As a young developer in an ever-growing world of software and technology I’m discovering that getting the proper certification is incredibly essential. Getting the appropriate certification not only highlights your bond to the .NET structure but most importantly helps nourish and define who we are as developers.

When I set our on the path to work up the certification “talent-tree” I needed to first have a gander at the initial tests ahead and the desired “end-game”. To start you can get the MTA, which validates fundamental technology concepts. As you’ll see in the tracks posted in the link above, the Microsoft Technology Associate is a great way to get your feet wet in the IT world. While it’s not required by any of the tracks it is recommended by Microsoft as a way to validate your core knowledge in the technology field for infrastructure, database design, or software development.

Next up you need to choose your path (or paths); will it be the Server, Desktop, Application, Database, or Developer route? In this post I will focus on the four currently certified Developer Routes, all representing the MCSD, or the Solutions Developer Certification:

Windows Store Apps
This two-way road will demonstrate your expertise at designing and developing fast and fluid Windows 8 apps. Both Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2013 are newer technologies, with two different paths that allow you to attain the certification with a front-end focus on HTML 5 and JaveScript or C#.

Web Applications
Probably the most prized by versatile and pragmatic developers is the Web applications MCSD. This recognizes your ability to create and deploy modern web applications and services, from client-side structure to back-end solutions.

SharePoint Application
The SharePoint MCSD will demonstrate your ability to design and develop collaborative applications with Microsoft SharePoint, a powerful organization technology we use here at Mercury.

Application Lifecycle Management
This all-app-encompassing certification that focuses on the entire life-cycle of an application from start to finish that’s imperative for any project manager in the software world. 

You don’t have to stick to any one path either, you can specialize in any of these routes not only in order to further your own knowledge but your career. Me? I believe I’m going to grab my MTA as soon as possible and then begin my track towards the Web applications MCSD to elevate my career and skill-base to the ultimate level.

Whether you’re trying to get your career off the ground or just looking to dabble you can see the available classes and exams at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/default.aspx.

With 2013 behind us it is time to take a moment and look into the magic eight ball to see what the future in web has in store for us.

Personally, I believe that 2014 is going to be a great year for the web as more and more sites will embrace support for a wide variety of mobile devices as well as all kinds of tablets. Over the past years the amount of users who browse the web using the smartphone or tablet has risen seemingly exponentially and 2014 won’t be any different. In fact I am to the point where I curse the sites that I come across on my phone that are not optimized for my viewing pleasure when surfing the web at night on my smartphone and I’m sure I am not the only one.  2014 more than ever will be the year in which users will simply expect and demand sites to be view-able on their mobile device no matter how esoteric it may be. 

Without further ado let’s take a look at things that we should be seeing more of in 2014 as well as things I think we will likely see way less of:

More

Response, Responsive, Responsive

Responsive designs have had a really big and successful year and that trend will continue in 2014. If you have not heard of responsive design you may be living behind the moon, but just in case here’s your trusty Wikipedia definition:

Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.

We live in a mobile world and rather than creating entirely separate mobile sites we will see more sites adopting a responsive design so that information is optimized for different devices and no user is left out in the cold when viewing a given website.

Fancy Animations & Effects (CSS3, JQuery)

Does the term “Parallax Scrolling” ring a bell? For the average user it should not, however, it is likely you have come across a site that uses this technique lately as it’s the hottest thing in effects you will find around. Here’s a quick definition pulled straight from Wikipedia:

Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique in computer graphics, wherein background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D video game and adding to the immersion.

Still doesn’t ring a bell, does it? Well
check out this really cool implementation that was done for the “Life of Pi” movie last year. See it now? Well all the ‘kool kids’ are doing it so you will see more of it in 2014. 

Of course other fancy animations have been popping up here and there and we will see more animations using CSS3 and JQuery to replace the old Flash animations, banners, etc. 

Single Page Websites

Single page websites will be popping up more and more as HTML5 and JQuery/AJAX will dominate and drive development techniques especially on content lite sites. On a single page website all resources required are loaded at once and are then served in chunks to the user based on what they click on. AJAX is then sprinkled in to dynamically retrieve only information relevant to what the user interacted with from a data store. Take a look at this christmas special from Jack Daniels to see an example.

Scrolling

Last year really saw a boom in sites that used long scrolling pages and this year we will only see more of that as users are not afraid of scrolling anymore and usually would rather scroll than navigate around separate pages. Take a look one of our latest portfolio pieces in which we used long scrolling pages.

Less

Flash

Steve Jobs’ influence did not end with his untimely death. Adobe has announced they are abandoning further development of the Flash platform on mobile devices about 2 years ago, here’s an excerpt from the original announcement:

Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations. We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.

That marked the beginning of the end. Do you remember that time when I mentioned things were going to be going more mobile and responsive? Need I say more? 

Large Sign-up forms

Have you ever gone to a site and were ready to sign up when you are presented with a form that holds about a gazillion form inputs and you decided “Nah, not right now”? Websites are more aware of users nowadays wanting to get through sign up processes quickly and efficiently and are trending away from the mega blaster forms to fill out to gain access to their content, etc. Also remember when I said things were going more mobile and responsive? I got better things to do than to sit on my phone and fill out a form that is ye big and I am sure you feel the same.

As you can see there are some cool new techniques that are on the rise and have the web world buzzing, but be careful as next year some of these could end up on the “Less” list if used excessively, not every site requires the latest fancy schmanzy tech.

What do you think is in store for 2014?