Taking (and passing!) the 70-461 Exam and Pursuing My MCSE Certification

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Last week, I took the 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 exam.  I decided recently to try and achieve getting my MCSE: Data Platform certification within the next six months.  Taking this exam was step one, and now I have four remaining.  Rather than spending a bunch of money on studying materials, I opted to self study the ‘Skills Measured’ list and watch the exam prep videos, both of which are freely available on the exam’s description page.  I made a study guide, focused on the areas I didn’t know as well, but also made sure I went over all areas at least once.  The exam wasn’t a walk in the park, but I passed, and am excited to move on to the next one.

Earlier in my career, I considered pursuing a SQL Server certification and was hesitant.  I didn’t want potential employers to focus on the fact that I had a certification and think that was the breadth of my experience.  Even though I was only a couple years into my career at the time, I was fortunate to have some very good experience in those two years, and wanted the focus to remain there.  I decided to table this pursuit, and told myself I’d revisit it later.

I continued to have success and gained more good experience throughout my career, and moved into a senior role by the time I was 27.  I’ve been in that role now for a couple of years, and felt like this was a good time to revisit pursuing a certification track.  Microsoft has made great strides in designing their certifications, putting the focus on designing solutions rather than a job profile, and I wanted another way to push myself to continue learning.  I’m enjoying the pursuit, and will feel a great deal of accomplishment when I finish the other four exams.  If anyone out there has completed or is actively pursuing the MCSE: Data Platform certification, I’d love to hear about your experience!  Oh, and maybe study tips too.

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