Developer Exams Spotlight Security

Microsoft plans to beta test two new security-related developer exams April 21 through May 4.

Having announced a slew of exams on the networking operating systems side in the past three months, Microsoft Corp. is now turning its attention to new security-focused exams for developers. The company recently just posted information on two new exams:

Exam 70-330, numbered 71-330 while in beta, carries stringent requirements--Microsoft recommends that candidates have at least three or more years of experience. Exam 70-340 (71-340 in beta) has similar experience recommendations. Both exams are expected to be beta tested April 21 through May 4, according to information posted on the Pearson Vue testing site.

In the wake of security concerns that are plaguing the company and its customers, the timing of these exams couldn't be better. "Security is an increasingly important topic for developers, and Microsoft is continually evaluating its certification offerings based on customer needs," explains Dan Truax, Director, Business and Product Strategy for Microsoft Learning. "We are responding to demand from both individuals and hiring managers to recognize these essential security skills within our current certification track."

That Microsoft is emphasizing security with these exams means that "Microsoft is expecting developers to keep up their end of the bargain and learn about security; it's not just lip service anymore," says Jason Mauss, an MCSD and solution architect with Knowledge Relay in San Francisco.

Mauss adds that Microsoft's new offerings come at a crucial time, not only for the company, but for customers who are bombarded with security information: "The industry is still going through quite a learning process in terms of how to best implement security for systems that need to remain as open and available as possible. You want everyone in your organization to have access to the data they need to perform their job, but you don't want data that could compromise your company landing in the wrong hands. Finding the right balance is not an easy thing to do."

Despite the security focus of the new exams, Truax says a specialist track isn't in the offing, and one would be mistaken to draw parallels to the new exams and those that were developed for the MCSA and MCSE specialist tracks. "There is...a recognized subset of IT professionals who spend the vast majority of their time concentrating on security issues... [but] very few developers focus purely on security within their job role, so the need for a security specialization for developers is not as clearly defined."

Both exams count as electives under the MCAD/MCSD for .NET and the MCDBA titles; the certification requirements guides did not include these exams as of this writing.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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