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Why take the exam when you’ve been using dot net for a billion years? There are a few reasons and the most important is being revealed to me as I’m studying…
Reason 1:Growth (Getting out of the comfort zone)
The day to day tasks of a professional programmer are equivalent to lounging on the couch with the clicker instead of hitting the gym: build this report, change this form, fix this bug, and if your building a greenfield application, the challenging bits of the application are usually only about 10% of the entire codebase. 
Most of the areas that I need to study the most of this exam are things that I never use.  For example: Application Domains and Code Access Security are so far from mainstream lunch-pale programming that I very rarely ever think about them.  But the fact is if your using an open source library or even a 3rd party library, you should probably instantiate them in an AppDomain and give them only the permissions they need to operate. 
It’s exposure like this that helps us grow our mind as well as war-chest of possibilities when we’re designing an application.
 
Reason 2: Confidence
Confidence! Tests are used to uncover our weaknesses and measure our mastery of the subject matter, obviously. Programming is all about confidence in your skills as a software developer. The confidence comes with experience, many years of building applications successfully, successfully overcoming the unexpected issues that are inherent in software development. How can you really be confident, if you’ve only been exposed to half of the framework?  Studying for the tests helps round out the edges of the framework that are just not covered in your day-to-day programming tasks.
 
Reason 3: Work
This is usually everyone’s first motivation for taking the exam(s). It differentiates your Resume/CV from the pack. I’ve recently moved to London and the job market is Ultra-Competitive and I think it’s a sign of the times and will stay this way for a while and probably spread to the US eventually. The experienced developer/manager dismisses these tests as fluff because anyone can memorize a list of answers, the internet is flooded with “Brain Dumps” that include the exact questions on the test, memorize them and your home free, you don’t even need to know how to spell VB or C#.   But the dreaded headhunter and/or worse the “bad” project manager looks at the MCP or MCTS as a primary factor for the shortlist.
 
Posted on Saturday, June 20, 2009 8:16 AM MS Certification | Back to top


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