specific credits and coursework that provide core computer science fundamental concepts.

    A certification is designed to validate skills on a specific technology.  Look at any industry certification from CompTIA, Cisco, Oracle or Sun.  They change when the technology changes and new skills require validation.

    A degree program changes very little over time as the core concepts remain the same.  True, we now need to understand multi-core processing and writing apps that support that and yes Universities have moved from Fortran to C/C++ and now to Java, but the change is not as rapid as in the certification market place.

    Certifications are NOT designed to prove someone can obtain a degree in a topic.  They are for skills validation on a specific technology.

    Please present your supporting evidence that certifications are a "case study in poor abstraction and unnecessary comlexity".


  25. Hi Dean,

    I would suspect that MVC will be covered.  To what extent I can’t tell you, for two reasons.

    1) Because we haven’t held the design session yet and your peers will decide that.  By this I mean we bring in industry experts to tell us what should and shouldn’t be on the exam.

    2) That goes against the non-disclosure of information regarding exam content.

    When the design is finished, the preparation guide will show you what may or may not be covered on the exam.


  26. Chris Hance says:

    MCM doesn’t (currently) apply to developers, except those who specialize in Sharepoint. And even there, it requires configuration and administration in addition to app development. So it’s really not part of the developer progression.

    Is Enterprise Developer really "Aspiring Solution Architect"? "I have the technical knowledge to do application architecture, but I don’t necessarily have the experience, people skills, or non-development infrastructure background to qualify for MCA: Solutions… yet."

    If that’s the case, how many further technologies do you want to throw into the mix? I can see MCTS on SQL Server, Sharepoint, etc. as prerequisites to show some flexibility toward using preexisting solutions instead of reinventing the wheel in code. But isn’t there some industry value in being a "generalist developer" at all layers/tiers? If Dynamics is required, I doubt I’ll ever bother with that certification. My employers have never used a packaged solution of that scale, mostly due to budget or company size. I guess I’d just go for alphabet soup of individual MCTS/MCPD certs, and hope HR could make sense of it.

  27. Hi Chris,

    You are correct, there currenly is no developer MCM certification.

    As for "aspiring solution architect", I don’t know.  That’s why we need a proper focus group and/or survey to ensure we are hitting the right target.

    Will it require Dynamics?  I highly doubt it at this stage but again, it’s all speculation until we hear from the community.


  28. Ravi says:

    Very interesting debate going on – took me a long time to reach the end of the page 🙂

    I had a couple of questions (ideas?)

    1.  How about a customizable exam ? For example I add these attributes to my resume, so why not let me choose the topics ?:

    – PLinq                   – F#

    – MVC with Velocity       – WPF with MVVM

    – Workflow with custom activities (and some BizTalk)

    – so on..

    You could allow "n" points in an exam – for example 10 points, (F#=4pts, MVC=2pts etc).

    This will also let me filter out stuff I consider not important .. for example I dont like Dynamic Data, but I would be forced to take it with Web exam.

    2. When are you converting the exam UI to Silverlight ? It makes me cringe that I am giving my SL/WPF exam in a 90s style UI!


  29. Polan Fong says:

    I’d like to reiterate what Mark Price said. The web developer syllabus is already big enough as it is. Also, from my observations, ASP.NET and Silverlight’s demographics aren’t aligned enough to warrant lumping Silverlight into the web developer MCTS.

  30. Tak Cheung says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I think I have to agree with the second message of Mark Price about exam/credentials structure. There should be more clearity. In my opinion MCPD should be reserved for the experienced developer with "complete" knowledge/skills of the .NET framework. Therefore MCPD: Web Developer and MCPD: Windows Developer should disappear (Or maybe a combined Web/Windows credential because of the overlap?), but that’s probably not going to happen.

    For the other .NET credentials, here’s my view on it:

    (a) MCTS: Web Applications

    (b) MCTS: Windows Applications (WinForms + WPF)

    (c) MCTS: ADO.NET Applications

    (d) MCTS: WCF Applications

    (e) MCTS: WF Applications

    (I) PRO Exam about Designing, Debugging, Testing, Maintaining and Migrating .NET 4.0 Applications.

    (May include some case studies/scenario’s)

    MCPD Enterprise .NET 4.0 applications (a+b+c+d+e+I).

    Comparing to MCPD EAD 3.5, you must again do six exams, but this time it has a much broader contents (In 3.5 WF and WPF were not included)

  31. Elias Markelis says:

    Concerning the MCPD Enterprise I would like to see an exam like the   70-300 and 70-301 probably combined in one.

    I believe that this certificate should show the ability of the individual  to design solutions for their  organizations or their customers plus that they are have a broad knowledge about the other technologies  e.g. .Sharepoint so they must pass also a relative exam

  32. Hi Ravi,

    1. While that would be an ideal situation, current systems do not have that capability.

    2. I have no idea.  To be honest, we are working on converting our exams to performance based which means the exam spawns a virtual machine and provides tasks that you must complete.  No more, or very little, mulitple choice questions.  Everything would be similar to real-world.  You would have Visual Studio, MSDN (local only), and intellisense.

    All in good time.


  33. Hi Polan,

    Can you elaborate on what you mean by the web developer syllabus is already big enough?

    I’m also not sure I agree with your last statement about ASP.NET and Silverlight not being aligned.  Can you expand please?


  34. Hi Tak,

    I’m actually pushing towards that same goal however, as I mentioned before, I need more data to back it up.  Your plan is not much different that what I currently have in place for VS2010.

    As a developer, you must admit that what is available in the .NET Framework is huge.  "Complete" knowledge and skills with the framework is something I’m not convinced exists.  Knowledge of how to work with it, perhaps.  Regardless, it would require an extremely long and large exam.  I’m not certain people would be willing to sit through it. 🙂

    At any rate, once we get the data I’m looking for, we can start to formulate a proper Enterprise Developer exam.


  35. Thanks Elias,

    One thing you won’t see us doing anytime soon is going back to an elective style for exams.  It creates too much confusion and uncertainty in what a person is actually qualified to do.  We can only list the exams on a transcript, not the credential.

    I do like your idea of combining topics that were found on 300 and 301 but I think that’s only a part of it.

    It may mean an entirely new way of asking questions, who knows.  But with solid data on what the industry considers an Enterprise Developer, we can make better decisions.


  36. matt says:

    If silverlight is to be added wouldn’t it make more sense to include it in the WPF space? Silverlight is a subset of the libraries in WPF and patterns such as those covered in Prism are duplicated between technologies. ASP.NET and Silverlight do not share the same similarities…

  37. Hi Matt,

    I won’t disagree that Silverlight is a subset of WPF.

    I will disagree over including Silverlight in a WPF exam.  Why would you include a subset of WPF in a WPF exam?

    As for ASP.NET and Silverlight sharing similarities, well, we never claimed that.  We said that we were thinking of including Silverlight coverage in the Web developer exam.  

    Without going into great detail, just look at Microsoft’s opening statement on for a simple explanation.  

    "Microsoft Silverlight extends and amplifies your existing development skills, empowering you to build new types of applications for the Web regardless of target platform or browser."

    That’s just for starters.  If you look at Silverlight as a technology right now, it is intended for Web development.  WPF is intended for desktop development.


  38. Peter Jordan says:

    …Please present your supporting evidence that certifications are a "case study in poor abstraction and unnecessary comlexity".

    Not the right time or place for that, but the bottom line is that you either see these things or you don’t!

    Anyway, as someone who did the MCSD for VS5, VS6, .NET 1 and then the MCPD for .NET 2, perhaps I am just a certification dinosaur. I felt that the.NET 2 exams were unsatisfactory – as they concentrated, almost totally, on new features – and these new paths mark the end of an enjoyable road for me.

    It’s probably best to focus on mastering LINQ and EF, rather than having to revisit inferior technology like ADO.Net. Are you sure that the changes between 2.0 and 3.5 were not great? (and I do realise that the 3.5 framework is an extension of 2.0)

  39. Peter,

    It’s unfortunate that you see it that way.

    As always, there can never be a program that satisfies 100% of the people 100% of the time.  If your trek into certification land is at an end, then thank you for coming along this far and best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

    Mastering LINQ and EF are worthwhile pursuits.  I only wish I had the time to master all the technologies I have to work with and know about.  I envy you that.

    As for the inferiority of ADO.NET, well, I leave that to those who design and create it.  



  40. Kiran says:

    Hi Gerry

    I would like to see separate exams for each of the technologies ie ASP.NET & Silverlight & WinFrms & WPF and not one that combines ASP.Net & SL to become Web and WPF + WinForms to become Windows.  I think if you look at the basics of why the exams are there is the first place, then things should be more clear.

    The more I hear other Microsoft people, the more I think WinForms isn’t the current technology that Microsoft is promoting & to combine WPF + WinForms exams is a big mistake.

  41. Kiran,

    Thanks for the comments, I appreciate you taking the time to offer your thoughts and opinion.

    While I agree that seperate exams are the ideal solution,  I’m not able to achieve the ideal for various reasons.  Timelines, budgets, bandwidth, and more all play a major part in the plans we create.

    Silverlight releases on a schedule that is too short for us to create a version specific exam.  We have to find a way to create a version agnostic exam for that.  Not easy to do when people want to prove certification on the latest and greatest version.

    As for WPF and Windows Forms being combined, well, I do agree that desktop development is moving away from Windows Forms and towards WPF.  If you look at the numbers of people taking exams currently, with the seperate of these technologies as offered by .NET 3.5, there is a clear indication that the majority of candidates are interested in Web development.  Those who are certifying on Windows Forms still out number those certifying on WPF.

    If you search any major career site, WPF is less than 1/10th of the required skills for developer jobs.

    The reason I made the decision to combine WPF and Windows Forms was to allow a transition towards WPF.  It’s a way of easing Windows developers into WPF without forcing them to drink from the firehose, if you will.

    We, Microsoft, want to see developers use the technologies that we create.  WPF and Silverlight and awesome tools that allow developers to create rich applications for their end-users.   In reality, the development community is not all ready for the move yet.  I base my decisions on what the community demands based on statistical data.  Currently, it points to the decisions we have made for .NET 4 as being still inline with what employers are seeking to validate skills on.

    We will still offer training on the new technologies as quickly as they come around, but certifications need to be relevant to what the job market demands for skills.

    Hopefully that makes sense.


  42. Kiran says:


    Thats exactly my feeling & what you say in fact should move things towards separate exams.  

    If someone wants to transition, separate exams is much better for them.

    If someone is starting out and wants to do an exam for WPF, why should they be also doing something that covers WinForms if that isn’t the major focus for Microsoft products.  In fact at a Microsoft event a few days ago, the Microsoft presenter said that there were going to be no more investment in WinForms & all the focus will be WPF and I think the exams should reflect that.

    I understand the situation with Silverlight at present but that will change in time.

  43. Kiran,

    You need to re-read my reply to your post.

    Seperate exams are not possible at this time.  That is why the decisions are as they are.

    In the next version, there may not be any Windows Forms on an exam.  That’s too far ahead at this time to say.


  44. Kiran says:


    I read what you are saying but I want to clarify something:

    At present for MCSD the following exist:

    1. ASP.Net

    2. WinForms

    3. Enterprise

    For MCTS:

    1. ASP.Net

    2. WinForms

    3. WPF

    4. WCF

    5. WF

    6. ADO.Net

    Can you please clarify what the curent thinking is for the future?

  45. Hi Kiran,

    For clarification, I believe you intended to say MCPD above and not MCSD.  MCSD is no longer acheivable.

    What you list in your latest post are the exams that are available for Visual Studio 2008.  What is planned at this time for VS 2010 is listed in the opening of this thread.  For your convenience,

    Here are the 99% definite exams;

    MCTS Web Developer

    MCTS Windows Developer

    MCTS Connecting to Data (ADO.NET)


    MCPD Web Developer

    MCPD Windows Developer


  46. Kiran says:

    Thank you Gerry.  I did mean MCPD & not MCSD.

    Personally I think it is a mistake to combine WinForms & WPF into a single exam from the view point of someone doing the exams and that from an employer point of view.

    Anyway nothing I say will matter so good luck.

  47. Kiran,

    Thanks again for the comments.

    It’s not that what you say doesn’t matter, it does.  Everyone’s opinion is considered and appreciated.

    Until you fully understand the circumstances that are part of the decision making process, you can’t fully understand the rationale behind the decisions.  As I said before, in an ideal world, I could create certifications for every technology we offer and get them out at RTM and they would be perfect every time.

    This is not reality.

    Unfortunately, for various business reasons, I cannot divulge every reason behind the decisions made around certifications but rest assured that I weigh all factors and always lean toward what is best for the customer, with the constraints I have to work within.

    So, will I change the certification plan based on your opinion?  No.  Does it mean I value your opinion less?  No.

    You will need to either understand this, or not, the choice is yours.


  48. Kiran says:

    Thank you Gerry.  I appreciate that there may be reasons that you can’t cover but from the reasons you have mentioned (eg. budget, more people doing WinForms exams, the current demand for WinForms jobs, etc.) all I’m saying is that I think it’s a mistake that WinForms + WPF are combined.  I know in time this would change as WinForms become less relevant & the economy improves & you might get more budget.

    Anyway I look forward to the new exams when they are released & make my own assessment whether to upgrade or not.

  49. Daily tech links for .net and related technologies – June 10, 2009 Web Development Introduction to StructureMap

  50. Patrick Belanger says:

    Certifications aimed at the Designer’s role.

    We would deeply like to see some certifications for Expression Blend Web Encoder ….  Maybe like an equivalent set of MCTS for each product, and an equivalent MCP for Expression Studio.

    In our team, all of these folks are coming from a Flash / Adobe / Apple background.  Somes have certifications in those fields, but as a company, we would like to make the move towards more Expressions products.

    Thank you for reading

  51. Hi Patrick,

    I’m glad to hear that your company wants to move to Expressions.  These are great products.  I’m no expert on them but I have been using them some lately and I really like them.

    You may also be glad to hear that we are talking with the Expression folks about certifications.  So far, we have discussed exams for Web and Blend.  Stay tuned for further information on these exams.


  52. Januar says:


    I’m pretty sure this question has already been asked many times but I couldn’t get an answer for it.

    Is there any plan for Master certification on Visual Studio? I.e. more advanced than MCPD. In short, If i’ve already got MCPD, what’s the next available options/level?


  53. Hi Januar,

    At this time, there is no MCM for developers.  There are some discussions around this but no plans are in place yet and likely won’t be for a some time yet, ( a couple years at least).

    For now, the MCPD is the highest you can go in the developer discipline.


  54. Ian Coll (London) says:

    Basically you seem to have got it right so good job.

    Just want to clear up the "Enterprise" issue. I do this stuff writing services for trading systems in banks n stuff so I think WCF is gonna cover that core content at MCTS level. You basically dont need a MCPD for Enterprise – so don’t have one. I think that BOTH the Web + Windows MCPD need to have some element of WCF/ADO that is shared between them. Any developer with experience will have dabbled in DB/Remoting techs regardless of their Web or Windows affinity.

    Anyway nice to see you’re involving everyone n looking at job sites. I don’t have the Ent cert under my belt so i prolly don’t know what i’m talking about but let me know what u think.

  55. Ian Coll (London) says:

    Oh and I can’t believe ur getting rid of 70-536 fundamentals. That stuff is pretty hardcore gets people used to the framework like they should be comfortable with it. It’s go sooo much stuff in that’s needed by a dev:

    – TYPES/COLLECTION… must have

    – THREADING/APPDOMS… must have

    – SERIALISATION/IO… must have

    – SECURITY… must have (toned down for 4.0 cuz of CAS)

    – GLOBALIZATION/TEXT… must have

    that’s like 75% of the 70-536 where’s it all gonna go?!?! I wouldn’t dream of working with someone who didn’t know all this. I hope u didn’t drop the exam cause people said it was too tough that’s just lame.

  56. Thanks for you posts Ian.

    The reason we dropped 70-536 has more to do with the strategic alignment of the exams to credentials plus the fact that developers have been using the .NET Framework for some time now.

    No, we did not drop it because people said it was too tough.  I wouldn’t drop an exam for that reason.  I would try to make more like it.  🙂

    At any rate, my thinking is that these core fundamentals have a place in any development project whether it be Web apps, WPF or business logic.  As a result, when we start creating the new exams, I will be making a push to create questions that cover not just the technology for the exam, such as WCF, but also including core concepts in each question where appropriate.


  57. Tom says:


    So could you tell me whether i should make 70-536 if i’m planning to certificate for MCTS Windows Developer or MCPD WIndows Developer – will it count somehow or people with 70-536 will have to pass new exams for .NET 4.0 certification?

    So should i take it or it’s better to wait for new exams?

    And when will they be available?



  58. Hi Tom,

    The business side of me says "Yes, take 70-536."

    The logical and rational side of me says, "Only if you plan to certify on .NET 2.0 or 3.5.  You will need to have 70-536 for any certification on those versions.  If you want to certify on .NET 4.0, then you will have to wait until we release those in the middle of next year but you won’t have to take 70-536 for the .NET 4.0 certifications.


  59. Peter Lindberg Iversen says:

    Hi Gerry.

    I just stubled over this – and have a question. What the thoughts on a new Team Foundation Server cert? It feels a bit odd taking the 2005 exam at this point :)Any idea when/if there will be an exam for 2010?

  60. Hi Peter,

    There are no plans to create a new TFS exam for 2010 at this time.

    We will be evaluating the necessary requirements for TFS as well as build and test tasks etc.


  61. Mike says:


    First I should say thanks for posting this info(new exam data).  

    The MCTS in Web is too bloated, so I don’t think more front-end (jquerry, silverlight, etc) should be added.  The backend should be removed (ADO, etc).  Mobile should be removed.  The MVC framework and pattern should only be touched upon, as that is a totally seperate beast in my opinion.  Perhps some basics on the pattern, naming controllers, and some common HTML controls, but that’s it. Silverlight should definately not be added.  Having a tid bit of silverlight is only making the certificaiton watered down and really that tech needs to be part of a Blend/Silverlight mix, or its own.  I know everyone keeps saying the latter can’t be done because the tech changes so fast, so why put it in the web developer (not silverlgith deeloper) exam when the web 4.0 will stick around far longer than the SL flavor of the month?  I’d rather see javascript or css added to a web deverloper exam before silverlight ever gets added.

    For the MCPD in Web I’d like to see some SQL basics added.  Maybe some basics of web services (WCF). How can a PD not know how to consume a basic service or extract some simple data from a DB? Just more on how to build an enterprise system and when to use techs and why they are used: middleware, sql server, sharepoint, WCF, silverlgiht, etc.  A Professional Developer should know how to build a system on MS stack.  They don’t need to know all of these techs, but some 30kft knowledge should be required.  More on testing, requirements gathering techniques, more on UML diagrams, SRS, and maye other SWEEBOK skills/areas.  

    Note this is all from an mcpd 2.0 perspective, as I’ve not looked into 3.5 so much.  I know many of the things I mentioned are already there, and some things I want I did not mention.

  62. Mike says:

    Not sure why me last post didn’t go through, but here goes another one….

    I have mcpd/mcts web 2.0 certs; will I be able to upgrade directly to 4.0 or do I have to go the way of 3.5 first?


  63. Mike says:

    Sorry, last one.  It is a huge mistake to remove a fundamentals exam such as 70-536. You can’t mix all those objectives in with the technology specific exams (web, win forms, etc).  Generics, dynamic typing in 4.0, basic c#/coding skills (loops, objects, etc), terminology, are all very much needed skills for ‘programmers’ and need their own cert.  This should be similar to the SCJP’s focus, but more like how the current 70-536 is(knowledge of .config, serilization, etc).

    Thanks, Gerry, for giving me a voice!! 😉  I appreciate it, even if it doens’t make any difference.

  64. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the comments.

    One thing to keep in mind is that I do not decide what goes on the exam.  We have a group of your peers here to decide that.

    As a matter of fact, the Web MCTS was designed last week and includes some of your concerns already.  The only data access components that will be present will deal with binding data to the interface.  The ADO.NET exam is there for data access technologies.

    In the same way, we are creating the WCF exam this week so the core of WCF is covered seperate from the Web exam.  

    Look for the prep guides to be on the web site by the end of the year.  Then you can get an idea as to what has been added to the exam.


  65. Mike,

    For upgrade exams, we do not allow a direct upgrade over two versions.

    This means you need to be certified on 3.5 first before you can upgrade to 4.  We make that somewhat easy with upgrade exams for each version so the number of exams required are reduced.


  66. Hi again Mike,

    In reference to 70-536, this will be addressed next year.  There are too many issues with the current 536 exam from my perspective and I won’t go into too much detail here.  Not that the exam is terrible, but the concepts covered and what is deemed "fundamental" is open to interpretation.

    We have various reasons for removing that exam from the future .NET cert path but know that there will be something done to address the core .NET fundamental needs.  Not everyone will agree with what we are doing, but then again, that’s impossible anyway.  🙂

    Stay tuned.


  67. Dan T says:

    I know you don’t really care but getting rid of the 70-536 is a terrible idea.

    I agree with you that the 70-536 is NOT a "fundamentals" course. It is more like a "functionality" course. I think the issue is simply terminology. That’s all.

    I know a couple of employees who have this cert and it is really apparent how the ones who haven’t taken this exam really need hand-holding to navigate around real world code. Maybe just coincidence but there is value in the 70-536 I think.

    On the one hand I can see that you want to get people certified quickly in Web or WCF maybe. But on the other hand I’d rather employ a person with depth of knowledge than specific knowledge. I think that sums up what I’m saying.

    Maybe keep 70-536 just stop making it a pre-requisite.

    Just a suggestion. Thanks anyway.

  68. Hey Dan,

    A couple of points.

    1) I do care.  However, getting rid of it is not a terrible idea in my opinion.  Plus, I have other plans that I haven’t divulged yet.  🙂

    2) 70-536 is not a course.  It’s an exam.  🙂

    3) It’s not simply a terminology thing.  The exam covers only a small portion of the .NET Framework.  Plus, it covers some obscure items that are not technically "foundational".  ie SMTP is not core to .NET programming.

    It might be coincidence that those employees know more .NET than the others and that they passed this exam.  It could also be that in studying for the exam, they learned more than the others.

    As for getting people certified quickly, that’s not our intention.  A simpler path to certification is.

    So, without divulging too much, I am always considering the developer certifications and how to make them more relevant and important to developers.  Developer certifications run less than 1/4 of Windows-based certifications.  

    I am working on ways to bring performance-based testing to developer certs, ie no more multiple choice question exams for implementation details such as the MCTS exams.

    I’m also looking at what it would mean to certify someone on .NET, plain and simple.  Then allow them to use technology specific testlets as a form of technology skills proof and/or continuing education credits for recertification requirements.

    Lots of ideas spinning in this old bean of mine, but nothing formal or concrete yet.

    Regardless, I appreciate the comments and suggestions.  And once again, I do care.  That’s the reason this blog is here and the reason it is open and not censored.

    Well, perhaps censored for the posts where people are asking for brain dumps.  🙂


  69. Tanya says:

    Do you know when these exams will be available in South Africa?  We want to do the .Net certification, but don’t want to do the 2008 exams if the 2010 exams are coming out in the near future.

  70. Hi Tanya,

    The exams will launch simultaneously, worldwide.  There are a couple of country exceptions but they do not affect South Africa.

    The timeframe will be around March and the full notice will be coming out shortly.


  71. Eric Roosendaal says:

    What I would really like to see is a ".net fundamentals" exam. This would cover several slightly advanced programming features (such as overloading, inheritance, delegates, interfaces) and a lot of basic framework stuff. No zipstreams, reflection, cryptography or regular expressions, those are either too specific or too advanced. But it would include generics, File I/O, serialization, threads and some localization. The exam would be either C# or VB.

    I think this is an exam many companies would love to see, because it gives them a tool to measure whether their aspiring programmers know their basic stuff before going into more specialized topics. It would not be too hard to design such an exam, and since the basics hardly ever change it would not need to be updated either.

    I’ve been wondering why such an exam does not exist.

  72. Eric,

    Thanks for the comments.  You have valid points and I am in agreement with them.

    At this time, there will not be an exam for .NET fundamentals.  

    We are evaluating the need for new exams all the time which means this topic is not out of scope, but for the immediate future, we will not be creating one.


  73. Fawad R. Siddiqui says:

    Hi Gerry.

    I have following few questions:

    Will Pakistan be included in the simultaneous launching of these exams world wide?

    When will the MS press books be available for these exams? or we can see respective 3.5 framework books?

    Will the exam 70-536 for 3.5 framework still serve as a prerequisite for any of these MCTS certifications?

  74. Hi Fawad,

    When the exams release in their live version, they will be available worldwide, including Pakistan.

    I don’t currently have any dates on the books for these exams, sorry.  You can use some of the 3.5 books but you need to be certain you understand what new material is covered on the exam that is not present in the previous training kits.

    Exam 70-536 will not be a prerequisite for the .NET 4 exams.


  75. Fawad R. Siddiqui says:

    Thanks for the response.

    When will these exams be available in live version for registration? Can you give any probable date or month?


  76. Fawad,

    End of June is the current release date for these exams.


  77. Tim Kelley says:

    I’m reading Matthew McDonald’s Pro Silverlight 3 and it’s huge!  

    I think it’s unfair to the development community and Silverlight to pack all that into the web exam.

    There needs to be a MCTS for Silverlight!

    Please tell me this will change!


  78. Chester says:


    Here is my idea for future MCPD-EA.

    7 Core Exams:

    – MCTS Exam 1: C#/VB

    – MCTS Exam 2: .NET Framework

    – MCTS Exam 3: Winforms & WPF

    – MCTS Exam 4: ASP.NET (refactor both client & server side)

    – MCTS Exam 5: WCF

    – MCTS Exam 6: ADO.NET

    – MCTS Exam 7: TFS

    One Design Exam:

    – Exam 8: Design

    One Elective:

    – MCTS Exam: Enterprise Library

    – MCTS Exam: WF

    – MCTS Exam: F#

    – MCTS Exam: Mobile

    – etc.

    I just have one question though, do you have plans including .NET in MCM and MCA paths? I wish if we could raise the level of abstraction.



  79. Hi Tim,

    I want to be clear on one aspect out of the gate.  The Web developer exam is not and will not be a Silverlight certification.  We don’t indicate it will be.  We merely state that some Silverlight coverage is in the exam.

    Does there "need" to be a Silverlight exam?  Perhaps.  Are we creating one?  Not in the immediate future.

    Currently, the Silverlight development cycle for product version releases is shorter than my exam development cycle which means that by the time I get an exam designed and in market, the next version of Silverlight is released making the exam obsolete before you even take it.

    We are evaluating a Silverlight certification on an ongoing basis and will only create one when it makes logical sense to do so.  It must benefit the community and the product before it will be created.


  80. Hi Chester,

    Thanks for you thoughts and cert plan layout.  As I mentioned before, we are evaluating what an Enterprise developer truly is.  It doesn’t always mean someone that can pass all of our exams.  For it to have meaning in the marketplace, it must address a job role or need.  Still some research to do before we truly identify what an Enterprise Developer means.

    As for the layout you have here, one aspect that won’t work is the use of electives.  This creates a complex certification path and doesn’t make it easy for employers to determine what qualifications a candidate has.

    Your plan above calls for a total of 9 exams, 7 core + 1 design + 1 elective.  At the current USD prices, that means a candidate must spend at least $1125 on just exams, if they pass them all the first time around.  This doesn’t factor in training kit or other study materials costs.  I’m not convinced that developers are willing to spend that amount of money on a certification.   Our past track record on the MCPD Enterprise certs support my theory.  They are the among the lowest numbers in terms of deliveries that we have in our portfolio of exams.

    For your last question, the MCM program is considering a developer track but there are no firm dates or rollout plans yet.  MCA is open to pretty much any and all technologies, Microsoft or not, so there is room for .NET in the MCA portion.  


  81. John says:

    Could you please provide an updated 70-536 exam for .Net Framework 4.0? There are so many necessary things in there that it does not seem to make any sense to drop this exam and shove the material into some other exam. Thanks for listening.

  82. Hi John,

    Thanks for the comment.

    At this time, we will not be creating a new exam to replace 70-536.  Sorry.


  83. John says:


    It looks like you are going to combine WinForms and WPF into one exam. I think it would be a good idea put WinForms and WPF into two separate exams. Everything that I have read online and heard from talking to the local  Microsoft Developer Evangelists says that WinForms is a legacy technology, where it will be maintained, but not upgraded.

    However, if you go ahead and combine WinForms and WPF into one examination anyway, will you split them into two separate examinations in the future? And if so, when? Maybe for Visual Studio 2012? And since I am not interested in WinForms, should I skip the VS 2010 and .NET 4.0 exam cycle?

    Thanks much for helping me to plan ahead.

    I am very serious about staying with MS for my career, and I have to budget the limited time that I have for studying.

  84. Hi John,

    The exam is known as Windows Applications which means it is intended to test on applications that will run on Windows developed using Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.

    Yes, there is a small amount of Windows Forms on this exam but only where it makes sense, as in where WPF doesn’t have an equivalent.  If you look at the Skills Measured section on the prep guide, you will see the coverage listed.

    These will never again be seperate exams and in the next version, I fully suspect it to be all WPF.


  85. Chester says:


    Thanks for your reply. Well, I know you could find the right skills for the enterprise certification soon. Just one to add though, I think the major aspects to consider here also in the enterprise are continuous integration/dev tools, aspect programming, performance, testability, and security. Validating the .net core skills through exams, talking about .NET Framework, Winforms/WPF, ASP.NET, ADO.NET and WCF are not enough to be ready at that level.

    Once you are in the enterprise environment you have other things to consider like how to handle .net automated builds, testing, debugging, fixing, as well looking at the performance and security issues. In addition to that, when you look at your solution there are varieties of .net codes wrap into higher level of abstraction like enterprise security, enterprise library, design patterns and software factories plus different tier interfaces on same or different platforms. There are called enterprise job scheduling, enterprise data model and deployed to many/complex environments locally/globally.

    The MCPD-EA certification doesn’t really prepare you as an enterprise developer at all. I picture it like a MCPD-Distributed App rather as "enterprise". It’s like another category of MCPD-Windows and MCPD-Web.

    In my opinion, if I’m the employer I would highly recommend it or require employees. And if I’m the employee even it takes time and cost, I would still take it into consideration to balance tradeoffs between money and hot skill value.  After all, it’s a win-win scenario for my career, and performance. For the employer it would speed up its business, and enterprise architecture.

    Hope to see the new enterprise soon. I have no more.



  86. Hi Chester,

    I agree with your points above.  Enterprise is more than what we have included in the past, which is also the reason I didn’t create an MCPD Enterprise this time around.

    Our research shows skills at the enterprise level encompass those you have listed above as well as others.

    Hence the complexity in creating a credential that meets the needs of the industry while effectively testing the necessary skills and knowledge.  At the same time, we don’t want to set up an impossible barrier to acquire the credential.

    Stay tuned for our thoughts and considerations on this credential as we move forward.  It’s not off the radar yet.


  87. Jeff says:

    Hi there,

    I just want to ask a question about the upgrade exam:

    Supposing I am holding a MCPD: 3.5 Enterprise Developer, which means I meanwhile have the 4 MCTS certificates (ASP, ADO, WCF and WinForm)

    If take the upgrade exam to upgrade my MCPD 3.5 to MCPD Web Developer 4, Is that mean I will obtain one MCPD web developer 4, and also MCTS ASP.NET 4, ADO.NET 4 and WCF 4??

    Many thanks.

  88. Hi Jeff,

    Yes, that is correct.  Sucessfully passing one of the upgrade exams from 3.5 to 4 does award you the MCPD credential along with the 3 MCTS credentials that coincide with that MCPD.


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