Last Friday, I succeeded in the '70-502' exam (Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, Windows Presentation Foundation Application Development). Although this is not my first certification, I
am particularly proud of this
one because it appears I'm one of the first developers worldwide to achieve this certification. According to the Microsoft certification statistics, in August 2008 only 148 persons had yet achieved this certification.
This early certification was largely made possible because of the real life experience during my early involvement with WPF with the Blogoholic project during the final beta stage of WPF
for .NET 3.0. With the release of the new WPF WebBrowser control in
.NET 3.5 SP1, I'm tempted to update the code base to use some of the new features. We
'll see if I find the time to do any meaningful development work on Blogoholic.
Some comments on the new Microsoft certifications.
As you may see from my certification transcript, this is not my first certification. What you can't
see from this transcript, is that I spent a lot of effort preparing for certifications, and ultimately didn't do the exams because the next version
of the certification was on the horizon. I don't consider this wasted effort,
on the contrary, the most interesting part is actually the preparation, not the exam. But it's still a pity that other people won't be able to recognize this effort because of the lack of a corresponding certificate.
For instance, more than a decade ago, I prepared for the WOSA (Windows Open Service Architecture) series of exams. By the time I was ready
to take the exam,
the phase out schedule for this series of exams was announced and I didn't
bother to take the almost obsolete exams. Some time later I started preparing for the "Windows Architecture" track. Shortly after succeeding in the first exam 'Windows Architecture I", the announcement came
that this track would also be superseded by a new MCSD track, so again I didn't bother to take the "Windows Architecture II" exam.
Due to this experience, I decided only to go for a certification if I could find the time to fully complete the certification before next generation of certifications was announced. So in 2001, during the burst of the .COM bubble,
I found a few weeks time to prepare myself for the MCSD certification on the VC++ 6.0 track.
A couple of years passed by, and I made the transition from being a C++ developer to being a C# developer. I started preparing for the .NET
certifications, but guess what? By the time I was prepared for the .NET MCSD exams, the .NET 2.0 exams were on the horizon.
One of the issues with the MCSD exams is the breadth of the topics. If you're
working for an ISV, you're most likely very specialized in one technology, but may hardly come in contact with other technologies of the same generation. It's very well possible that your day-to-day job involves full time Winforms development,
but doesn't touch ASP.NET at all, or vice versa. That situation may reverse a couple of years later, but by that time, there's a new generation of certifications.
With the new MCTS track, the certifications are much more focused on a
particular technology, and it's possible to achieve a certification
in your own specialization with just a couple of exams. In the summer of 2007, I got my
ASP.NET 2.0 certification. The base exam didn't change for the 3.5 track, which made it possible for me to achieve the new .NET 3.5 track WPF certification with just one extra exam.
The road ahead.
Next stop is the PDC 2008. Depending on what's being announced at the PDC, I may
decide to wait for the next generation of certifications (.NET 4.0?), or still take one of the .NET 3.5 generation exams. In that case, it would most likely be the WCF exam.