I Forgot That I Am An MCSD

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I obtained this certification several years ago and pretty much forgot about it. It really hasn’t done me any good. The only benefit at the time was that it helped my former employer obtain Gold status as a Microsoft Solution Provider. However, I’m still waiting to see the real benefits of that status for them.

The benefit of any certification is fully dependent on the external perception of the certification and how well it represents skill and expertise. A PhD for example is generally highly regarded.

As it currently stands, the MCSD certification does not carry such respect. It seems this is due to Microsoft doing little to promote it. The status of a certification goes hand in hand with the people who carry the certification. When you see a lot of very talented smart people carrying a certification they are proud of, you strive for that certification.

Take a moment to think of the who’s who of .NET development. How many have MCSDs? My guess is not many. I can’t be sure, but I doubt that Don Box, Jeffrey Richter, Ian Griffiths, Chris Sells, etc… have this or even care for this certification. Otherwise they’d display it proudly just as Mr. Sells displays his IEEE member in good standing logo on his blog.

In any case, I’ll display it anyways just in case it bears weight in the future. At the very least, I like the color scheme.

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7 responses

  1. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight September 22nd, 2004

    i'm in the same boat as you actually (obtained mine a while back as well)...what concerns me is that the MCSE certification carries much more weight than it's development counterpart, even though i've heard from many that the MCSD cert is harder to obtain (let the flames begin). you mentioned some names in your post...well, those guys are all very well known devs (in the MS community at least), so yeah, they probably aren't too concerned about obtaining this certification...but for someone who is just starting out in the MS dev world (as i was a couple years back when i obtained the cert), i feel it can really make a candidate stand out in the sense that they are "trainable"; but if you look at the numbers, MCSE's outweigh MCSD's heavily, and i think you nailed it...MS promotes the MCSE more, plus there really isn't a 4 year degree aligned with _just_ system admin stuff, so programming positions are looking more for a comp-sci background rather than a cert. that being said, i've never had an interview where my certs weren't brought up, and i definitely feel they gave me an edge over other candidates as they show a more specialized type of training on the Windows platform. as the years have ticked by, the certs have meant less and less over plain experience. caveat? nothing beats a good ol' comp-sci degree and experience.

  2. Avatar for dimitri.glazkov@gmail.com (Dim
    dimitri.glazkov@gmail.com (Dim September 22nd, 2004

    Certification-smertification. I never cared to get one, albeit I probably never needed one -- I haven't updated my resume in years. As long as you write good code, your peers will recognize and value your work. And if certification is a critical issue of employment eligibility, you probably don't want to work for that employer anyway.

  3. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked September 22nd, 2004

    Ha ha... Well put Dimitri. And I agree with you. I am and hope to continue to be recognized for the quality of my work.

    However, for smaller independent consulting firms that decide to become Microsoft Partners in order to stay viable, having that Gold certification may be helpful due to the benefits Microsoft provides to such partners. Attaining Gold certification requires MS certification of a certain percentage of employees.

    Also, consider a company who needs to hire a developer, but the company itself isn't very technical. Perhaps they need a really really small technical staff.

    I think it's hard for them to evaluate potential employees so they are tempted to rely on certification as a baseline evaluation. Now of course, I don't believe a certification is a good indicator of a candidate's quality at all. But I also think that the employer's focus on certification shouldn't automatically disqualify them from a candidate's list of potential employers, considering that the candidate may BECOME the tech department and help guide its future direction.

  4. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked September 22nd, 2004

    Jayson: As a manager, I'd say nothing beats experience and just coming across as smart and as a problem solver in the interview.

    I personally don't value a Comp Sci degree as much as many employees do. In part, because I myself got a degree in Mathematics.

    Depending on the type of software development you do, I think a Comp Sci degree is no more relevant than a Math or Philosophy degree. The reason I feel this way is that Computer Science as it is currently taught is largely focused on theory. In the CS classes I took, I never once used source control. Never even heard of it. Not once did I gather requirements, document my work, etc... Computer Science doesn't prepare students to become software engineers apart from the general skills one learns in any good school: problem solving, critical thinking, etc...

    I know some schools are adding Software Engineering as its own discipline. That would actually catch my attention when evaluating a candidate.

  5. Avatar for Niels
    Niels September 23rd, 2004

    I actually was one of the first 1000 that was MSCD certified. Did it help me at all? HELL NO! I refused to get recertified ever again. The only people that it serves is the company you work for. It's really only a cash cow for Microsoft.

    I found out very quickly that they never took it serious was when I went to Tech*Ed 97. They were supposed to do something special for anyone who was a MCSD. They were going to give a special pin that you could wear and show everyone you were certified. Sort of cool but also lame at the same time because who really cares. However, when I got to the registeration booth I thought they would give me the pin because I had told them during sign up that I was an MSCD. Instead, they put out an OPEN bucket that ANYONE could take the pin and put it on. What a joke! I asked what was so special if everyone who found the bucket get a pin an wear it? They looked at me like who really gives a rat's ass.

  6. Avatar for whoops
    whoops April 18th, 2005

    oh dear, i just got my MCSD in .Net last week. In the attempt to appeal to the companies out there... doh.

  7. Avatar for Dave Fairweather
    Dave Fairweather April 8th, 2006

    HAHAHAHA! What did you expect from getting an the MCSD? The world to be doffing its cap to you as you prance through the heather!?!?!
    No. The qualification gets your foot in the door by showing you at least know something about the language and that you care enough the put down the £500 to take the exams. Thats all and thats fine enough.
    Why you think its even remotely contrustive to compare the MCSD to the MCSE, I dont know. Two completely different things.
    PhDs wont get you anywhere in the real world, now thats a real waste of time...