Pre-requesites for MCAD cert - where to begin?

From: Kevin Gibbons (kevin_at_)
Date: 11/28/04

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 12:16:46 -0500

Hello all,

I'm tossing around the idea of getting some MS certifications, and
really like the looks of the MCAD and MCSD certs. The only problem
is, I do not really have a solid programming background and would more
or less be starting fresh.

Let me clarify a bit more, since I don't want you guys to assume I'm a
total noob :-) I've been working in the industry for nearly 8yrs, but
for the past 7yrs the main focus of my job has been on Linux web
servers. I have also overseen development of a number of Perl & PHP
web applications, although I have never taken on the coding of these
applications myself.

The main focus of my work on these Perl/PHP/MySQL-based projects was
coming up with the initial concept, interface design (using HTML,
XTHML, CSS, etc..), install & implementation, and testing and
administration. I can certainly work my way around code, but it has
never been in my best interest to take on the coding simply because of
the learning curve involved, and financial and time factors involved.

>From the looks of the side-by-side comparison of MCAD vs. MCSD, it
appears MCAD would be a bit more friendly to the novice programmer.
Where MCSD appers to be a quite in-depth certification.

So I have a few questions that I'm hoping I can get some advice on:

1. With my level of programming experience (which is basically zero in
the MS world), can anyone suggest a series of books to start out with?

I've looked on Amazon, and you can find "Beginner's guide to VB.NET"
and "Beginner's guide to C# .NET" until your eyes bleed from looking
at all the search results. But I have no idea which route to take in
starting out.

2. Would you guys feel I'm reaching a bit too high in thinking of
acquiring one of these certifications?

I realize I do not have a Comp Sci degree, nor do I have a solid
programming background. However, I am finishing up my IT degree right
now, and have a real desire to learn application development.

I guess everyone has to start somewhere when they decide to acquire
these certifications -- and not everyone has had the advantage of
being taught on the job. So I'm really looking for advice on which
path to start out with to gain the pre-requesite knowledge.

3. I know that bricks and morter instruction courses can cost big
bucks. But I have always absorbed information much better when
learning it in a classroom environment.

So I'm looking for some advice on people's take on the instruction
course route vs. self-teaching from books?

I'll end my long-winded plea for help here :-) Any advice you guys
can give on any of this would be greatly appreciated!

Kevin G.