For a while now, Microsoft has had:
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) – wow, Engineer!
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
- and the new Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD)
There are plenty of people with the MCSD that went along with the VB track, and now you pretty much have to use MCSD for .Net to be clear if you have the new certification. You’ve probably met someone with one of these certifications that was a blabbering idiot, and the cert has lost credibility in your mind.
I have the MCSD for .Net certification, and I can say from experience that earning the cert was similar to earning a college degree. As long as you stuck it out, you’d get it. After all, how many blabbering idiots do you know with a college degree? If we can’t keep idiots from getting degrees, then how can we possibly expect Microsoft to solve the same problem with their certifications?
Even so, Microsoft is _attempting_ to improve the certification program, and will be introducing some new choices for developers. For right now, the title is planned to be “Microsoft Certified Professional Developer”. MCPD. For us MCSDs, two exams will be required to upgrade the certification. According to the article at MCP Mag, MCPD requires the person to first earn MCSD. It seems to me that the new certifications are aimed toward correctly identifying those that can deploy a specific Microsoft technology.
You can do the MCAD now and get certified in either Windows or Web (pick your language), but there is no distinction for those who might be super integration developers: those writing web services and windows services and class libraries that integrate other systems. That is just as important, but for now, Microsoft only has the UI tracks.
Another hole is design. All the certifications (current and planned) identify those who can use a Microsoft tool or runtime, but they do nothing to ensure that the person understands anything about software design. Where are the OO questions? What about other things in software like cyclomatic complexity? Besides just using .Net to crank out an application, what about the things that differentiate mediocre developers from great ones? What about security? These questions go past Microsoft certifications, however, and they apply to every software developer in the industry, not just .Net devs.
I think industry certifications will come as the software industry matures (but I think back to how many years railroad venders made tracks of different widths).
I expect the certification plans to change a bit before December, but whatever they come out with, I’ll bite: have to keep that resume current!