Are you an experienced IT or computer science professional? Would you like your resume to stand out from the crowd? Perhaps you're looking for a qualification that could give you a boost into the next stage of your career? Then becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer might be for you!
The MCSD proves to employers that you are able to use Microsoft development tools, making you a great candidate for a position in development, especially using Microsoft software.
The MCSD is a qualification designed for software engineers, consultants and IT professionals who are looking to prove their skills using Microsoft development tools such as Microsoft . NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1. Candidates must have at least two years' experience working with Microsoft development tools, preferably in a professional setting, and most will also have a Bachelor's degree in a related field, though this is not an official prerequisite.
During your MCSD course, you will have the chance to learn about a variety of topics, including several electives. Your study topics may include:
Your elective or electives will focus on one or more of Microsoft's database or enterprise solutions products, including programs such as Visual Basic .NET, SQL Server or Commerce Server.
There a a variety of ways to study and prepare for the five exams (including one elective exam) you must pass to gain the MCSD qualification. These include instructor-led training, practice tests, self-paced training kits and Microsoft Press books. Although some may prefer instructor-led training, Microsoft recommends a self-study method, and offers preparation guides for each exam, which include a list of relevant skills students can practice.
Alternatively, you could choose to study at a community or technical college. Although these courses are not specific to passing the MCSD, they should cover the same ground as the exams, including database objects, indexes, logical design, SQL server and desktop applications, and some may also offer a practice exam.
It is important to note that exams in the MCSD qualification can be retired when they are considered to be out of date or unpopular. This may have an effect on your study, so please check with your institution, or via Microsoft's website, to ensure your chosen study path is still available. However, if you have already passed the exam previously, its validity remains. Although exams can be retired, your MCSD certification will never expire.
The type of exam questions you could be faced with vary, but could include hot-area, active-screen, drag-and-drop and case studies as well as performance-based questions. If you're unsure what is expected from you, don't worry – each type of question is explained on the Microsoft site.
The exam topics you will be presented with may include:
The MCSD is designed for those with or wanting a career in software design and engineering or IT Management positions, so ideally this is the sort of career you will be better placed to achieve once you have completed the certification. According to the job-profiling website Payscale, the job prospects for those with MCSD certification are excellent.
One job you may be qualified for upon completion of your MCSD is an IT Project Manager. Here is a brief description of the role.
An IT Project Manager is an exciting role, combining business expertise with computing savvy to come up with great business solutions for companies. With your MCSD, you will have proven you have excellent knowledge and ability in providing practical, intuitive solutions to a variety of everyday and more complex computing problems within the workplace. Most IT Project Managers have a Bachelor's degree in either a computer-related major or business, and some may also have a master's degree or MBA.
As an IT Project Manager, you will set the schedule for routine maintenance and updates, as well as designing and implementing solutions to issues that are reported, or more often, that you notice. This can include anything from designing new techniques for more efficient use of company resources in your sector, to finding a way to speed up the company broadband – there is a lot of scope for creatively improving your client's business through the software, middleware and hardware they use, that, as IT Project Manager, falls to you to determine and prioritize. You will also be in charge of budgeting and designing and implementing specific goals for the computing sector of your company, making this a demanding but equally rewarding job.