Last March I passed my first exam, Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-Based Client Development, also known as 070-528. Having worked many years in Athens with ASP.NET web applications, I didn't even study; I just made an appointment with the test center, went there, and passed the exam.
My next goal is to pass 70-536. This way I will get my first certification, which will be MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0, Web Applications. I will actually have to study for that one, because it contains a few topics that I haven't worked with. I got the training kit from my company and I finally have something to do in the one hour I spent going from my place at Rotterdam to the client I'm currently working for at Amsterdam. The training kit so far is a little boring because it even explains what inheritance is, but then again there are those little features that I never used like type forwarding.
A reasonable question is why try to get a certification for .NET 2.0, when .NET 3.5 is already being replaced by .NET 4.0. First of all, there's the personal reason. I want to get that certification in order to prove my experience on that technology that I spent so many years working with in Athens.
Secondly, .NET 4.0 is brand new. Big clients such as banks don't adopt new technologies that fast. It makes sense. In their eyes, a technology is not old, it's proven and stable. My first small assignment when I started working in the Netherlands was actually in .NET 1.1. So I doubt on how soon I'll be using .NET 4.0 for real projects.
Also, I don't want to try to study to pass an exam for a technology I don't have hands on experience with. As far as I'm concerned, certifications and working experience should go hand in hand. Why would a client hire an “all theory, no practice” guy? Also, that way, it requires less study effort to pass the exam.
The question is how to proceed after getting the MCTS. I want to get the same certifications for .NET 3.5. Although I don't have that much web experience with that framework, the differences are not that big and I've been keeping track of them. One option is going for the MCPD .NET 2.0 (one exam) and then upgrading it to MCPD .NET 3.5 (one more exam). That can be further upgraded to MCPD .NET 4.0 with one more exam.
Another possible path is to skip the MCPD. Then I will need one exam to get MCTS .NET 3.5 and one more for MCTS .NET 4.0. The difference is that these exams are not upgrade exams. I don't know if that means that they're more difficult. I'll have to investigate before choosing the correct path. Up to then, it's studying time for MCTS .NET 2.0!