Over the weekend (11/22) Microsoft Learning Manager Jeff Koch re-opened the beta for exam 71-563 Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Applications using the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5. Remember, most MS exams start with 71 in beta, which changes to 70 when they go into production, so this exam will eventually be numbered 70-563. If you want the exam preparation skinny, you’ll find it on an old-style (.mspx) 70-563 Prep Guide page
There are several interesting things about this announcement:
- The original beta period ran from October 13 through 30, 2008; the new period runs from 11/19-12/11/2008. What’s interesting about that is that the announcement on 11/22 follows the start day by three days.
- Microsoft usually gets more takers than seats during beta periods, but the fact that this exam is going into another beta period strongly suggests two possibilities: First (and most likely), that they didn’t get enough takers in the first go-round to completely exercise the exam; second (less likely), that problems with questions surfaced during the first beta–such as those everybody gets right or wrong, neither of which helps to distinguish know-nothings from know-somethings–that are being addressed in a repeat try.
- Might the lack of uptake on the exam indicate a similar phenomenon where the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 are concerned? Maybe: if you look at .NET Framework 3.5 related credential counts on the MS “Number of Microsoft Certified Professionals Worldwide” page, you’ll see counts that vary from 128 to 240 on the Technology Specialist front. The Microsoft Certified Solution Developer counts, which include mostly older .NET Framework versions at this point but also include some .NET Framework 3.5 numbers, on the other hand, vary between a much more considerable 2391 (Windows Developer) and 7319 (Web Developer), with Enterprise Application Developer at 6073. Right now, it’s hard to say…
With Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 just turning one year old, it’s probably just a new development toolset, environment, and APIs still gathering momentum and finally getting off the ground. Whatever the reason for this extended beta period, it gives Microsoft Developers working on the leading edge another chance to take the exam for free. Check it out on the Beta Announcements blog.