This blog entry will describe what the MCSD certification is, how it is structured and how to prepare for MCSD certification. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MSCD) certification is an intermediate level Microsoft Certification offered to IT professionals and students. MCSD certification is an ideal fit for those individuals developing enterprise solutions based on Microsoft technologies and tools. Common job titles that require certification, such as MCSD, upon application are:

  • Software Architect
  • Software Developer
  • Software Engineer
  • Senior Software Programmer/Developer/Engineer.

MCSD Certification Requirements

When considering how to prepare for MCSD certification, the first thing to verify is any pre-exam requirements. There are no educational requirements for the MCSD certification, but a majority of individuals hold at least a Bachelor’s Degree. For many of the certification exams, Microsoft recommends a minimum of 1 to 2 years of working experience with a given technology solution. It is, therefore, expected that individuals taking the MCSD exam have strong communication and problem-solving skills, in addition to expertise in Visual Studio, .NET Framework, Azure, and other development tools.

MCSD Certification Exams

To complete the MCSD certification, an individual applicant must pass multiple exams, each one with a focus on a particular programming language, platform or service. For example, to complete the MCSD Azure Solutions Architect certification track, an applicant has to pass three main exams:

  1. Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions [Exam Code 70-532]
  2. Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions [Exam Code 70-533]
  3. Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions [Exam Code 70-534]

MCSD 70-532

The MCSD 70-532 exam is designed for a developer audience, with experience in .NET highly relevant. The exam requires that one be proficient with development techniques and tools, as well as have experience in developing resilient and scalable solutions. The MCSD 70-532 exam is comprised of the following topics:

  1. Design and Implement Websites (15 – 20%)
  2. Create and Manage Virtual Machines (20 – 25%)
  3. Design and implement cloud services (20-25%)
  4. Design and implement a storage strategy (20-25%)
  5. Manage application and network services (15-20%)

For the full exam objectives, refer to the official page of the MCSD 70-532.

MCSD 70-533

The MCSD Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions 70-533 is designed for an IT Pro audience. It is recommendable that someone intending to take this exam to have experience in the implementation of solutions on the Azure platform. The 70-533 exam requires that applicants have familiarity with Active Directory, networking, PowerShell, and general infrastructure aspects. The MCSD 70-533 exam is comprised of the following topics:

  1. Implement websites
  2. Implement virtual machines
  3. Implement cloud services
  4. Implement storage
  5. Implement an Azure Active Directory
  6. Implement virtual networks

All the 70-533 objectives have estimated percentages of 15-20% on a typical exam. For the full exam objectives, refer to the official 70-533 web page:

MCSD 70-534

The MCSD Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions 70-534 exam targets Software Architects or Solutions Architects. 70-534 requires one to have a strong understanding of the various technologies in Azure and their configurations in relation to one another. The MCSD 70-534 exam is comprised of the following topics:

  • Design Microsoft Azure infrastructure and networking
  • Secure resources
  • Design an application storage and data access strategy
  • Design an advanced application
  • Design websites
  • Design a management, monitoring, and business continuity strategy

Each of the 70-534 topic objectives has an estimated percent of 15-20% in an exam. For the full exam objectives, refer to the official web page.

Preparing for the MCSD Exams

Completing MCSD certification is both a thorough and complex process. So back to the initial question of, how to prepare for MCSD certification? Dedicated time to study the materials and practice exams will help you pass the 70% score requirement set by Microsoft.

Among the many resources for preparing for these exams are exam reference books and practice tests. Microsoft Azure offers several free eBooks for learning the various Azure features. Azure Exam Ref 70-533 & Exam Ref 70-534,  are some excellent resources for preparing for these exams.

A much more practical way to prepare for the certification exams is practicing and passing MCSD sample tests. An excellent place to find practice tests for the MCSD certification exams is at Exam-Labs, where you can find the sample tests for all three components – 70-532, 70-533, and 70-534.

By asking questions similar to those in the actual exams, Exam-labs’ tests allow you to have the experience of a real exam. The sample exams help you determine your weak areas, and help you focus on them before taking the actual tests. In addition to the sample tests, Exam-labs has created a YouTube video that will provide you with insight and preparedness for taking the MCSD 70-533 exam.

Using this information and links should help you understanding how to prepare for MCSD certification. These materials will aide you in preparing and passing the exams, and earning your MCSD Certification.