MCSD certification - is it still necessary to land a job?

Discussion in 'MCSD' started by Lewis Lang, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. Lewis Lang

    Lewis Lang Guest

    MCSD certification - is it still necessary to land a job? ... or, is
    it just a money-maker? Is it worth spending the money on the books and
    the exam?


    Lewis Lang
    Lewis Lang, Feb 6, 2005
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  2. Lewis Lang

    Tin Man Guest

    It certainly is necessary if your are a 61 year old white male!!
    Tin Man, Feb 6, 2005
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  3. We're currently hiring for a few .NET development positions and none
    of the resumes we've received were from people with .NET certification
    (some older certifications). If someone did have certification we
    would value it and be more likely to give them an interview.

    My fealing is certification can't hurt (unless you almost fail and
    still say you're certified and the interviewer asks your score--if you
    don't do well, don't list that you're certified). So always take the
    exam. Whether or not you spend extra on books and learning is
    optional, you can take the exam without this but also the books
    presumably would help make you a better .NET programmer if you don't
    already know the material.

    My $0.02.


    BTW, there was something wrong with your original post which may be
    why there were no follow-ups. Here's the original headers:

    Newsgroups: alt.certification.mcsd, microsoft.public.cert.exam.mcsd,
    microsoft.public.dotnet.languages.vb, microsoft.public.dotnet.general


    So maybe you have some replies in the photo groups? :)

    BTW, if anyone is in Washington DC metro area and would like to apply
    for a mid to senior level VB.NET position (WinForms + Web Services,
    some possibility of aspx in future) e-mail me. sam_at_blinex_com
    Samuel R. Neff, Feb 7, 2005
  4. Lewis Lang

    Bruce Wood Guest


    Just to give you another perspective, I have no .NET anything. No
    certs. No exams. I do, however, have 20 years experience doing
    object-oriented design and programming. While I'm by no means a guru in
    all things .NET, or even the myriad technologies that Microsoft offers,
    I am, after 1 year messing around with C#, helping out in this
    newsgroup. You can read my responses and judge for yourself my
    technical level.

    You might still give me an interview, but as you said, you'd be "less
    likely" to give one to me than to someone who didn't have my depth of
    experience but had passed the certs. Looking for certifications from
    Microsoft is not necessarily the best strategy.

    If I were interviewing a candidate for our office, I would want to know
    two things:

    1. To what extent do they understand the kind of software technology
    that we are using? We're using Windows Forms and we're looking to get
    into Web Services, so I'd want to know if they had any experience in
    those things, or at least understood the general concepts and issues
    surrounding them.

    2. To what extent to they undestand modern design and programming?
    Object, classes, overloading? Do they understand when it's appropriate
    to use this-versus-that. This sort of thing you learn with experience,
    not much from certification exams.

    The Java certs impressed me (and scared me, truth be told). In order to
    pass one of those things you need hard experience. After looking at the
    Java 2 programmer's exam I decided that anyone who wasn't using Java on
    a daily basis couldn't pass it. Not so with MS exams: they're more
    cram-and-write affairs.

    To Lewis, I would say this: Take what Sam said to heart. Spend a few
    extra bucks and take the certification exams. _Not_ because this will
    give you an edge for the rest of your career. Rather, because it will
    improve your chances of getting your next job. Once you have your foot
    in the door and some experience under your belt, move from job to job
    based on contacts and reputation, not cold calls and MS certs: the
    latter are useful only when you don't have the former.
    Bruce Wood, Feb 8, 2005
  5. Lewis Lang

    Wayne Guest

    What's really sad is how wrong some of the books are. Currently I am looking
    at getting a cert, I've got all the books (thank you Microsoft). However,
    when reading through them I've noticed that the examples are not always the
    "BEST PRACTICE". Section of code I just hit has you typing the same 4 lines
    of code in two places. This is just wrong, if you are getting the books to
    learn how to program properly shouldn't the examples be done properly?

    Most people learn by example, and if the books you use to get your cert
    aren't the best examples how can you really expect the cert to be worth
    anything in the long run, except by HR and Management as stated in a
    previous comment, which is my want to get the cert. I am also pick up little
    tidbits of useful info here and there along the way, but I don't ever under
    estimate the purpose of the book as I go, which is to get you to pass a

    Wayne Sepega
    Jacksonville, Fl

    "When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But
    let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it's longer than any hour.
    That's relativity." - Albert Einstein
    Wayne, Feb 8, 2005
  6. Bruce,

    I didn't mean to imply I wouldn't give someone an interview without
    them--that's hardly the case especially as we haven't received a
    single resume with a .NET certification. What I meant is that a
    candidate that we normally would not have given an interview (say
    someone with 2-3 years programming experience but zero .net
    experience) would get an interview when that candidate otherwise would

    For me, personally, the biggest factor is when I talk to someone if
    they can talk intelligently about their work. I'm amazed when I talk
    to people and they have trouble explaining what it is they do and the
    technologies they use. I'm not saying things like "explain what SOA
    is" or "tell me about design patterns" when they have expressed no
    previous knowledge in those areas. I'm saying people that list things
    on their resumes but can't explain the things they list. I look for
    someone that can hold a decent programming conversation about the
    concepts and talk about technologies they've used.

    I would definitely also agree that the MS certifications are worth a
    lot less than other certifications. The Java ones, of which I have
    none but have reviewed, are considerably better from my perspective.
    I have several 5 Macromedia certifications and they are even better
    than the MS certs.

    To get a better understanding of this thread I went ahead and took a
    practice exam for 70-306 (VB.NET WinForms) last night and was really
    disappointed. It seemed about as bad as the old VB6 exam
    concentrating on things that don't necessarily make someone a good
    programmer and providing lots of questions that are fairly easy to
    guess at without really knowing the material. Still better than
    nothing, but not worth a lot.

    My $0.02 only...


    B-Line is now hiring one VB.NET developer for WinForms + WebServices position with strong possibility of ASPX in future. Seaking mid to senior level developer. For information or to apply e-mail sam_blinex_com.
    Samuel R. Neff, Feb 8, 2005
  7. Lewis Lang

    RCS Guest

    I'm not defending books like that by any means, but many times - they take
    the simple route, just for claritys sake. For example, a book may have:

    string strResult = "";
    if ( IsEnabled )
    strResult = "Yes"
    strResult = "No";

    when you could do this, instead:

    string strResult = (IsEnabled) ? "Yes" : "No";

    So a purist would say it'd be more appropriate to do it the second way, but
    for someone just starting out, that is a lot of stuff going on in one line:
    declaring a variable, initializing it, evaluating an expression, a ternary
    expression (spelling?)..
    RCS, Feb 8, 2005
  8. Lewis Lang

    Wayne Guest

    Interesting, didn't know you could do that all on one line. HMMM, wonder if
    it would pass our code review process.
    Wayne, Feb 8, 2005
  9. Lewis Lang

    Andy O'Neill Guest

    I've looked at microsoft certification.
    The stuff you're tested on is virtually all what I'd call "academic"
    Stuff that you just don't care about as you do development.

    I'm a contractor, occasionally work as team leader.
    I've interviewed a number of people.
    To get a feel for how much exerience they have I ask a few very open
    questions and just see what they say.
    It may be coincidence but the people who were MCSD did badly.
    If I were to take my experience literally, certification would seem to be a

    Maybe the approach is interesting.
    One of my standard questions was vb6.

    You're doing a screen.
    The idea is that there's a compound key to the data to be shown.
    This is to matched by a series of combo boxes.
    Country, county, town or something like that.
    The user is to select from the first combo box.
    This will then be used to populate a second, which in turn will be used to
    populate a third.
    When the last one is selected, some other piece of code will be run which
    populates other bits of the form.
    You're populating each combo by looping through a recordset and adding each
    What problem might you expect to find?

    Additem generated a click event, so it'll potentially run the populate next
    combo bit for each entry as you populate it.
    I'd then go on to ask him what command would that be to stick an entry in
    the combo?
    Further questions depending on how he/she answers.

    My logic being that if the guy had used combo boxes he probably had used
    additem to fill em and he probably did something on the click event so he'd
    have come across this sort of stuff before.
    Andy O'Neill, Feb 8, 2005
  10. Unless your code review process has some aesthetic restrictions on the form
    code takes, the ?: version ought to pass. Both versions are absolutely
    identical from a semantic point of view. They will both perform identically
    in all situations, and both will cause the compiler to emit the same MSIL
    Jason Black [MSFT], Feb 8, 2005
  11. We just got our first resume in for someone that has MCSD. In this
    case the person actually took 3 months off work to study for the MCSD
    exams (or at least that's what the resume says). Very bad sign.
    Hurt the applicant in this case...


    B-Line is now hiring one VB.NET developer for
    WinForms + WebServices position with ASPX in future.
    Seaking mid to senior level developer. For
    information or to apply e-mail sam_blinex_com.
    Samuel R. Neff, Feb 8, 2005
  12. Lewis Lang

    maxthegold Guest

    I would be interested to know why this was considered to be a "very bad
    maxthegold, Feb 9, 2005
  13. Lewis Lang

    RCS Guest

    I'm not the OP here, but *I* would say that's a bad sign, because that tells
    me the person can't multi-task. Most dedicated people have multiple things
    going on thier life and "find a way" to do it all. There is absolutely no
    need to quit working - and for 3 MONTHS to prepare for an exam!!

    In other words, that expression "If you want something done, ask a busy
    person" - applies, I think. A busy person would find time, over that 3
    months to get some studying in, maybe they'd take a couple 3-day weekends
    even, but to be out of work for 3 months is professional suicide. As a
    developer, your PRIMARY focus should be (in my opinion):

    A) Whatever your expertise is, be great at it. Stay great at it.
    B) Be good at your secondary stuff. Work to be great at it.
    C) Keep up with the latest technology (be familiar enough to know whether
    it's worth pursing or not)
    D) Stay agile. Always work on staying sharp with both your skills and with
    your problem-solving.

    It takes constant work to maintain - nevermind build your career. To me,
    taking 3 months off for anything - is going to severely impact every one of
    these objectives. It also is telling about your personality, are you going
    to be high maintenance? If I give you a big project - are you going to need
    to take a sabatical because the stress is just "too much"? What if I give
    you TWO important projects?

    On the flip side, if someone has a day job *AND* studied for 3 months for an
    exam - THAT would be a "very good sign", because they are capable of
    multi-tasking and managing thier life. Shows they aren't afraid of work and
    shows they are ambitious.
    RCS, Feb 9, 2005
  14. Lewis Lang

    Guest Guest

    What would be the harm in finding out why he/sho chose to do things this way?
    Perhaps the applicant was so committed to stay up to date that he/she was
    prepared to take this (admittedly) big risk and take 5 tests in three months.
    If .NET was new material and if the person did not cheat, then three months
    is not bad at all.
    Guest, Feb 9, 2005
  15. Lewis Lang

    Andy O'Neill Guest

    I want to keep up to date, I buy books and read.
    If I wanted to start up a software house and needed two people with mcsd
    then I'd maybe take 3months off to swot.

    I tend not to discount people too quickly just based on the odd thing on
    their CV.
    If they look like they have the experience I telephone interview.
    If their technical abilities seem OK and their personality comes over OK
    then I get them in for a chat.

    Telephone interviewing saves a lot of time.
    Andy O'Neill, Feb 9, 2005
  16. Lewis Lang

    Andy O'Neill Guest

    I'd take clarity over brevity any day of the week.

    So I don't think it'd be a "purist" who chose the second way.

    I associate the sort of code in that second example with someone who's bored
    enough to think of the shortest bit of code they can write.
    To me, that's a bad sign.
    Bored programmers start writing weird bits of code just to try stuff out and
    do things in different ways.
    That's bad.

    Version one is clear.
    Anyone can see what it does immediately.
    Version two you have to think about.
    I would rather someone maintaing a piece of code think about some more
    important part of the system than decoding smart-alec code.
    Keep it simple.
    Andy O'Neill, Feb 9, 2005
  17. The test is meant to assess your skills as a programmer. Ideally,
    someone who is a .NET programmer and works in the technologies being
    tested on a regular basis should be able to pass the test without any

    Because the MCSD exams have a tendency to test on things that are less
    used or never used, some studying is required. But 3 months of
    dedicated studying is overkill.

    My $0.02 (and most people here disagree with me, so it's probably only
    with $0.01 at best)


    B-Line is now hiring one VB.NET developer for
    WinForms + WebServices position with ASPX in future.
    Seaking mid to senior level developer. For
    information or to apply e-mail sam_blinex_com.
    Samuel R. Neff, Feb 9, 2005
  18. Lewis Lang

    Emma Burrows Guest

    Hmm, would this also apply to taking way more than three months off to raise
    a child? This appears to be what I'll be doing for the forseeable future -
    studying for an MCSD is actually my plan to keep my hand in! :)

    Personally, I wouldn't have put the time it took me to gain the
    certification into a CV anyway. I'd consider that the fact that I studied
    hard enough to pass the exams was information enough for a potential
    employer. Maybe the candidate thought it was a sign of dedication.
    Emma Burrows, Feb 9, 2005
  19. Lewis Lang

    Bruce Wood Guest

    I would agree... for any cert exam.

    "I took 3 months off to study" tells me "I know only the stuff on the
    exam and nothing else. I have no practical experience with this stuff

    "I took the exam while I was working" might mean "I was working with
    this technology and took the exam because I already knew most of it."
    Of course, it could be that the guy just crammed at night and only
    knows what's on the exam, but at least it's not a dead giveaway like
    the first fellow.

    As far as "giving the guy a chance"... when you have fifty or a hundred
    resumes on your desk, you're looking for reasons to winnow them down to
    ten. You can't call all of the candidates.

    Object lesson: when you write things on your resume, try to think of
    all of the ways those things might be read. Sometimes what sounds like
    a boast comes across as a demerit.
    Bruce Wood, Feb 9, 2005
  20. Lewis Lang

    Bruce Wood Guest

    I side with Andy. I avoid the ternary operator, and post- and pre-
    increment and decrement. For the most part they're cryptic operators
    that have perfectly reasonable alternatives.
    Bruce Wood, Feb 9, 2005
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