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How to Become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer

Learn how to become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), formerly known as a Microsoft Certified Application Developer. Research the training requirements and read about the experience you need to earn this credential. View article »

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  • 0:01 Should I Become an MCSD?
  • 0:59 Certification Requirements
  • 1:51 Steps to Become an MCSD

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Video Transcript

Should I Become an MCSD?

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) program is designed for software developers to demonstrate their ability to construct solutions using both in-person and cloud technologies. This certification serves as the global standard for developers, and professionals looking to earn this certification should have experience using different Microsoft tools and languages to analyze and create enterprise solutions.

Software developers, including application developers, work in a range of industries. As technology advances, the prevalence of applications, especially mobile applications, has become a requirement of success for businesses in all fields. The majority of such application developers work full-time in an office setting, though some may be able to telecommute. Much of their work may be completed independently, but collaboration is required on almost all projects.

Certification Requirements

There is no education requirement for MCSD certification, but many software developers hold at least a bachelor's degree. Microsoft recommends at least 1-2 years of experience with a particular technology solution for many required certification exams. Microsoft Certified Professional Developers are expected to have strong problem solving and communication skills, along with expertise in .NET Framework, Visual Studio and other software development programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015, the median annual salary was $98,269 for software application developers, which include Microsoft Certified Solutions Developers. Payscale.com data shows salaries vary widely by location and experience. You will want to check your region for salary expectations.

Steps to Become an MCSD

What steps do you take to become a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer?

Step 1: Research Certifications and Choose a Certification Path

Step one is to research the certifications and choose a certification path. Developers and other professionals looking to earn an MCSD certification must first decide which product or application they want to become certified in and choose from the six different MCSD modules offered by Microsoft. Some are designed for those working with Web-based applications, others are for Web-based client development and still others are for application development.

Before you make your final decision, it's a good idea to become familiar with Microsoft products. Since these certifications focus on specific programs, you will benefit by becoming familiar with various Microsoft technologies and choosing the product that you want to focus on early in the process.

Step 2: Complete a Certification Prep Course

For step two, you complete a certification prep course. Although there are no formal education prerequisites for certification, individuals preparing for certification exams can enroll in optional training courses provided by Microsoft. Courses are available for specific exams and focus on essential exam topics. Some universities and colleges also offer preparatory training for Microsoft certification exams.

Step 3: Seek Further Certification

The last step is to earn your certificate and seek further certification. Microsoft offers several other certifications that can help IT professionals find employment and increase their earning potential. In addition to the MCSD certification, Microsoft also offers the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) option. As with MCSD, this certification features several specializations, which allow students to concentrate on their selected areas of expertise.

Successful Microsoft Certified Solutions Developers (MCSD) usually have a bachelor's degree and 1-2 years of experience. They research the options, prepare for the exams, earn their certificates and go on for further certification, and they have a median annual salary of $98,269.

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