I am not about to get into a theoretical discussion of whether certifications will benefit you in your career. I am a firm believer that this follows the rule of “it depends”. However if you’re a professional in a field, whether plumbing or technology, certification is a good way to ensure a rounding or your skills. You may be a 400 level guru in SSIS, but you’ve never had to monitor a cube for performance issues or deploy Kerberos in SSRS. I tested and received my MCDBA some years ago and I really enjoyed the experience. The tests covered aspects of windows environment management that were not part of my daily routine and I learned so much.
I recently decided to sit for the two new SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence exams (70-448, 70-452). I really enjoyed the experience. I worked through some practice tests for a couple of days and reviewed some material that I was not as versed on and went in. I decided to share my thoughts on the tests (that I’m allowed to share within the confines of the NDA:) ).
MCTS – 70-448
This test was the more difficult of the two for me as it is very function oriented. It reviews the foundations for why you do things and then how (very specifically) in the MS BI Stack. I had questions from every section in the outline MS has published on their website. I was a little light in the reposting services advanced configuration areas, but my SSAS chops carried me through with a strong score. This is test has a host of very specific questions and will test your knowledge on these subjects for real!
MCITP – 70-452
This test is more architecture, performance, and end to end solution based. I found this test to be more analogous to my daily activities so it was easier for me than the 70-448 test. I took it late at night at a late night Prometric in San Francisco and was still able to pull a strong score. I really enjoyed this test since I learned some more advanced monitoring, audit and configuration functionality for SSRS in order to do well on that portion of the test.
All in all the tests are a good representation of knowledge of the MS BI Stack and I think MS has done a great job of providing a continual plan to help pros stay up to date and certified. Email me if you have questions and I’m happy to help. (Within the NDA of course… )