MCAD Courses and Credentials

A Microsoft Certified Applications Developer (MCAD) certification was offered by Microsoft for IT professionals, but the certification is no longer available. Read on to learn about alternatives to this certification and how to keep the certification if you already have it. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Microsoft Certified Applications Developer (MCAD) certification is a credential held by information technology (IT) professionals. However, the MCAD certification is no longer available. Almost all of the tests needed to earn the MCAD designation have been retired as of October 31, 2010. Some elective exams open, so if you only need the elective exam to finish earning your MCAD certification, you may do so.

Those who currently hold the MCAD are still able to use it, as long as the related technology stays relevant in the marketplace. The MCAD shows employers that IT professionals are able to build applications by using Microsoft technology, such as Visual Studio and .NET Framework. Certification guarantees a level of competence in applications development.

Courses General courses like Microsoft Office and Windows Vista; some courses are based on type of certification
Certificate Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certificates; Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certification
Job Outlook 17% job growth for computer support specialists, from 2012-2022

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Other Options?

Even though you can no longer earn an MCAD certification from the ground up, other options are available through Microsoft, depending on what you want to specialize in. The MCAD required applications to have 1-2 years of experience in information technology and application building. The Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) requires the same amount of experience.

As an MCTS, you'll know how to troubleshoot and debug specific Microsoft software and operating systems. Many different specialized MCTS are certifications available, and you must pass the corresponding exam to earn the certification. Some MCTS .NET Framework certifications require you to pass two exams. Like the MCAD certification, you can earn an MCTS certification in application development.

If you have more experience working with Visual Studio and .NET Framework, you may consider earning a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certification. This certification requires you to have 2-3 years of experience. You must then choose a specialty, such as Visual Studio 2005, 2008 or 2010 or SharePoint 2010. You can choose from different certification paths within each specialization, and each requires you to pass one corresponding exam. It's important to know that Microsoft tends to discontinue various MCPD certifications when they stop offering mainstream support for the related software.

What Can I Expect from Microsoft Certification Courses?

Many colleges and universities offer courses in Microsoft certifications. These courses prepare you for the certification exams and are likely backed by the Microsoft IT Academy. Courses and training programs are available both online and onsite. You can expect to take general courses like Microsoft Office and Windows Vista. You'll then become more specialized and take courses based on the certification you hope to earn.

How Do I Renew or Upgrade My MCAD Certification?

The MCAD certification itself never needs to be renewed. So if you've already earned it, there's no need for recertification. According to Microsoft, as long as there's a market for MCAD professionals, the designation will be valid.

You can also upgrade your certification if you have an MCAD. You can upgrade to a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) or a Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD). Typically, upgrading from an MCAD to an MCTS or MCPD requires you to take and pass 1-3 exams, depending on your certification goal.

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