My question is about MCSD certification. I am going to start taking the certification courses. My background is not in programming but I like to program. What are my chances of getting a good paying job with this cert? I am also going to get the MOUS cert. Is this cert worth taking? Does it help out in the real world?

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Indeed the MCSD is still regarded as a reasonably valuable certification. According to recent salary surveys, such as the one in the March issue of Windows 2000 magazine (http://www.win2000mag.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=19995), programmers make an average of $53,000 a year and up. My information on MCSDs in particular comes from a story in the August 2000 salary survey wherein they have an entire spread on MCSDs at http://www.mcpmag.com/salarysurveys/2000/fea1g.asp (click MCSD in the Regional data menu widget from the entry page to get there). It says that MCSDs fall in a narrow but higher range from $75 to $84K depending on what part of the country you're in.

Thus, many sources seem to think that you should be able to find decent paying work with an MCSD. Remember, however, that the economy is down quite a bit since last year so I'd be a little more cautious about the ease of finding work, and a little more conservative about salaries than some of these surveys might indicate. Unless you want to work as a high-level administrator type (which you probably don't), a MOUS certification won't really do much to augment an MCSD. Skip it.


This was first published in June 2001

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