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.