24 September 2008

Are you certified?

Today, I just passed the Microsoft exam 70-536 App Development Foundation. I succeeded with a fairly reasonable score, but I was a little bit disappointed, so to say. It was back in 2004 when I passed such an exam for the last time and I had hoped that the actual skills assessed by the exam would better reflect someone's proficiency in a software engineering job. Unfortunately, the questions I was asked were still in the same style as 4 years ago…The key skill you must possess to pass the exam is that you must know the API of the BCL more or less by heart! What a funny thing! This is not all what I expect from a decent software engineer. Such an exam should somehow measure the real understanding the candidate has of the platform, and its ability to apply this understanding to solve new problems. If I don't know the exact syntax and parameter order/signification for a method, I have these little things called Intellisense, MSDN help and F1 in my IDE, no?

Anyway, I'm going to continue my certification path towards the MCPD: Enterprise Developer, and see if the next exams on WCF, ASP.NET and Windows Forms are like this one. Frankly, I don't expect much difference. But at the end, I'll have my "marketing" certification, at least. Because the value I see in such a certification from a technical viewpoint is, well, close to zero…The only Microsoft certification that I think would really reflect that you are indeed very smart and skilled in your job is the Microsoft Certified Architect program. But that's a 10000$ story…