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Nov 16 2012   4:37PM GMT

Mobile: What’s Up with Windows Phone Developer Certs?

Ed Tittel Ed Tittel Profile: Ed Tittel

I’ve been writing about mobile app certifications lately, because this is such a hot area in the IT industry right now, particularly for software developers who build such things, and for IT operations types who have to figure out how to plan, design, and deploy their use in the workplace. Having blogged earlier on 11/9/2012 that the Microsoft Mobility 6.5 certs are retiring next year (“The Interesting Case of Mobile App Development: Where Are the Certs?“) I found myself compelled to look into what Microsoft is offering to catch up its developers on the latest and greatest of their mobile developer credentials.

I’m talking about the MCPD: Windows Phone Developer certification, and what I see there reflects more disarray — and an urgent need for still more “catching up” — that a consistent and coherent plan for Windows Phone stuff in the age of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, the Windows Store UI and APIs, and so forth and so on. Take at look at the exams required for this credential and my points will prove themselves:

  • Exa 70-599 Pro: Designing and Developing Windows Phone Applications (released 7/14/2011). Still references the soon-to-be-passe MCITP certification, and came out before the new/current generation of Windows Store UI and API stuff was available. Badly needs a more up-to-date replacement.
  • Exam 70-516 TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (released 7/2/2010). Still references the equally passe MCTS credential, and likewise lacks mention or coverage of key new Microsoft mobile development platforms, frameworks, UIs, tools, and technologies.
  • Exam 70-506 TS: Silverlight 4, Development (released 1/21/2011). Silverlight is up to Version 5 now, and is probably headed for the scrap heap, already replaced by HTML 5 and supporting tools and technologies in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Ditto both preceding items: tired, tired, tired.

Of course, the latest in MS Developer certs is no longer the MCPD, but rather the MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solution Developer), where there is already an MCSD: Windows Store Apps credential defined and available, as well as a complementary MCSD: Web Applications element. Looking at the exam elements here, we see completely current and appropriate coverage of HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS3 stressed in all three exams for the Windows Store item (70-480, 70-481, and  70-482; the only change for the MCSD: Web Applications is to drop 70-482 Advanced Windows Store development, in favor of 70-487, Azure and Web development instead).

The Windows Store Apps MCSD is as close to current mobile app development as you get right now.

Windows Store Apps is as close to current mobile app development as you can get right now at MS.

This is all well and good, but what’s still unlcear is the degree to which MCSD: Windows Store Apps applies to Windows Phone 8, and/or if another MCSD certification is forthcoming that will dig more deeply into the brave new world of Windows mobility in the Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 era. I’m hoping we’ll hear and learn more from Microsoft about this soon, and have launched some inquiries to that effect. Count on me to report in here as and when that happens.

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