MSCD – A New Certification with an Old Heart of GoldFebruary 8, 2013 at 9:07 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | 31 Comments
Disclaimer: Exam retirements are subject to change without notice. Please go to the official Microsoft Retired exams list to confirm or deny a specific test’s retirement date, as it may have changed since this post was originally published.
(Editor’s note: This post belongs to our ongoing series about the new generation of Microsoft certifications. See also Customer asks: Is now the time to study for Windows Server 2008 certification, or Server 2012?, Don’t wait to finish your MCTS or MCITP: Microsoft retiring exam tracks, and Everything old is new again: the MCSE and MCSA are dead (long live the MCSE and MCSA).)
Having wandered the wilderness of Java and CIW certification for some years, I didn’t move into Microsoft developer certs until about 2002. At that time, the MCSD (known then as Microsoft Certified SolutioN Developer) was a catch-all certification, requiring a wide array of Visual Basic, DCOM, and ASP knowledge. Its prestige was based on the complexity and intensity of the exam objectives, and not whether these skills were required by a specific job role in the real world. Most Microsoft developers I knew focused on a type of application, whether it was Windows- or Web-based — not the entire gamut of Microsoft developer technology.
For that reason, few developers were surprised when Microsoft announced new developer certifications for .NET that focused on skill sets related to actual job roles. This change occured during Microsoft’s overall revamp of its certifications that resulted in the demise of the Windows NT and Server 2003-era MCSE. The “next generation” developer certifications were branded as the TS (Technology Specialist) level exams and the newly minted MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer). But in doing away with the old MCSD, Microsoft also lost the recognition the acronym had gained over the years.
So what could Microsoft do but find a way to join those job roles with their former reputation, like some cheesy romantic comedy?
For 2012, enter the Microsoft Certification SolutionS Developer (noticed the new s?). The acronym is also MCSD, but each certification is focused on an application type.* That way you can have your MCSD and eat it, too.
*There is also a certification for Application Lifecycle Management, but this is a new area for the MCSD entirely.
What was old is new again and new technology is now grandfathered into the old framework. Somewhat like taking those old floppy drives in your garage earning you new YouTube hits with their mechanical gyrations …
Until next time,
–Josh Hester, codeguru