Microsoft is on its way to rolling out its newly minted certification programs for Visual Studio .NET 2005, the .NET Framework 2.0, Sequel Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006. The big item that's missing from this list -- and won't be on it for a while -- is anything having to do with Windows Vista.
Developers normally lead the way into new platforms, including those from Microsoft, because they are the ones who have to create applications (or at least port them) for new platforms in order for the apps to gain real value and appeal. Thus, with the recent releases of Microsoft programs (all those mentioned above except BizTalk Server 2006), it's only natural that they would become the focus of Microsoft's latest and greatest certification offerings.
All this explains why the list of exams that have gone into beta in December and January cater primarily to developers. But the list sheds more light on the new certification elements and their relationships to each other. Even if you never dig more deeply into their content, these exams serve as a harbinger of things to come when Windows Vista desktop ships later this year and Windows Vista server ships next year. And exams that do go into beta have objectives spelled out on the Microsoft Certified Professional Member Site Web pages.
The January beta exams include the following:
- 70-526 (Technology Specialist): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 -- Windows-based Client Development (in beta test from 1/12/2006 to 1/25/2006)
- 70-529 (TS): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Distributed Application Development (in beta test from 1/4/2006 to 1/17/2006)
Lest these betas inflict on you a burning desire to participate, I must remind you that access to Microsoft beta exams happen only by invitation. If you haven't been invited by now, you probably won't be taking these exams. "Technology Specialist" (TS) is Microsoft's newest entry-level technical certification, now designed to focus on basic knowledge and competency in certain well-defined products, platforms and technologies.
The December betas included the following programs:
- 70-431 (TS) Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance
- 70-441 (Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Developer): Designing Database Solutions by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005
- 70-528 (TS) Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Web-based Client Development
- 70-536 (TS): Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 – Application Development Foundation.
The December betas indicate that all exams for the TS developer and SQL Server certs should be going live soon.
You can find the remaining SQL Server MCITP exam objectives on these sites for upgrading from MCDBA: 70-443; 70-444; and the 70-447. However, some of the MCPD exams do not yet have objectives posted. They are 70-547, 70-548, 70-549, 70-551, 70-552, 70-553 and 70-554, which represent the next wave of items to expect in the beta exam series, probably within the next couple of months.
Exam 70-235 (TS): Developing Business Process and Integration Solutions using BizTalk Server 2006 should be the next item introduced. But since there's no active link to that preparation guide just yet, it's safe to say that the beta is not yet underway and that this exam will be in the offing a little further down the road than the others already mentioned (probably in Q2-06). (Most, if not all, should be through beta before April and publicly available soon after.)
Ed Tittel is the Series Editor for Exam Cram 2 and a contributing editor and columnist for Certification Magazine . He also follows certification topics for InformIT.com, and he has written numerous books on Microsoft certifications. E-mail Tittel at: firstname.lastname@example.org.