Microsoft has released official details of .Net focused certifications for developers, but admits the full schedule of exams won't be available until February next year.
The software giant has announced its Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) credential for .Net skills, including the first compulsory exam in architecture design for enterprise level development projects.
A new lower level certification track for developers - Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD) - will target developers who code, test and debug department-level applications, but without the need for systems architecture expertise.
But although over 40 Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centres (CTEC's) offer classes focused on developer and .Net technologies, industry experts are unconvinced that widespread take-up of the new .Net track is on the cards.
"The big issue is that developers don't train and they certainly don't certify," said Alan Bellinger, sales and marketing director of boot camp training and certification specialist Wave Technologies.
Figures presented to Microsoft CTECs by the vendor show that only about 1,500 MCSD's have been awarded in the UK, compared to 24,000 MCSEs."It's not valued so much and developers tend to rely on instinct. There's no perceived value in the marketplace," Bellinger warned.
But widespread interest in .Net combined with fundamental differences in the technology would encourage more developers to consider certification for the first time, Bellinger said.
One West London based web development specialist told vnunet.com that although existing developers wouldn't have a problem working with .Net code, the architecture of .Net was a different kettle of fish.
".Net will be a major change for people who were in the legacy world and therefore this is much more a reskilling issue. A lot of people will say if I want to keep a job over the next ten years I'll have to invest in .Net training," Bellinger said.
The MCSD certification on .Net will run concurrently with the existing MCSD certification and current MCSDs will not have to upgrade to the .Net track to remain certified. The first exams are expected to be available in June.
"Whether it be Microsoft technology or any other, it's well known that development professionals learn on the job. But this is about providing a benchmark in the industry and giving individuals the confidence to go out and talk to prospective employers," said Microsoft skills manager Ayesha Okhai.
Microsoft has also set up two new online services, the MSDN Online Concierge and MSDN-managed newsgroups, to support developers as they use Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework to build applications and XML web services.
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