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SQL Server 2012 Certifications Revamped

By Brad McGehee,

Forget what you thought you knew about SQL Server certification, as Microsoft has completely redesigned the SQL Server 2012 certification program, making is more difficult, costly, and time-consuming to attain. In addition, whether you like it or not, not only will you need to know how to administer SQL Server (which is of course fully expected), you will also have to become familiar with how SQL Server interacts with the Cloud (Microsoft’s Cloud) and Data Warehousing. If you are not up on the Cloud or Data Warehousing, you will have a lot of preparation work ahead of you. The new exams will become available starting in June 2012.

The most basic SQL Server certification is now called the MCSA: SQL Server, where MCSA stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, and it requires three tests:

  • Exam 461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Exam 462: Administering a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Database
  • Exam 463: Implementing Data Warehouses in Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Once you have attained the MCSA: SQL Server certification, then you can earn either the MCSE: Data Platform, or MCSE: Business Intelligence, where MCSE stands for Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert. Don’t confuse the MCSE designation with the older MCSE designations, which are completely different.

The MCSE: Data Platform requires all of the MCSA exams, plus these two additional exams:

  • Exam 464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
  • Exam 465: Designing Database Solutions for SQL Server 2012

The MCSE: MCSE: Business Intelligence requires all of the MCSA exams, plus these two additional exams:

  • Exam 466: Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Exam 467: Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

While none of the above tests include the word “cloud” in them, be sure to review each test’s objectives, as the Cloud is covered in some of them. If you are really into the Cloud, Microsoft offers two different Cloud certifications distinct from the SQL Server certifications.

Microsoft will continue to offer the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) for SQL Server, but currently it has yet to be updated for SQL Server 2012.

With all the changes in the Microsoft SQL Server certifications, I would like to hear your opinion. Do you think the changes are a good thing or a bad thing? Also, how many of you are planning to get certified for SQL Server 2012? And do you think the time and money required to get certified is worth it? Please share what you think with us.

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