MCSD Certification and Credentialing Information

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is an industry designation provided by Microsoft for professionals in the information technology sector. Find out more about earning this credential.

When considering MCSD certification, it can be helpful to get basic information about the credential and who qualifies, as well as what it takes to prepare for and pass the credentialing exam.

What is MCSD Certification?

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is an information technology credential developed and administered by Microsoft, with testing and courses available in universities, learning centers partnering with Microsoft and online.

MCSD has five specialties, including:

  • Windows Store Apps
  • Web Applications
  • SharePoint Applications
  • Application Lifecycle Management
  • Azure Solutions Architect

Who Can Benefit From MCSD Certification?

This certification is designed for information technology professionals, including:

  • Web designers
  • Software engineers
  • Software architects
  • IT consultants

Before taking the exam, IT professionals need to have at least two years of experience developing and maintaining IT applications and solutions. Graduates are able to create web and application business solutions using Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 and 1.1, Visual Studio 12 and other Microsoft development tools.

Why Earn MCSD Certification?

There are a variety of benefits of earning this voluntary credential. For instance, it can help job seekers demonstrate their qualifications to potential employers. For IT professionals who already have jobs, it may lead to advancement within the company or increased salary potential. Even IT professionals without specific career advancement goals can benefit, since the exam preparation typically leads to improved skills.

Earning MCSD Certification

Students must pass three exams to earn MCSD certification; exams vary based on the specialization chosen. Exams for the Web Applications Solutions Developer track, for example, are Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3, Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications and Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services.

It is important to note that exams in Microsoft's certification tracks are sometimes retired, after which point students cannot complete the certification track unless they've previously taken and passed the required exams. Also, MCSD certification must be refreshed every two years to remain valid.

Preparing for the Exams

Training programs offer skills students can practice hands-on, which Microsoft recommends as the best way to prepare for each exam. Additionally, training programs offer various training materials and resources such as practice tests, Microsoft Press books, self-paced training kits and instructor-led training.

Students can also prepare for the certification exams via prep courses offered by colleges and universities. A practice exam may also be included in the courses. These courses cover content seen on the certification exams, including:

  • Database objects
  • Indexes
  • Logical design
  • SQL server
  • Desktop applications

By passing an MCSD credentialing exam, experienced IT professionals can demonstrate their skills in particular Microsoft technologies. The MCSD designation has five subspecialty areas, and individuals must pass three exams for certification in one of those fields, in addition to meeting experience requirements.

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