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MCSD/MCAD Certifications

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    Hi all,
       Recently I've started thinking about pursuing getting either my MCAD or MCSD.  The first step I was going to take was to get the Core exam book set from MS Press to help study.  I'm pretty solid in C++ and C# so the Windows app parts I'm not worried about, its more the architecture, web, database stuff I need to practice quite a bit with.  Anyway before I go spending more than a hundred bucks on the books I need I wanted to see if anyone around here (MS or otherwise) has heard if a new version of the test might be released before the end of the year, and along with that new materials?  I would expect with the framework 2.0 and C# 2.0 coming out at the end of the year that new tests aren't far off but if they're out past say Sept. time frame I'll stick with the current ones and just buy the materials now.  Any thoughts?


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    I'd say a couple of things here.

    First the certification exams tend to lag behind the commercial releases of the products by quite a long way in my experience, especially for those of us working with beta's or at the bleeding edge. I took the two C# exams a few weeks back and was disappointed at how little things seemed to have moved on from when the certification exams first came out. There's a lot of talk of adaptive exams and making them more realistic than "learn by rote trick questions" but I see little real evidence of that.

    Secondly the Microsoft Press books, at least for the core MCAD exams are very poor and, in my view, are nowhere near sufficient to get you through the exams. Far far better are the MCAD books by Kalani that are published by Que. They are pretty thorough, practical and are sufficient to get you through certification. I bought the Microsoft Press books and the Que books and the Exam Cram books (which are really just the Que books with the practical examples taken out) and the Que books for the Web, Windows and Web Services exams are light years ahead of the Microsoft Press books. But don't take my word for it - check out the reviews from others on


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    The only problem I see with the QUE books is that they only cover the first 3 core exams and not the Solution Architecture one.  I'm probably going to end up with more than just one set of materials anyway, I'm just concerned with buying something that will be out of print in a month or two to make way for the next versions.


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    I'd have to agree the MS Press books do suck pretty badly.  I've used the Exam Cram books and passed 2 exams (316, 320) so far. 

    As far as the exams matching the technology, I can only say this.  The exams don't test you're abilities with the latest technology,  they test your abilities with the foundations of the technology.  I doubt such things as Generics or Reflection will make it into the exams any time soon just because they are not required in order to write code.  Yeah I know they are new hot features that everyone has to have but u dont need to know them in order to function as a programmer.

    Even if you got the books today, anything not covered in them could be review seperately.  Unless you're doing web services, nothing has dramtically changed with .Net.  All of the data access, xml, winforms and most of is unchanged.

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