I've been fooling around preparing for the XML Web Service exam. This exam is by far the more difficult of any of the other exam, mostly because it covers stuff I simply have no reason to work with on a day to day basis. Giant chunks of remoting seem to be in this exam. I mean, I know how to work with remoting and I understand it, but I really don't see where your average developer looking to get their MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer) really should be an expert at writing remoting components. It just isn't something used in most applications by people I think this cert is targeting.
An example path to get your MCAD would be to pass the web application exam, pass the SQL 2000 design exam, and then take the XML Web Service exam. Now, keep in mind everyone takes the XML Web Service exam. If you want to be a web developer or windows developer, you still need to pass this exam. But, let's look at what is covered: XML Web Services, Windows Services, COM Interop / PInvoke, Remoting and COM+. To properly prepare for this exam, you would need to take course 2389, 2557, 2415, 2524 and still need to pick up some where on how to write Windows services and read Ingo's book on remoting. To pass the web exam: Course 2310.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they should dumb down the certification. But it really seems that if I was looking to hire someone to do some web or windows development, I really don't care if they know how to write a Windows Service. What I would like to see is making sure consuming a web service is covered in both the windows and web exams, creating web services are in the web exam, and that potential certification canidates could take the Windows, Web and SQL Server exam. I think that would create the best rounded canidate. Leave remoting, windows services and the such to the MCSD candidates.