Time is running out to upgrade your MCPD Visual Studio 2008 (.NET 3.5) and earn the MCPD: Azure Developer

July 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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In a little under two weeks, the exams that allow you to upgrade your MCPD certifications in Visual Studio 2008 (the .NET Framework 3.5 technologies) will expire, never to return. But if you act between now and July 31, 2014, you can still sign up to take a single upgrade exam, and thereby pole-vault over the many MCTS 2010 requirements.

Exam 70-521:  If you already have a  MCPD: Windows Developer 3.5 or MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 certification, this exam upgrades you to Windows Developer 4.

Exam 70-523: If you already have a MCPD: ASP.NET Developer 3.5 or MCPD: Enterprise Application Developer 3.5 certification, this exam upgrades you to Web Developer 4.

To add an extra layer of confusion, Microsoft simplified (thankfully) the names for its Visual Studio 2010 certifications once it started developing the Visual Studio 2012 certifications. If you go to the exam detail pages, you’ll see the upgrade certifications called MCPD .NET 4 Windows Applications Developer and  MCPD .NET Framework 4 Web Developer; however, these correspond to the MCPD titles listed above.

Other Visual Studio exams expiring this month are:

  • Exam 70-506: TS: Silverlight 4, Development
  • Exam 70-512: TS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
  • Exam 98-362: Windows Development Fundamentals

This Azure Pro exam also expires in July. This exam is one of the four required to earn the MCPD: Microsoft Azure Developer certification (along with 70-513 and 70-516, which do not retire):

  • Exam 70-583: PRO: Designing and Developing Microsoft Azure Applications

Finally, it’s your last chance to upgrade your MCDST XP or EDST Vista certifications to Windows 7.

  • Exam 70-682: Pro: Upgrading to Windows 7 MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician

Happy testing!


MCTS, MCITP, MCPD: What is dead may never die, but rises again, more certified than before

August 14, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Just over a year ago, George posted a comprehensive list of the exams scheduled to retire on July 31, 2013, which can be summed up as “looks like practically everything.” For a while, it also appeared that all Visual Studio 2010 exams would expire last month.

However, Microsoft listened to customer feedback and extended, or suspended entirely, retirement of some of the more sought-after tests. Next, it turned out that the demise of the MCTS and MCITP was greatly exaggerated as well. While many of the exams for those technologies did expire, Microsoft softened the rollover by shifting many existing 2008 exams to the resurrected MCSE and MCSA certifications, and extended deadlines for certifying in key technologies into 2014.

These zombie tests have escaped the headsman’s axe… FOR NOW. We suggest you not delay your study plans, because by 2014 they may be going back into the grave, never to rise again.

What is dead may never die, but rises again, stronger than before....

What is dead may never die, but rises again, stronger than before….

When you play the game of certs, you upgrade….or you die

While most Visual Studio 2010 exams are gone, if you currently hold an MCPD certification on Visual Studio 2008, you can still upgrade your certifications to Visual Studio 2010.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0: Upgrade Paths
    • 70-521: Upgrade: Transition your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Windows Developer Skills to MCPD .NET 4.0 Windows Applications Developer. Exam retires July 31, 2014.
    • 70-523: Upgrade: Transition Your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Developer Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4 Web Developer. Exam retires July 31, 2014.

And although the component exams are retired, those who hold an MCSE on Windows Server 2003 can still take the three-in-one 70-649 to earn the triple home run of three MCTS (Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration, Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure Configuration, and Windows Server 2008 Application Platform Configuration ).

  •  Windows Server 2003 MSCE to Windows Server 2008 MCTS: Upgrade Path
    • 70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist (hurry; retires January 2014)


If you are still seeking the elusive one-test certification, the MCTS, these options are still alive and kicking. Expiration dates vary between January and July 2014, and in some cases are still listed as July 2013 on the individual exam pages, so please confirm availability with Microsoft or Prometric:

  • 70-177: Earns the MCTS: Microsoft Project Server 2010, Configuration
  • 70-433: Earns the MCTS: SQL Server 2008, Database Development
  • 70-506: Earns the MCTS: Silverlight 4, Development
  • 70-643: Earns the MCTS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuration (note: as of this writing, this exam is listed as expiring in the overview, but is shown as live until January 2014 on the Microsoft master list)
  • 70-659: Earns the Windows Server 2008 R2, Server Virtualization
  • 70-662: Earns the MCTS: Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Configuration
  • 70-667: Earns the MCTS: SharePoint 2010, Configuration
  • 70-669: Earns the MCTS: Windows Server 2008 R2, Desktop Virtualization
  • 70-681: Earns the MCTS: Windows 7 and Office 2010, Deployment

If you are still working toward an MCITP, these component exams have been extended until January 2014:

  • 70-450: PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing, Optimizing, and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution
  • 70-647: Pro: Windows Server 2008, Enterprise Administrator
  • 70-663: Pro: Designing and Deploying Messaging Solutions with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
  • 70-668: PRO: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Administrator
  • 70-682: Pro: Upgrading to Windows 7 MCITP Enterprise Desktop Support Technician
  • 70-693: Pro: Windows Server 2008 R2, Virtualization Administrator

Finally, although the component exams may have been salvaged and reassigned to different certifications, you only have until January 2014 to earn the MCITP or MCTS credential itself. After that date, even if the same exam is still active, it will count toward a different certification.

They’re Dead, Jim

These exams ARE RETIRED as of July 31, 2013. Requiescat in pace.

Windows Client:

70-270 – Installing, Configuring, and Administering Microsoft Windows XP Professional
70-620 – TS: Configuring Microsoft Windows Vista Client
70-622 – Pro: Microsoft Desktop Support – ENTERPRISE
70-623 – Pro: Microsoft Desktop Support – CONSUMER
70-635 – TS: Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2008, Desktop Deployment
70-660 – TS: Windows Internals
70-683 – TS: Windows 7, Preinstalling for OEMs

Windows Server:

70-169 – TS: Windows Small Business Server 7, Configuring
70-290 – Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment
70-291 – Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-293 – Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure
70-294 – Planning, Implementing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory Infrastructure
70-297 – Designing a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Active Directory and Network Infrastructure
70-298 – Designing Security for a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-299 – Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network
70-648 – Upgrading your MCSA on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
70-656 – TS: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Configuring
74-679 – Windows Server 2008 Hosted Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-690 – Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Configuring and Managing
70-691 – Windows Server 2008 HPC Environments, Developing
70-699 – Windows Server 2003, MCSA Security Specialization Skills Update

Visual Studio:

70-502 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Presentation Foundation
70-503 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Windows Communication Foundation
70-504 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Workflow
70-505 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Forms Application Development
70-536 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework – Application Development Foundation
70-561 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ADO.NET Application Development
70-562 – TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development
70-563 – Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
70-564 – PRO: Designing and Developing ASP.NET Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5
70-565 – PRO: Designing and Developing Enterprise Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

SQL Server, Lync, and Office Communications Server:

70-451 – PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Designing and Optimizing Database Solutions
70-452 – PRO: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Designing a Business Intelligence Solution
70-664 – TS: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Configuring
70-665 – PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator

The official list of retired Microsoft certification exams is here.

Can I have fries with that .NET upgrade?

December 1, 2008 at 9:35 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Editor’s note: In honor of the real Turkey Day, here’s the follow-up to Josh’s previous post detailing trends in Microsoft’s .NET certification paths.

If there’s one thing in which to have faith in this downward-spiraling economy, it’s two basic drives of the human soul: the entrepreneurial spirit, and the love of fast food. Ray Kroc would be a good example of such a spirit. Starting as a small-time franchisee of the little-known McDonald’s restaurant in 1953, Mr. Kroc would later take over the restaurant chain from brothers Dick and Mac McDonald and build a multi-billion dollar empire based on busy people’s need for cheap, highly fat-saturated food, served right to the window of your car while idling on precious gas fumes. Okay, uh, let’s drive through that example…

With more cars stalled on the economic highway, IT certification has become more valuable.* As fewer lanes are opening up, the need to merge into existing traffic has become even more treacherous. How do you stretch your certification bucks, with times being what they are? After seeing the banquet of .NET certification options spread out on the table (see previous post), overflowing with casseroles of TS (Technology Specialist) and PD (Professional Developer) certifications, you’re probably wondering if there’s a something akin to a certification drive-thru: quick, cheap, and highly saturated.

If you have the know-how (and a good practice test like Transcender) but not the stomach for a buffet, .NET upgrade exams just may be the answer. Since breaking down the MCAD and MCSD certification into the smaller TS and PD dishes, Microsoft has also been steadily building upgrade exams to ease the transition. The 550 series exams are value meals that provide instant certification gratification for those with the appetite. These upgrade exams are also cheaper than the full-length TS and PD exams, being only $75 apiece (that’s 40% off the original price).

(Click the diagram for a larger image.)

Microsoft .NET 2.0 Upgrade Paths

Microsoft .NET 2.0 Upgrade Paths

Continue Reading Can I have fries with that .NET upgrade?…

The New MS Certifications for Dummies

October 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Microsoft | Leave a comment
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Having outlined the basic types of IT certification exams, I’m now going tackle the current status of Microsoft certifications. This is directed at those of you who have been certified in the past and are thinking of brushing up, as well as first-time cert-seekers.

Roughly two years ago, Microsoft drastically altered their piece of the certification landscape. The monolithic and sought-after flagship brand certification, the MCSE, was replaced by a bewildering (to some) array of “job specific” certifications. Some IT professionals, career counselors, and employers are still trying to get a handle on this new series of certifications, which was revised again last month with the introduction of the Certified Master concept.

According to Microsoft, industry data showed that hiring managers disliked the MCSE concept, complaining that a MCSE title did not specify where, in the array of Microsoft products, a job seeker was actually proficient. To address this problem, MS created a new certification path designed to allow “specializations.” Without digging too deeply into all the certifications available (including upgrades and phase-outs), let’s look at the basic structure as it now stands.

The new series is organized in four levels meant to represent increasing capabilities in the technology. (There are four, even though they are represented in a three-tier graphic on the Microsoft Learning Web site.)  The four levels and their descriptions are:

  • Technology Series – These exams demonstrate basic understanding of a particular product. This is the entry-level certification to the specified technology (e.g. SQL Server 2008). Successful completion yields a MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) certification in several “flavors.” For example, for SQL Server 2008, you can obtain a MCTS in Active Directory Configuration, Network Infrastructure Configuration, or Applications Infrastructure. Each indicates a different specialization, and an employer might choose between two candidates in a more targeted manner than if both held an MCSA or MCP.
  • Professional Series – These exams demonstrate a deeper understanding and also come in specializations. Successful completion yields a MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certification or a MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) certification. These also have several flavors. As examples of specializations under Server 2008, there are Support Technician, Enterprise Administrator and Server Administrator. Again, this may affect hiring decisions made by a company looking for one focus over the other. Continue Reading The New MS Certifications for Dummies…

Carving out the .NET Certification Path

August 19, 2008 at 8:47 am | Posted in Certification Paths, Microsoft | Leave a comment
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I know it’s a bit early, but in North America we have an autumn holiday tenderly called “Turkey Day.” This is a time where friends and family put aside differences and distances to share a large feast together in the pretense of harmony. The event usually revolves around the traditional meat of turkey, and the carving ceremony in my family has always been a moment of great anticipation and even greater contention.

So, sitting down at the .NET certification table, you might be wondering what happened to the big MCSD/MCAD turkey. Back in the day, the MCSD/MCAD certification represented a master developer, a jack-of-all-trades. So if you wanted a developer certification beyond the MCP, you had to eat the whole MCSD/MCAD turkey, even if you were just a Windows developer or only developed ASP Web sites; you had to eat both dark and white meat, leg and drumstick – everything.

With the introduction of the .NET Framework, the situation became even more complicated. Developing a Windows application became very similar to harnessing Web power, but you had to know everything about both to get the MCSD. The MCAD certification attempted to alleviate the pressure, but it was never as successful a certification as the MCSD.

So for the last few years Microsoft Learning has been busy carving the certification turkey, trying to spread the slices across a much wider spectrum of Microsoft technologies. We’ve entered a new age of smaller, more technology-specific certifications, so that there’s a little bit of certification for everyone to share. Rather than the MCSD and MCAD designation, there are now the TS (Technology Specialist) and PD (Professional Developer) designations.

So how is the certification table currently laid out? Something like this (click the image for a larger version):


Continue Reading Carving out the .NET Certification Path…

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