.NET Framework 3.5 Certifications

If there is one thing you should know about Visual Studio 2008 certifications... it is that there are three things you should know.

  1. There are six MCTS certifications to choose from to show off your specific technology skill set. Three of those six can be earned today.
  2. There are three MCPD certifications to choose from to show off your professional-skills in the area of ASP.NET, Windows, or Enterprise Application development (same paths we had for Visual Studio 2005*). None of those can be earned yet.
  3. All of the above require exam 70-536 as a first step. 70-536 is 'version agnostic;' that same exam applies to Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 certifications
  4. If you are working with .NET 2.0--we recommend you should work on a .NET 2.0 certification. Those are not going away just because the .NET 3.5 stuff is coming out, so don't freak out.

Four. Four things you should know.


Now here are some more things.



YOU: Damn, that seems like a lot of certifications!

ME: Yes, it does seem like a lot, and it makes sense that way. One of the main reasons for breaking our certifications up in to smaller, more targeted chunks (via MCTS series certifications) is so certification makes sense to more people. Most Microsoft customers do not need, or intend, to earn every certification. The paths are very short. They are on ONE technology. The name makes it pretty clear to a hiring manager what you know. You can earn a certification in two exams to show that you know what's up with new stuff, like WPF. Or give yourself an achievable goal if you're starting out as a web developer. Or put a few of those together, or go on to earn a professional-series certification (which, because of the shorter paths, are still reasonable--i.e. comparable to or shorter than the classic MCP certs--numbers of exams). The idea is to have choices--and pick something that makes sense for each individual, rather than having us dictate (when not everyone's job or career interest is the same, and new technology is coming out quickly). PS, yes I know the situation is different for MCTs.

ME: Thank you.


  • The betas for 71-561 (ADO.NET) and 71-562 (ASP.NET) are still open through May 4. If you want to participate, see Gerry's blog. Make sure you register for "71" and not "70" because there is no "70" yet.
  • Sounds like people are starting to get results from the 502, 503, 504 betas... there was a delay (in case you hadn't noticed) on getting those out before the live date. But I just saw on an internal thread that someone got their results.
  • There are offers and training content available now, including some free e-learning and a free e-book. Find it here.


*You might notice that in the 2005 certs, we had MCTS: Web and MCPD: Web Developer. In the 2008 certs, we have MCTS: ASP.NET and MCPD: ASP.NET Developer. My understanding from Jeff is that we changed to make it very clear that we are certifying on web development skills with Microsoft, rather than all-around any-platform web development.

**I posted this to my Sky Drive. Can you download it? Does it work? I've never tried that before. It was very easy. Sky Drive told me, "Are you bored waiting for your file to upload? here, play this little game." And it was a ball in a square and you kind of bounced it around and it was actually pretty distracting. Move over Live Writer... I see a Sky Drive tube top in my future.

***If you are interested enough in certification to be reading this blog, you are possibly one of the "some" to whom I'm referring. Exceptions: Mary, Tyler, and Megan.

Comments (37)
  1. tarul@hotmail.com says:


    Regarding Beta Results for 71-50x:

    Prometric has updated results for 71-502 WPF (on 4/16/08), 70-503 WCF and 70-504 WinWF today. It takes about a day after prometric publishes the result for the MCP site to get updated.

    On the MCPD: Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 page, the pre-requisites for MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 lists MCTS: Windows Forms, MCTS:ASP.NET, MCTS:ADO.NET and MCTS:WCF.

    It also shows (2 exams) near each MCTS. Though it is technically correct, it is a little bit misleading in this context as it seems like you need 8 exams as pre-requisites for MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5, whereas you need only 5 – 70-536 being common for all the MCTS. I understand that anyone clicking the links and looking at the MCTS requirements will be able to figure this out, though.

  2. tarul@hotmail.com says:


    The link to skydrive takes to the home page of SkyDrive.

  3. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    That was on purpose! The link the document is up in the post.

    Thanks for the comments on the other bits, will pass that on.

  4. tarul@hotmail.com says:

    I am sorry I rushed with my comment! Your intention sure is obvious!

  5. Bryant Likes says:

    Okay I’m trying to understand all this, but there is one thing I’m not clear on.

    To get any of the exams it states we need to pass 70-536, which was required for MCPD: EA 2.0. However, what if we didn’t actually take this exam but instead took the two upgrade exams? Do we still get credit for this exam or do we have to take this exam (which in theory we already passed)?

    The other thing that isn’t clear is how we can upgrade by taking the individual tests instead of the upgrade exams. Since you didn’t provide the upgrade exams in beta I’m guessing a lot of people took (and some probably passed) the individual exams. Will they have the option to upgrade?

    BTW – I was able to download the PDF but it seemed to be missing a lot of the graphics. Wasn’t very useful (or maybe it is just because I’m using Foxit PDF reader).

  6. Pavel Minaev says:

    > All of the above require exam 70-536 as a first step.

    This doesn’t seem to be fully correct, since it’s not required for any of the MCPD 2005 -> MCPD 2008 upgrade tracks.

  7. Matt Eland says:

    > This doesn’t seem to be fully correct, since it’s not required for any of the MCPD 2005 -> MCPD 2008 upgrade tracks.

    MCPD 2005 Required 70-536 before any 2005 MCTS can be earned (which is a prereq for an MCPD)

  8. Alice says:

    Hrm… SkyDrive looks pretty cool, but the ‘Download’ button doesn’t seem to do anything when I click on it. I also get a JavaScript error that ‘dapMgr’ is undefined. Other links such as ‘Embed’ work fine.

  9. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    Bryant, good questions. Not sure yet.

    Alice and Bryant, the PDF is working for me. I can e-mail it to you if you’re desperate or you can hang out until it gets "officially" posted on MSCOM/learning.

  10. Alice says:

    Eh, I guess I’ll wait. When it does become available for download from the MSL site, please include the link in a new post so that we don’t have to keep checking this old one without alerts. πŸ™‚

  11. Microsoft Learning has introduced the new Visual Studio 2008 certifications, although these exams are

  12. Martin says:

    Thank you for this information. What I don’t understand is why the Windows MCPD is still based on Forms. Since WPF is the client UI technology de jour and supersedes Windows Forms a .NET 3.5 Windows Professional Developers should have (in my opinion) knowledge on WPF. For those still using Forms the 2.0 certifications will suffice.

  13. Meile Zetstra says:


    In the VSMap.PDF file there must be some mistake. It states that the exam for MCPD-EAD 3.5 is numbered 070-565, where as it also states that the upgrade exam for MCPD-Windows Developer to MCPD-Windows Developer 3.5 is also numbered 070-565. Seems a little odd to me.



  14. gerryo says:

    This is a reply to Bryant’s post about exam 70-536 and the upgrade paths.

    70-536 is required for any MCTS on .NET 2.0 or 3.5.  This means it is also a requirement for the MCPD and upgrade paths as well.  Here’s where it gets a little confusing though.

    The upgrade exams include components from 70-536 so when you pass the upgrade, you get credit for 70-536 which will carry forward to other certifications. SO the answer to your first question Bryant is, yes, you still get credit.

    If you take the individual exams, there is no need to upgrade.  They are two mutually exclusive paths.  You either take all the exams required, or you take the upgrade path.  There is no need to take both.  Unless I misunderstand your last question about, "Will they have the option to upgrade?"


  15. tarul@hotmail.com says:

    The upgrade exams seem to be off by 1 in the PDF. The MSCOM/learning page lists 70-565 as the PRO exam for EAD 3.5 and lists the upgrade exams as 70-566 to 70-569 (instead of 70-565 to 70-568 in the pdf).

  16. Natalie says:

    Hm, are the WKs for .Net 3.5 certifications ready? Seems they’re not orderable at the moment…

  17. gerryo says:

    This is a reply to Martin’s post about WPF and Windows Forms.

    While I agree with you Martin that WPF is being positioned as the desktop development platform moving forward, I also disagree that it needs to be the sole technology for Windows development.

    Although Microsoft is moving towards this goal and vision, we are not there yet.  The decision to create the Windows Forms exam for .NET 3.5 was made by myself and my Product Manager after much discussion.  Here are the two main reasons why it exists.

    1) Microsoft has been accused, in the past, of forcing people into the technologies that we create.  While I don’t agree with this 100%, I do see how that can be perceived.  To that end, I don’t believe in forcing developers to certify on a technology that they are not going to implement right away.  What do you tell the developer who is writing apps that will run on the server platform?  "You have to learn WPF and create fancy presentation apps for the server platform."  That doesn’t sound right.  I wanted to ensure adequate coverage for all developers, not just the cutting edge ones.

    2) There will continue to be mainstream apps developed for the business customers that do not or will not run hardware to support apps written in WPF.  Do we exclude them from the certification field?  Not a good move is you ask me.  There still exists, and will for some time, many developers who will continue to use the standard Windows UI components that we have known as developers since the GUI became mainstream.

    So, in a nutshell, I am to blame for the existence of a Windows Forms exam for .NET 3.5.  There may be one for as long as System.Windows.Forms exists.  I will reevaluate these decisions for each new release and will use the features and industry requirements to drive my decisions as to which exams will be created.  

    I take my feedback from the community and the developers that I interact with on a regular basis, from outside Microsoft, to help me understand where industry trends are going.  I just don’t see WPF supplanting Windows Forms wholesale at this time.  There is room in market for both.

    Comments and suggestions are welcome.


  18. Martin says:

    Hello Gerry,

    thank you for your reply. I agree that there will still be a need for Windows Forms applications (and therefore developers) in the future. So a MCTS in Windows Forms is fine. Since there are not that many changes in Forms from 2.0 to 3.5 the need for a new version stays questionable to me – maybe a renaming would be more adequate. But yes, getting a certificate in Forms is still very valuable.

    My comment was about the MCPD Windows. Your current plan seems to be that this certificate is based on Forms alone (and the MCTS WPF has no relation to the PD level). Since the PD certificates concentrate on concepts and design topics I really expect that people claiming to be 3.5 Windows Developers have some knowledge in WPF (at least enough to make an informed decision between Forms and WPF).

    Developers concentrating on Forms can still take the 2.0 exams. They will do well with Visual Studio 2008.


  19. JacobG says:


    Maybe we could have another MCPD to include WPF.

    MCPD Windows Developer + MCTS WPF = MCP Super Windows Developer.


  20. tarul@hotmail.com says:

    It would have been great if WPF was included as a requirement for the MCPD Windows.

    Likewise, Windows Workflow could have been included as a requirement for MCPD EAD 3.5. Since, the trend in Enterprise Development is to have some kind of Business Process/Workflow in apps, and with MS’ own inclusion of WF in WSS/MOSS and the upcoming Oslo, requiring an Enterprise developer to know Workflow won’t be abnormal. Currently, most Enterprise applications have some form of hardcoded/in-house workflow.

  21. tarul@hotmail.com says:


    I understand your position – you need to make decisions based on industry feedback.


    >> 1) Microsoft has been accused, in the past, of forcing people into the technologies that we create.

    I don’t see anything wrong with pushing the technologies. That is the whole point of Vendor Certifications – Promoting the technologies through skilled professionals, right? If I don’t want to use that technology, then I don’t want the certification either.

    In my opinion, WPF should have been a requirement for MCPD Windows 3.5 as that is the new technology with 3.x. For those who don’t want WPF, MCPD Windows 2.0 would suffice.

  22. Matt Varblow says:

    I understand your two points about the usefulness of a Windows Forms exam.  However, I don’t understand why that is the only possible foundation for the MCPD Windows Developer.  Given your arguments, wouldn’t it make more sense to have the MCPD require either the WinForm or the WPF exam?

    In our company we’re encouraging developers to follow the certification path all the way to MCPD EA.  We’d also like them to take the WPF exam.  However, the WPF exam is currently a dead-end.  You can’t build on it to step into a MCPD certification like you could with the WinForms or the ASP.NET exams.  This is unfortunate since the Windows client development for our business app vNext will be WPF based.

  23. sean lohbeck says:

    Do you know when 70-528 will be retired?



  24. James Foster says:

    I too am surprised that the MCPD enterprise certification requires WinForms. While WPF is not a complete replacement for WinForms today, it is a very viable alternative to using WinForms for client development. At my company, almost all of our new client development is using WPF, and we do not forsee training developers on WinForms going forward.

    My suggestion is to allow developers to earn MCPD: Enterprise certification via a choice of a client development technology by either obtaining WinForms or WPF certification.

  25. Michael says:

    Hi Trika!

    In .net 2.0, Pro exams there was a heavy focus on testing, design and the theoretical part of software development. When I check the prep-guide for the .net 3.5 pro exams, I don’t find any of those in there.

    Did MS completely remove those aspects of the pro certification in .net 2.0?

    Thanks, Michael

  26. Bill says:

    The WPF vs Windows Forms in MCPD 3.5 debate is interesting to me. I also expected the MCPD Windows Dev to require WPF. I understand that one doesn’t require knowledge of WPF (at this time) to be a professional VS2008/.net 3.5 windows desktop developer. I think my main question then (I am currently MCDP 2005 Windows Dev btw) is why should I upgrade to the 3.5 MCPD Windows dev? What am I learning besides how to open Visual Studio 2008 instead of 2005? Is there a heavy does of LINQ at least in the new MCPD?

    Frankly, from what I’ve seen, I might as well just put a 3.5 on my MCPD Windows Dev logo and call it a day. As far as the MCTS Window Forms 3.5 test, what could the possible difference be? The new property added to the OpenFileDialog?

  27. A Note about the ASP.NET 3.5 Pro Exam Prep Guide

  28. trikah@microsoft.com says:

    β€œHi Michael,

    This is Gerry O’Brien, the Product Planner for these exams.

    I think there is just simply an interpretation misunderstanding of what the prep guides are showing.

    The pro level exams will continue to test the design style questions.  Software testing and SDLC such as MSF do not form a part of these exams and will be covered in seperate exams that we have planned for later.

    Hope that answers your questions.

    Gerry” (http://blogs.msdn.com/gerryo)

  29. gerryo says:


    Thanks for your comments.  This is Gerry O’Brien, Technical Product Planner for developer certifications at Microsoft.

    We have been through discussions with the product groups internal to Microsoft as well as some of our certified professionals like yourself around this issue.

    The decision to create a Windows Forms exam for .NET 3.5 was mine and I will rationalize that for you here.

    Although WPF is positioned to be the preferred desktop or rich client development platform, there is one simple fact that remains.  Not everybody will develop for the desktop or server using WPF because current hardware in organizations does not support WPF or it is not required on server based applications.

    Another consideration is quite simply that we have people who are entering the developer market for the first time and using .NET 3.5.  If you were one of those developers, how would you feel if you wanted to certify on Windows Forms development but were told you had to take an exam that was on 2.0?

    The simple facts and truth are that Windows Forms have not gone away and developers who will not move to WPF yet, should not be forced to take an exam or study materials that are not relevant for their job or tasks.

    Will this change in .NET 4.0?  Likely.  To what?  I’m working on that now.

    You will find coverage of LINQ on the ADO.NET exam only at this time.

    As for what’s new or different?  I suggest you read the What’s New section of the documentation.  Although there are not a lot of new features for Windows Forms in 3.5, there are some new areas and those will be covered on the new exam along with material from the existing exam.

    Remember, it’s not for those who are upgrading as much as it is for those who are entering the certification field.

    BTW, the policy for the logo does not allow you to modify it.  Plus, your transcript will not show Windows Forms 3.5.  But I think you know that already.  πŸ™‚


  30. Bill says:

    Thanks for the response Gerry. I noticed you posted more on this topic on your blog. For me, as a current 2005 MCPD, I think this line is key:

    "Remember, it’s not for those who are upgrading as much as it is for those who are entering the certification field."

    I am fine with this provided that the .net 4.0 MCPD Windows cert will provide an upgrade path from the 2.0. Somehow I doubt that will be the case, forcing me to take a (meaningless?) upgrade test to ensure an upgrade path to the (meaningful) 4.0 cert.

    As an aside, I am aware of the logo policies πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for taking the time to provide your reasoning on the 3.5 cert contents.

  31. 70-536 Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Application Development Foundation Exam

  32. Matt Varblow says:


    Your response to Bill makes sense if you limit it to the question of "why even have a WinForms 3.5 cert?"  

    However, I think you’re missing another important question: "Why does the next level cert (MCPD enterprise) build on WinForms?"  Based on the discussion I’ve seen, it seems that it should build on a choice of WPF OR WinForms.  Why force people to train on WinForms instead of WPF to achive the MCPD enterprise cert?  Why not give them a choice?  In our organization, we’re encouraging our developers to train on WPF instead of WinForms going forward.  Your certification structure makes it harder for us to do that.

  33. gerryo says:

    Hi Matt,

    It’s always a tradeoff and while we try to cover as much as possible, we can never satisfy everybody and meet all possible needs.  

    We decided that for .NET 3.5, this was the way it would be based on the fact that people will still be developing Windows Forms based applications.

    For .NET 4.0, that will likely change and we will revisit it at that time.  In the 4.0 timeframe, WPF will be more prevalent and market penetration will be greater.

    As for forcing people to train on Windows Forms, we aren’t.  Windows Forms has been the defacto desktop standard for how many years now?  The only people who aren’t up to speed are those who have not been developing on it at all.

    WPF is the new technology in the mix and to make that a requirement would force people to train on WPF.

    Again, for the .NET 3.5 landscape, Windows Forms is the current desktop technology for Enterprise.  Will we revisit the decision and provide an option?  That is entirely possible but it creates another credential or a credential with a specialty.  Feedback from the industry indicated the need to simplify the certifications and credentials.  


  34. Matt Varblow says:


    A few comments:

    > We decided that for .NET 3.5, this was the

    > way it would be based on the fact that

    > people will still be developing Windows

    > Forms based applications.

    Sounds like an assumption (or generalization at least) that doesn’t apply to us.  We’re not developing in WinForms.

    > For .NET 4.0, that will likely change and we

    > will revisit it at that time.  In the 4.0

    > timeframe, WPF will be more prevalent and

    > market penetration will be greater.

    Glad to hear it.  We’re beginning our push to .NET/WPF now, but better late than never!

    > As for forcing people to train on Windows

    > Forms, we aren’t.  Windows Forms has been

    > the defacto desktop standard for how many

    > years now?  The only people who aren’t up to

    > speed are those who have not been developing

    > on it at all.

    Well, that’s us!  So, if our developers want to go down the .NET certification path and achieve a higher level cert, then they will be forced to learn it.

    > WPF is the new technology in the mix and to

    > make that a requirement would force people

    > to train on WPF.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that you force anyone to use or train on WPF.  Currently you’re forcing WinForms for MCPD Enterprise.  I’d like to see it as a choice.  Change the MCPD Enterprise client requirement so it is satisfied by either WinForms or WPF.  I’m fine with a single certification that allows for that flexibility.  Personally, I don’t see the need for separate credentials or credentials + specialty if this choice is allowed.

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide some feedback!


  35. khushnood says:

    I want to be a certifyed person please help me

  36. GPS.net says:

    I have been inspired from something, and I have a question about the 70-536 exam. Does anybody know or hear that there is someone passed 70-536 at age 15, or Microsoft has statistics which indicating the youngest professional in .NET respectively the 70-536 exam who has passed? Is there any boy at age 15 with 70-536 exam ?

    Thank you,


  37. Ravi Kiran says:

    Where can I find prep guides for MCPD 2.0 Enterprise Application Developer to MCPD 3.5 equivalent – 70-568 and 70-569?

    Are the exams released/available?

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