The 'How to' Blog

Feb 7 2014   3:56PM GMT

All about the MCSD certification tracks…

FirebrandInstructors Profile: FirebrandInstructors

MCSDThis is one for all the developers out there.

Last week we took a look at the MCSE; the history of the certification, the modern learning tracks and some helpful information sources to help you to attain the certification. Today we move on to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer track. Following in the footsteps of the MCSE guide, let us first take a brief history lesson.

The MCSD is set to be the replacement to the following certifications:

  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) – this certification validates your knowledge of a specified Microsoft technology. For developers, the MCTS certification focuses on application development through Visual Studio for .NET framework 4. Other tracks include application development for SharePoint and Windows Phone. These certifications are no longer being upgraded, but are still valid.
  • Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) – going into decline, the MCPD was once the most highly regarded track for developers, like the MCSE in days gone by. The certification focuses validating the holders ability to develop applications, with tracks targets at Visual Studio 2010, Windows Phone, SharePoint 2010 and Silverlight.

Both the MCTS and MCPD certifications can still be attained for Visual Studio 2010 until July 2014, at which point they will be retired. You  can keep tabs on the validity of these certifications via Microsoft’s scheduled exam retirement page. At which point you will be required to certify on the MCSD.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is now considered to be the globally recognized standard for developers. Like the revitalized MCSE and MCSA certifications, the MCSD is designed to reflect the holders ability to build solutions across multiple Microsoft technologies, and integrates a cloud focus to reflect the changing environment, this is vastly different from the historic MCTS and MCPD that focused on single technologies.

That’s it for this weeks history lesson,  on to the new tracks.

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer tracks

The New Microsoft Certifications

MCSD: Windows Store Apps – this certification has two paths dependent on your intentions, either of which will qualify you for a career in web development, software development or as a quality engineer. If you are a .NET developer planning to create Windows 8 apps, follow the C#, otherwise, take the HTML5 track for those planning to create a new website or those with existing web programming skills in JavaScript. It’s important to factor in that major upgrades to Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 are expected in the coming months, which could affect the existing curriculum.

MCSD: Web Applications – earn recognition as an expert in creating modern web apps and services, this certification should qualify you for a career as a web developer or administrator. You will learn programming language, whilst familiarizing yourself with Windows Azure and Web Services. Again you can personalize this cert by swapping out a single exam to focus on C# or HTML5 dependent on your prerequisite skill set.

MCSD: SharePoint Applications – for those working with SharePoint 2013 looking to design and develop applications in collaboration with the platform, this is the certification for you. Earning this certification is for those intent on becoming or are currently in the role of a software or web developer.

MCSD: Application Lifecycle Management – this certification will qualify you for a job as a developer, IT Project Manager or developer. You will gain a full understanding Visual Studio 2012 and prove your knowledge of managing the entire lifecycle of application development.

It’s important to note that as part of the new tracks you will be required to maintain your qualification by taking an exam to re-certify every two years. Failure to do so will mean you cease to hold the title of MCSD.

Get Learning

With Firebrand Training you can take all MCSD certification tracks. Get a taster by heading over to the learn platform where you can see our supplementary courseware. All the material is free, and will help you benchmark where you are in the learning process.

As I mentioned before, it’s also worth heading over to the Microsoft Virtual Academy  where you can find material for MCSD. Below are 3 websites also work a look.

If you are new to coding then you’ll need to work up to the MCSD, start off looking at the MTA developer track where you can gain all the fundamental skills required to begin a career in development.

That’s it for the second installment in this three part series. Join me next week for the final installment looking at the MCSA.

About the Author


Edward works for Firebrand Training as a Technical Writer within the Marketing department. He spends his days thinking up topics for surveys, engaging articles and concepts for informative infographics.

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