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Degree Seeker Week at SQL University, Lesson 1


Degree Seeker Week at SQL University, Lesson 1

Welcome eager learners to Lesson 1 of Degree Seeker Week at SQL University. I’m your guest professor for this course, and I will try to guide you through the various certification tracks for SQL Server available through the Microsoft certification program. This class is divided into three lessons. You will find the course syllabus below. Accordingly, as the lessons progress, the skill level will advance as well.

Lesson 1:        Introduction to Microsoft Certification for SQL Server (level 100)

Lesson 2:        Becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (level 200), Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lesson 3:        Seeking Advanced Microsoft Certification (level 500), Friday, July 9, 2010

Lesson 4:        Extra Credit – Non-SQL Server Skills for DBA’s, Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introduction to Microsoft Certification for SQL Server


People seek certification for many different reasons, and there is no single reason that can be said to be the only correct reason to get certified. Whether you are looking to prove skills you already have or wanting to develop skills you want to have, certification can be beneficial for a most professionals.

Defining Terms


Let’s start by defining some terms and acronyms to make sure we are all on the same page when I start discussing these terms.


MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional: A generic term used to refer to anyone who has at least 1 current Microsoft certification.

MCTS – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: A base certification in a product specific track. Typically, 1 exam is required.

MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional: A more comprehensive certification in a product specific track. Typically, requires the MCTS exam plus at least 1 other exam.

MCDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Administrator: This is the old certification track for SQL Server discontinued after SQL Server 2000.

MCM – Microsoft Certified Master: The most advanced certification track for which you can test. An MCM is expected to be able to deliver a comprehensive solution requiring a wide-range of skills and technologies within their specific product. Pre-requisites and testing requirements for this certification track will be discussed later.

MCA – Microsoft Certified Architect: This certification validates your skills as an IT architect who can deliver a solution that requires technical expertise and knowledge as well as an in-depth understanding of business acumen. Pre-requisites and testing requirements for this certification track will be discussed later.

BI – Business Intelligence: The SQL Server technologies and lines of business used for delivering business decision making tools such as SQL Server Reporting Services and SQL Server Analysis Services.

Benefits of Certification


"Forty-three percent of survey respondents report salary increases as a result of Microsoft Certification."
Redmond magazine 2006 survey of Microsoft IT professionals compensation


There are many benefits to becoming certified in a specific product track such as SQL Server for professionals and businesses alike. Some of the benefits of certification for professionals include:


·         Access to Microsoft resources available only to MCP’s.

·         A proven level of knowledge

·        A degree of respect from peers and other professionals

·        Potential for college credit from Excelsior College

·        Access to career resources available through the MCP program

·         Allows you to meet higher standard for job requirements

·         Combination of certification and experience often accepted in lieu of a college degree


Certification Tracks for SQL Server


Beginning with SQL Server 2005, the certification process was completely revamped. The generalized MCDBA certification that had been used up through SQL Server 2000 was retired, and the MCITP track was introduced. The new certification track parallels the course that the industry has taken. More and more, SQL Server professionals are specializing in one or two lines of business within the industry and less professionals are jacks-of-all-trades. The MCDBA track was separated into two separate tracks; Database Administrator and Database Developer. A new track was added to account for the newer technologies and line of business offered by SQL Server; BI Developer.


I am going to focus mainly on the most current track of certifications even though older tracks may still be available. For example, the information below is for the SQL Server 2008 tracks only.




MCTS Database Administrator

70-432: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Installation and Maintenance

MCITP Database Administrator

MCTS + 70-450: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Server Infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

MCTS Database Developer

70-433: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development

MCITP Database Developer

MCTS + 70-451: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

MCTS BI Developer

70-448: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

MCITP BI Developer

MCTS + 70-452: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008



Certification Pre-requisites

Qualifying Actions

MCM SQL Server 2008

MCITP Database Developer and MCITP Database Administrator 2005+

3 focused exams + 6 hour qualifying lab

MCA SQL Server 2008

MCM SQL Server 2008

Project review by and defend to board


Preview of Lesson 2


In Wednesday’s lesson, we will take a look at the Specialist and Professional series of certifications. You will learn the differences between the different tracks and how to choose the track that is right for you. We will delve into study techniques and resources. We will discuss how to prepare for the exams and what to expect from your testing experience.


Additional Resources


Microsoft Certification Benefits:

Microsoft Certification Offerings for SQL Server:

SQL Server Certification Path Roadmap:

·         Download XPS file (565 KB)

·         Download PDF file (302 KB)

SQL Server Certification Brochure

·         Download XPS file(1,103 KB)

·         Download PDF file (1,900 KB)