SharePoint Master Certification and VS 2010 Tools


I have been a little behind for the last few days due to recent laser vision correction. (No I do not yet have actual laser vision, but I am working on it.)

Two important things of note happened recently. New Tools, and New SharePoint Certifications.

First the Tools: At TechEd EMEA in Barcelona the GM for Visual Studio announced/demonstrated some pretty sweet new tools for SharePoint in Visual Studio 2010.

  1. Server Explorer – Basically for viewing lists and other elements in SharePoint ‘inside’ of Visual Studio.This one isn’t new, we have lots of community tools similar to this, and ISV’s have created other tools like this, but good to see Microsoft is implementing something like this directly in the interface. The more we do things like this the easier it will be for new SharePoint developers.
  2. Windows SharePoint Services Project (WSP file) Import to create a new solution.Again not entirely new, as we have WSP builder and other codeplex solutions that already do something very similar to this and (while debatable) seem to be just as easy to use.
  3. Added a new web part project item and showed the Visual web part designer which loads a user control as a web part for SharePoint.Finally. Honestly, I remember back in the 2003 days where Jan Tielen released that wonderful component called Smart Part which I used all the time (and still used for a while in 2007) to help quickly build out solutions using ASCX (user control) design interfaces.
  4. Event Receiver adding ‘wizard’ to choose the event receiver and just create a source file with that event receiver.Again we have ‘similar’ ways of doing this now thanks to the community. I personally love the explorer tools that allow you to tie the event receiver directly to the list, and this pattern for design looks similar.
  5. Added an ASPX workflow initiation form to a workflow project and showed how this workflow initiation form has designer capability.Yay.
  6. Showed the packaging explorer and the packaging editor which lets you structure the SharePoint features and WSP file.This will save us all the time of renaming and repackaging stuff.

See for yourself at: http://channel9.msdn.com/tags/Visual+Studio+2010/

Oh and the Visual Studio 2010 home page: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vs2008/products/cc948977.aspx

So good news, lots of time saving tools in the future, and it will certainly help save me the time of training and pressuring dev’s to use community tools.

In Barcelona again the “Microsoft Certified Master” or MCM for Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the “Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) for Office SharePoint Server 2007 are now the ‘top-tier technical certifications’ for SharePoint products and technologies.

This is definetly a step in the right direction. The problem with the current system of certs is that they are fairly straight forward. Aside from the MCTS specialization there is nothing that really makes the certifications stand out as much as they should. Development or IT Config.

With some terrific training (and focus on harder to test areas such as testing) it should really provide a greater opportunity for skilled SharePoint professionals to grow more. This also could mean (and hopefully does mean) that SharePoint will continue to have even more growth in the training, certification, and community marketplace showing that SharePoint as a whole is becoming more mature in the Microsoft platform.

Here is the MCM page: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/master/SharePoint/default.mspx

Interested? (Apply Here: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/master/register/default.mspx)

Now comes the thing I don’t love. The god awful price tag. I understand that certifications need to be difficult to obtain, but I think that should be related to your skill and knowledge level, not having tens of thousands of dollars to spare. (This is probably because I still eat kraft dinner often to help pay off my debts, so I might be a bit biased.)

Pricing Structure for the MCM Certification\

Nonrefundable program application fee: US $125
Program fee: US $18,500
Non-lab exam retakes: US $250
Lab exam retakes: US $1,500

Wowzer. That’s a big sum of money for the program fee and you must attend that training in order to take the exam? Sad face. However for those of you with gold pants, or who can convince your organizations to pay for something like this the next dates are: February 9-28th, 2009 and April 13-May 2, 2009.

Still exciting news for both SharePoint certifications and Visual Studio,
Richard

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