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Becoming a Microsoft Certified Professional


I used to work in IT (I am currently doing an MSc in Advanced Computing), and a while back I decided to become an MCP. I had been toying with this idea for a while, but I'd never got round to doing much about it. My general attitude has been that I'd rather learn a new skill (e.g. Visual C++) than study for an exam in something I already know (e.g. Visual Basic). Also, I have worked with various contractors who have these qualifications (usually MCSE) and they have been unskilled to the point of incompetence. This gave me the impression that these qualifications have no practical use, and only test whether you can spout propaganda.

However, I have also noticed that these contractors are being very well paid, and are valued more highly by management types. In fairness, I can understand this: your average suit has no appreciation of technical ability themselves, so they have to rely on a neutral third party to make that determination for them. Therefore, I decided that I ought to get these qualifications too. This also (I hope!) has the benefit of giving me more credibility - any objections I have are not simply sour grapes because I'm not good enough to qualify.

I've now attained MCSD status, i.e. I am a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. This requires four exams, and the ones I selected are listed below.

I booked these exams by calling Sylvan Prometric on 0800 592873. Each one cost me 76.38 ukp (i.e. 65 pounds + 17.5% VAT). One thing to be aware of is that this company doesn't play by their own rules when it comes to exam cancellations. They say that if you don't give two days notice, then you still get charged for it. However, when I was due to take an exam on a Saturday morning, I found a message on my answerphone on Friday evening telling me that the exam had been "descheduled", and that I would need to phone them up to arrange a new date. This resulted in a three week delay.

The exams

Okay, now for some more specific details. Each time I take an exam, I will put some details about it into a page here:


I am including links to exam-specific sites on the relevant pages, so this list is just for general purpose websites that deal with the MCP program:

This page was last updated on 2003-12-29 by John C. Kirk

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