Pre-requesites for MCAD cert - where to begin?

Discussion in 'MCAD' started by Kevin Gibbons, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. Hello all,

    I'm tossing around the idea of getting some MS certifications, and
    really like the looks of the MCAD and MCSD certs. The only problem
    is, I do not really have a solid programming background and would more
    or less be starting fresh.

    Let me clarify a bit more, since I don't want you guys to assume I'm a
    total noob :) I've been working in the industry for nearly 8yrs, but
    for the past 7yrs the main focus of my job has been on Linux web
    servers. I have also overseen development of a number of Perl & PHP
    web applications, although I have never taken on the coding of these
    applications myself.

    The main focus of my work on these Perl/PHP/MySQL-based projects was
    coming up with the initial concept, interface design (using HTML,
    XTHML, CSS, etc..), install & implementation, and testing and
    administration. I can certainly work my way around code, but it has
    never been in my best interest to take on the coding simply because of
    the learning curve involved, and financial and time factors involved.

    From the looks of the side-by-side comparison of MCAD vs. MCSD, it
    appears MCAD would be a bit more friendly to the novice programmer.
    Where MCSD appers to be a quite in-depth certification.

    So I have a few questions that I'm hoping I can get some advice on:

    1. With my level of programming experience (which is basically zero in
    the MS world), can anyone suggest a series of books to start out with?

    I've looked on Amazon, and you can find "Beginner's guide to VB.NET"
    and "Beginner's guide to C# .NET" until your eyes bleed from looking
    at all the search results. But I have no idea which route to take in
    starting out.

    2. Would you guys feel I'm reaching a bit too high in thinking of
    acquiring one of these certifications?

    I realize I do not have a Comp Sci degree, nor do I have a solid
    programming background. However, I am finishing up my IT degree right
    now, and have a real desire to learn application development.

    I guess everyone has to start somewhere when they decide to acquire
    these certifications -- and not everyone has had the advantage of
    being taught on the job. So I'm really looking for advice on which
    path to start out with to gain the pre-requesite knowledge.

    3. I know that bricks and morter instruction courses can cost big
    bucks. But I have always absorbed information much better when
    learning it in a classroom environment.

    So I'm looking for some advice on people's take on the instruction
    course route vs. self-teaching from books?

    I'll end my long-winded plea for help here :) Any advice you guys
    can give on any of this would be greatly appreciated!

    Sincerely,
    Kevin G.
     
    Kevin Gibbons, Nov 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. Kevin Gibbons

    hadi Guest

    Hi Kevin,
    basically zero in
    the MS world), can anyone suggest a series of books to
    start out with? I've looked on Amazon, and you can find
    "Beginner's guide to VB.NET" and "Beginner's guide to C#
    ..NET" until your eyes bleed from looking at all the search
    results. But I have no idea which route to take in
    starting out.


    Any beginner books should be alright. Probably what you're
    confused right now is basically which languages (C# or
    VB.NET) should you acquired right now ? Any of them (C# or
    VB.NET) should be alright, if you have some Java or C++
    programming background, then C# would be quite similar to
    it. I would recommended C# to be your programming language
    if you have some background in Java or C++.

    You will need to start acquire the MCAD certification
    first. From your current background, the 70-315 (Developing
    Web Apps with C#) will be a good start for you since you
    have a web experience background in PHP before.
    thinking of
    acquiring one of these certifications? I realize I do not
    have a Comp Sci degree, nor do I have a solid programming
    background. However, I am finishing up my IT degree right
    now, and have a real desire to learn application development.

    Nope. Don't be despair, as there is no word as "too late"
    in order to learn anything. But obviously you need to be
    realistic with your current skills. Learn the Certification
    step-by-step from ground up and you will be amazed by how
    much skills that you can acquire through your high desire
    of learning.
    can cost big
    bucks. But I have always absorbed information much better when
    learning it in a classroom environment. So I'm looking for
    some advice on people's take on the instruction course
    route vs. self-teaching from books?

    Taking a course should be better if you have enough
    resources and time. For me, i learn the 70-315 test by
    myself, mostly by reading books, a lot of MSDN, reading
    newsgroup and consider it self-taught. Although i am
    employed currently, i am not using all aspects in ASP.NET
    and only use thoroughly ADO.NET.

    Hope you're quite satisfy with my answer and good luck ...

    Rgrds,
    hadi
     
    hadi, Nov 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. Hello Hadi,

    Thanks so much for the reply -- very much appreciated. Actually, you
    did hit the nail on the head with my first level of confusion --
    whether to focus on VB or C#.

    I actually think I'm going the VB route, because from what I've been
    reading, Visual Basic .NET might be a little easier for the
    inexperienced programmer to pick up. Plus, I was able to find a
    boatload of more books on VB at my local discount bookstore :)

    We have a place here localled called "Ollie's Bargain Outlet" -- which
    is a closeout store, that surprisingly has a large selection of
    computer books. Many of the books are Microsoft Press books that are
    usually one edition old. So today I took a trek down to this place,
    and picked up a bunch of books ranging from VB.NET, to C#, to ADO.NET,
    to ASP.NET, to the .NET framework in general.

    Most of their books range from $5.99 to a max of $7.99, which is
    outrageously cheap. Most of the books have a jacket price of $49.99 -
    $79.99. But, like I said they are usually at least one edition old,
    and I'm sure this place buys in bulk from old MS Press overstock. But
    nevertheless, it's a good way to get involved without spending a
    fortune on books.

    The one I'm going to start with is the VB.NET step by step book:
    http://tinyurl.com/6d9fb (and yes, I do have a licensed copy of
    Visual Studio .NET 2003) Then I have about 2 or 3 other VB.NET books
    that get a bit more complex. Then I'll probably jump into ASP.NET.

    Let me ask you this.... if I do start my self-teachings with VB.NET,
    should I even bother to pick up ANY C# books? I know you can
    selectively take the exams you want to acquire your MCAD, so I'm
    guessing you can probably get away with one or the other, and not
    necessarily both. I mean, I'll probably eventually get into some C#,
    but I don't want to go overboard right away.

    Anymore advice on this topic would be appreciated.

    Thanks again,
    KG
     
    Kevin Gibbons, Nov 29, 2004
    #3
  4. Kevin Gibbons

    Nick Guest

    Hi Kevin,

    Just to correct a common misconception:

    VB.NET and C# are actually the same language. Neither is more difficult to
    learn than the other if this is your first programming language. With the
    2005 releases, they way in which both VB.NET and C# code is actually written
    is almost indistinguishable.

    You may wish to learn C# if you want to be paid more. Most employers seem to
    think that C# code is worth more.

    You may prefer VB.NET if you are a C++ or C coder. The syntax is different
    and so you won't confuse yourself.

    Learn some C++ anyway, you will need it.

    regards,
     
    Nick, Nov 29, 2004
    #4
  5. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for the clarification on this -- I'm still learning as I go
    with this stuff, so half of what I'm asking might sound ridiculous :)

    Oddly enough, I was probably on the path to being fully immersed in MS
    servers and programming about 7yrs ago. But as I got more heavily
    involved with web hosting and web design, Linux naturally took over
    because of stability. I used to run NT 4.0 servers with IIS, and was
    starting to tinker with programming back in those days, but my needs
    could not be met with the instability of using MS products on the web
    back at that time.

    So now here I am, back full circle returning to Microsoft products :)
    Really it comes down to me leaving my own business, and returning to
    the workforce -- and I do need the skillset, and credentials to look
    marketable for potential employers.

    I'm not at all interested in being a network admin, so MCSE really
    isn't for me. But development does interest me a great deal, so MCAD
    and MCSD seem to be a much better fit.

    I figure to go with MCAD first, since MCSD seems a lot more intense.
    But again, I could be completely wrong with this. My understanding is
    that if you acquire your MCSD, you also acquire your MCAD since it has
    the same core requirements. Is this correct?

    Also, for someone at my beginner's level, is it crazy to even think
    about MCSD over MCAD? The only reason I was kind of thinking that
    might be a better option is because of the dual certification that one
    would have with MCSD. And since I'm going to be reading my face off
    anyway, I figure why not focus on the certification that will give me
    both in one shot?

    Any advice on this?

    Kevin
     
    Kevin Gibbons, Nov 29, 2004
    #5
  6. Kevin Gibbons

    UAError Guest

    <snip>

    With some planning the MSCD.NET is simply a natural
    progression after the MCAD. You just have to make sure that
    you take 70-3(10|20) (i.e. 70-310 or 70-320) as one of the
    first three. As you have a Web Development background you
    should probably start with 70-3(05|15). I used the Kalani
    (reading is not enough - do the examples) which was
    sufficient in combination with
    http://msdn.microsoft.com

    MCAD/MCSD Training Guide (70-315): Developing and
    Implementing Web Applications with Visual C# and Visual
    Studio.NET by Amit Kalani
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789728222

    You could try 70-3(10|20) second - however if you plan to
    take 70-3(06|16) as your MCAD elective (and it happens a
    MCSD.NET core) then you should take 70-3(06|16) now.

    MCAD/MCSD Training Guide (70-320): Developing XML Web
    Services and Server Components with Visual C# .NET and the
    ..NET Framework
    by Amit Kalani
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789728249
    (you'll have to supplement this one with a more up to date
    book - preferably something that covers WSE 2.0)

    MCAD/MCSD Training Guide (70-316): Developing and
    Implementing Windows-Based Applications with Visual C# and
    Visual Studio.NET
    by Amit Kalani
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0789728230

    Third exam
    If you haven't taken 70-3(10|20) yet, take it now! If you
    already have it, you could take an elective (other than
    70-3(06|16); the standard one is 70-229 - However SQL Server
    2000 is getting a bit long in the tooth and a SQL Server
    2005 Exam seems far off - that's why I choose 70-340 (.NET
    Security) as an MCSD.NET elective (also available as an MCAD
    elective).

    After number three you're an MCAD.

    Number four: 70-316 if you haven't taken it yet, take it
    now! (core requirement) otherwise its time for your elective
    (70-229, 70-3(30|40), etc.).

    Number five: 70-300
    Now you're and MCSD.NET


    You can also find more info in some older postings
    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&selm=

    http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&th=9a15d52164369e57&rnum=2

    But one thing does make me curious. Why would someone with a
    LAMP background opt for an MS certification? I'd figure
    anybody from that area would be more likely to gravitate to
    a Sun certification.

    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-035.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-081.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-090.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-220.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-051.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-300A.html
    http://suned.sun.com/US/catalog/courses/CX-310-061.html
     
    UAError, Nov 29, 2004
    #6
  7. Kevin Gibbons

    Dirk Guest

    Hello Kevin G

    If you want to get started on MS Programming concepts,
    specifically .NET, then I suggest a great book for you
    would be "An Introduction to programming using Visual
    Basic.NET - Fith Edition by David I. Schneider" The ISBN is
    0-13-030657-6. As I am primarily into VB.NET I can't
    advise you on anything regarding C#.NET. The above book
    I've mentioned is a great book to start off with. But once
    you get more and more proficient with VB.NET, you'll find
    that this book suddenly becomes very limiting.

    It's excellent for a start, for creating those stepping
    stones on your path to VB.NET proficiency. Thereafter I
    suggest you get the following book which is more in depth
    and advanced: "Programming Microsoft Visual Basic.NET - By
    Francesco Balena" ISBN 0-7356-1375-3. This book is also
    available through Microsoft Press.

    Good luck

    Dirk
     
    Dirk, Nov 30, 2004
    #7
  8. Kevin Gibbons

    hadi Guest

    Hi Kevin,

    self-teachings with VB.NET,
    should I even bother to pick up ANY C# books? I know you can
    selectively take the exams you want to acquire your MCAD,
    so I'm
    guessing you can probably get away with one or the other,
    and not
    necessarily both. I mean, I'll probably eventually get
    into some C#,
    but I don't want to go overboard right away.


    Glad that currently you're on the route to the VB.NET .
    That should be alright. Doesn't matter whether you're using
    C# or VB.NET, you can create all ASP.NET Web Applications
    with equal functionality. For just a suggestion, i would
    highly recommended you not to spend more time in learning
    C#, but concentrate more on your time to learn all the
    aspects of ASP.NET such as ADO.NET , Web Service, XML,
    Deployment, etc.. Why bother learn 2 languages at the same
    time, while with only one language you can solve the
    problem ? :) Both have a good future.
    Outlet" -- which
    is a closeout store, that surprisingly has a large selection of
    computer books. Many of the books are Microsoft Press
    books that are
    usually one edition old. So today I took a trek down to
    this place,
    and picked up a bunch of books ranging from VB.NET, to C#,
    to ADO.NET,
    to ASP.NET, to the .NET framework in general.

    That's should be allright, i would highly recommended to go
    only one route, so if you have picked up VB.NET , then
    stick with it and concentrate on your time in delving more
    aspects of ASP.NET. Your path is already correct, first
    learn about VB.NET itself and then go one step higher to
    ASP.NET .. Be familiar with the VB.NET syntax and all
    aspects about OOP such as inheritance, delegates, etc.

    Enjoy your programming !

    Regards,
    hadi
     
    hadi, Nov 30, 2004
    #8
  9. Kevin Gibbons

    hadi Guest

    Hi Kevin,

    more intense.
    But again, I could be completely wrong with this. My
    understanding is
    that if you acquire your MCSD, you also acquire your MCAD
    since it has
    the same core requirements. Is this correct?

    Please see the details explanation by Mr. UAError. In a
    glance, MCAD is a first route down to the MCSD. So if you
    have acquaired MCSD, then everybody will know that you have
    passed MCAD. You need to pass 3 exams in order to pass the
    MCAD, then if you pass another 2 exams you will be
    qualified for MCSD . FYI if you add 2 more exam then you
    will be qualified for MCDBA :).

    Yes, MCSD is an acronym for MS Certified Solutions Dev and
    MCAD is an acronym for MS Certified Application Dev.
    Solutions have greater aspects than just an application,
    and certainly needs additional skills such as Designing a
    Solution (exam 70-300). Don't be despair, learn all of
    those skills step by step and eventually you will know
    everything. I just let you know the "big" picture so that
    you know that MS skills are quite large.
    even think
    about MCSD over MCAD? The only reason I was kind of
    thinking that
    might be a better option is because of the dual
    certification that one
    would have with MCSD. And since I'm going to be reading my
    face off
    anyway, I figure why not focus on the certification that
    will give me
    both in one shot?

    I don't think you're crazy :) I even salute you, You're a
    man with a big dream , and not so many people have a big
    dream like you. Again it's ok to chase the MCSD, but i
    would highly recommended you to secure your MCAD first.
    Remember that some exams would be better to be attempted if
    you have a sufficient real-world experience. After you have
    secured your MCAD, try to work in ASP.NET applications real
    project, so that it will be a little bit easier to you in
    gaining your MCSD. Both Certifications can be obtained in
    one shot, as long as you have followed the exam pattern
    such as which one should be attempted first etc.

    Good luck to you ....

    Rgrds,
    hadi
     
    hadi, Nov 30, 2004
    #9
  10. Well, for the past 7yrs I have been self-employed providing web
    hosting, advertising brokering, selling a few custom PHP apps, etc..
    And as mostly everyone I know that is self-employed online, times have
    been tough for the past couple of years -- so I've been kicking around
    the idea of getting back to the workplace and ditching the
    self-employment.

    Where I'm from (Northeast PA), about the only IT jobs that offer a
    decent salary are strictly Microsoft houses. These are generally
    Prudential, Met Life, and similar types of companies. Yes, I know
    they all most likely do have at least some scattered unix/linux
    architecture in place, but if I had to put a number on it I would
    probably say we're talking about 95% MS products in house.

    So that's basically what's leading me toward MS certifications, and my
    overall quest for knowledge :) Being that I'm kind of back on the
    job hunt, I need to kind of get with the times in terms of my skills,
    and also need to look good on paper as well.

    Also... thanks very much for the very detailed reply, I'm going to
    save this one to look back on after I've knocked out a book or two and
    feel comfortable enough to start testing.

    KG
     
    Kevin Gibbons, Nov 30, 2004
    #10
  11. Kevin Gibbons

    comp sci kid Guest

    the best advice that i could give someone like yourself is to feel very
    comfortable with either c# or vb.net before delving any deeper. c# and
    vb.net are very similar to each other, but a few things can't be
    accomplished in vb.net can be accomplished in c#.

    i love the .net books published by o'reilly: http://dotnet.oreilly.com/.
    someone without a formal education in programming would probably benefit
    more from either "learning c#" http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learncsharp/
    or "learning visual basic .net" http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/learnvbnet/

    both the mcad and the mcsd.net both assume at least a year of experience
    (read: very well versed) with either c# or vb.net.

    good luck.
     
    comp sci kid, Nov 30, 2004
    #11
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