Companies around the globe are on constant lookout for ways to increase efficiency, provide higher quality products, expand their client bases and enhance workforce productivity. Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) training can help dedicated IT pros build the applications, architectures and network integrations that help drive businesses toward their operational goals.
What does MCSD training cover?
MCSD certification requires students to successfully complete exams in four assigned disciplines and one elective, making a total of five necessary tests. The disciplines and electives span:
- Web applications development -- students choose between Visual Basic .NET and Visual C# as their application development concentration
- Windows applications development --the same option applies as in the previous discipline, either Visual Basic .NET or Visual C# development tracks exist
- Web services and server components -- students choose their preferred programming language and develop in the .NET framework
- Solution architecture--this discipline carries only one exam, which tests students on defining .NET solution architectures and analyzing their requirements
- Electives--three exams in this section are still active; students can choose between business process and integration solutions, e-business solutions, or Microsoft SQL server implementation and maintenance.
Many of the exams required for MCSD training have been retired by Microsoft, but those who previously passed the retired examinations will still be able to count them toward an MCSD certification. The company's MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) cert features newer technologies such as Visual Studio 2010 and Windows Azure.
MCSD training upgrade paths
After completing Microsoft solution developer certification, professionals can go on to earn further credentials, using their MCSD certification as a stepping stone. Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification can be earned with just two more exams after MCSD training, and the MCPD credential takes just one further exam after MCSD certification is complete.
Microsoft solution developer certification and the career market
The 2011 IT Skills and Salary Report produced by IT Training firm Global Knowledge, lists MCSD credential holders as earning a median annual salary of $85,500 during the survey period. What's more, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities for computer software engineers and computer programmers are expected to grow by 21 percent between 2008 and 2018, with a particularly high rate of 34 percent growth in the applications development sector.
The BLS also publishes employment and mean annual salary figures for applications developers in numerous industries and various geographical locations. The following industries offered the highest employment rates for careers that make use of MCSD training as of May, 2010, according to the BLS:
- Computer systems design and related services: 173,730
- Software publishers: 40,300
- Management of companies and enterprises: 27,040
- Insurance carriers: 19,000
- Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing: 13,970
The state of California paid its 78,150 applications developers a mean wage of $102,280 in 2010, with Massachusetts and Virginia close behind at $98,400 and $96,510 respectively.