Microsoft Certified Solution Developer: Certification & Career Info

Sep 25, 2019

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer is a optional credential for software engineers, developers and other IT professionals. Get some quick facts about the education and experience requirements necessary to qualify for MCSD certification.

A good first step in obtaining the Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) certification is to gain at least two years of relevant working experience in software development specifically for Windows and the Internet. Five exams must be passed in order to earn the MCSD designation, including one test on solution architecture and another on server implementation. A bachelor's degree combined with an MCSD credential might greatly increase a job candidate's employability in this field.

Essential Information

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) is credential for software engineers or developers who have achieved advanced product certification in Microsoft's .NET framework. To be eligible to take the MCSD exam, applicants must have at least two years of professional experience. Once certified, job prospects are expected to be excellent.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in computer science
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $110,000 (for all software developers)
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 21% (for all software developers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) Certification Information

The MCSD certification is for advanced information technology (IT) professionals who have at least two years of experience developing both Windows software and Web applications (www.microsoft.com). To become certified, the candidate must pass the five exams that focus specifically on Microsoft's .NET framework. The exam subjects include:

  • Web application development
  • Windows application development
  • Web services
  • Solution architecture
  • Server implementation

Career Information

According to the job-profiling website PayScale.com, those with the MCSD certification held jobs as software engineers, software developers or IT project managers in a variety of different organizations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most software engineers are employed in the computer systems field, although they are found in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, finance and insurance (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that most software engineers have at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.

Salary and Career Outlook

The BLS reported in May 2018 that systems software developers earned a median salary of $110,000. This figure isn't specific to those with the MCSD certification, however. According to a PayScale.com report from September 2019, salaries for software developers with MCSD certification range from $86,000 to $178,000.

According to the BLS, the employment of software developers overall was projected to increase by 21% from 2018-2028, a rate much faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The demand is expected to be high for those who can create and develop Web applications.

Job prospects for those with MCSD certification should be excellent, especially if they also have at least a bachelor's degree. The rapid growth of new technology will create job opportunities for certified solutions developers in new areas as well, including mobile devices and social networking.

Successful completion of exams focused on topics like Web services, Web application development and Windows application development are required to acquire the MCSD certification. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a very promising job growth rate for software developers between 2014-2024. A software engineer might find work in various industries, such as finance, manufacturing, computer systems and social networking.

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