Everytime someone mentions certification, I get all amped up to get certified again. I got my MCSD (Microsoft Solution Developer ... for Visual Studio 6.0) back in 1999, and while it didn't give me superpowers, it was certainly nice to have that little graphic on my resume. That certification has long since expired, and with each new version of Visual Studio, I am constantly reminded of just how "out of date" I am.
This morning, I was asked if I knew my MCP ID, and it reminded me that I have been meaning to look into certification again, now that my company has a training budget reimbursement program. It's always a little more incentive to complete when someone else is picking up the tab. Weird how that works. lol
Well, so I went out to the MCP site and started poking around the tests, requirements, etc and found the process is still very much the way it was 10 years ago; only now things are more expensive. And, as usual, Microsoft doesn't even offer training materials for all of the tests. Specifically, the Windows Communication Foundation (70-513) MCTS test. No e-books, no self-paced training kits, just a 3 day course that costs far too much and yields far too little information. Similarly, the final exam to get the MCPD certification, is the test: PRO: Designing and Developing Web Applications (70-519); which also has no training materials other than a FIVE day training course.
Now for the big dilema: Do I get the self-paced training books or the interaction practice tests? In the past, I've used the books along with the practice tests with decent success. The books are a nice precursor and the practice exams (at least the Transcender exams) provided a more "real life" test, and gave high detailed results, along with information relating to each and every question - if it's wrong, if it's right, why it's wrong or right. I don't have a lot of spare time on my hands, so whichever I get will be a long and random process; it could take, perhaps even a year for me to get the certifications (I hope not, but I've known people who haven that long). Also, books cost half of what the practice tests cost; although I expect (hope) the practice tests are more thorough and a better overall preparation.
Now, granted, I am looking at certification materials for VS 2010, not 2008, so it's a bit newer and it could take some time to get them released, but still, there's no mention of when the new testing materials might be released.
However, here's why I don't like looking into certification. Here's a practice test question:
An ASP.NET page contains the following markup:
<asp:EntityDataSource ID="dataSource" runat="server"
blah blah blah rest of the question.
I don't know of a single programmer who uses scripted datasource objects in their web forms, yet all the documentation and courses teach that method. It reminds me that being an MCP only means that I've learned how to take the tests; but has no bearing in the real world. So, each time I think about getting certified, I end up talking myself out of it. However, I know the market value for certified people and employers do like abbreviations after your name...
Guess I'll buy a book and see how it goes; then re-evaluate the situation.