Microsoft BI Certifications or Why SQL is a 4-Letter Word

  • Andrew Sears

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 251

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Microsoft BI Certifications or Why SQL is a 4-Letter Word

  • okhere

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 433

    Thank you Andrew!

    You have covered lots of details and at an excellent level.

    Only the costs remain unexplored!

    :ermm:

    Osama

  • Paul Hover

    Grasshopper

    Points: 15

    Actually since the start of this year Microsoft has dropped exam 70-431 from the requirements list. So for the Technology Specialist on SQL Server BI you "only" need exam 70-445. After that, passing exam 70-446 earns you the IT Pro SQL Server BI certification.

    Regards,

    Paul Hover

    MCT, MCITP SQL Server 2005 BI, MCSE

  • Raúl Poveda

    Grasshopper

    Points: 11

    Hello there !!!!

    Bad news from me .... I tried to pass the 70-446 exam and I didn`t pass it.

    Why ?

    From my point of view it is very VERY clear:

    - fist, the exam itself, I mean, the format of the exam is just horrible !!!, 6 practical cases with a very large explanation at the beginning and then 9-10 questions. The explanation is very large and you have to learn by heart because you can NOT see it with the questions (at the same time), so each time that you have to answer a question if you don't remember the part of the explanation that is related to, you have to come back to the explanation an read it again and again, it is simply frustrating !!!!!!!

    - second, the questions, the exam is plenty of technical questions, but the certification (70-446) is oriented to Project Managers that is most of the cases are not technical (that is my case), the 70-445 is the certification oriented to the programmers and the technical people, but It seems they use the same kind of questions for both, and again it's frustrating !!!!!! So from my experience, they are not honest, they have 4 courses for this certification with a functional (project manager) orientation but in the exam they don't follow this work philosofy and they add technical questions.

    I have sent several emails to MCPHelp@microsoft.com making a complain but they didn't give me a final solution.

    I'm not going to try again the certification exam if they don't change this.

    Thanks and regards.

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172545

    Andrew,

    Thanks for the information on the BI cert. I've been looking everywhere for additional information on what it covers. Though, I was surprised to see you list two exams (445 & 446) for it. I was under the impression there was only one BI test.

    Sounds like I have a lot of studying to do since I don't have any SSAS & assemblies experience. :pinch: Oh, well. I plan on getting this one last anyway, so I should have plenty o' time to learn. @=)

    Thanks again! Loved the article. Very clear, concise and detailed!

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Adam Machanic

    SSCoach

    Points: 15259

    Just one correction: Beta exams do count toward certification, if you pass them.

    --
    Adam Machanic
    whoisactive

  • Aaron C. Sentell

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1167

    I have no BI and data warehousing experience, but I know this is a huge topic that I need to become familiar with. Would studying for these certification exams be a good way to do this, or do I need to try to get some hands-on first? We don't have a data warehouse here, so my hands on would be virtual labs, reading books, studying on my own, etc.

    Thanks,

    Aaron

  • Adam Machanic

    SSCoach

    Points: 15259

    Aaron:

    One of the major problems with certs in general is that the skills required to pass the cert are often a tiny subset of the skills required to actually do the job. Studying for cert exams, therefore, gives you only one benefit: you'll pass the cert exam. Learning the skills to do the job will both help you pass the exam and give you the job skills.

    I would start with a book and some virtual labs, as you mentioned. But beyond that there is no better way to learn than experience. You don't have a DW there? Don't let that stop you... Build a small test one from your company's data, during your downtime. Building a warehouse will give you tremendous insights into your company's data and business. Who knows, maybe they'll even adopt it! If not, at least you will have gone through the motions and you'll have a much better grasp on BI than people who only read the books and did the labs.

    --
    Adam Machanic
    whoisactive

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172545

    Ditto to Adam's post.

    When I was still working retail / customer service, I created Access databases to track my supply orders and other items. I didn't need to do it for the job, but it helped me learn relational database structure and techniques that helped me transition to my first IT job.

    Plus, even if your company doesn't use your DW, it's an item that you can put on your resume. Even if you say that you did it in a test lab, it's still legitimate experience. @=)

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Andrew Sears

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 251

    Thanks for all of the positive feedback on my first article from everyone.

    So beta exams are free AND they count towards certification? Is there a mailing list I can signup to see them as they are released?

    Since some of the answers on beta exams are obviously wrong, I wonder why they would count?

    cheers,

    Andrew

  • Adam Machanic

    SSCoach

    Points: 15259

    I seem to recall SSC announcing them last time around, so you're already on the list 🙂

    Theoretically none of the answers should be wrong on the beta exam. The test has already gone through a few revisions and reviews by that point. The goal of the beta exam is not to test correctness, but rather to ensure that questions are phrased properly such that most qualified candidates will be able to answer them, but so that they're not too easy. MS takes all of the answers from all of the beta test takers and focuses on the questions that the least number of people got the correct answers for, and the questions that the most number of people got the correct answers for. These are evaluated to determine whether they should be rewritten. Perhaps a few incorrect answers are found and weeded out at that point, but it should be rare.

    --
    Adam Machanic
    whoisactive

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172545

    Becase as long as you pass, you pass, regardless of the exam version. @=)

    And if you make a note on the Betas (or an exam) about a problem being wrong or the answers being wrong for the scenario, then Provantage forwards the information to Microsoft who re-evaluates the questions based on your notes. After the review, if you've made your case sufficiently in the attached notes, Microsoft or Provantage can choose to alter your grade upwards because you obviously understood the material and caught them with their pants down. @=)

    Sometimes, like in a beta, this can make the difference between passing and failing. Though, I wouldn't advise people to try this tact just so they can "fix" their grade. You really have to know what you're talking about and provide excellent reasoning for this to work. And the question/answer setup has to be actually wrong and not just a trick question.

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Brandie Tarvin

    SSC Guru

    Points: 172545

    Adam,

    Theoretically, you might be right, but in the past I've actually seen an exam where they gave me an example of a database in Simple recovery mode and started off the question with "After you back up the transaction log...".

    And everyone knows that you can't do transaction log backups on a database in simple recovery mode. @=) Unless there's a trick I'm missing... Which is entirely possible. @=)

    Brandie Tarvin, MCITP Database AdministratorLiveJournal Blog: http://brandietarvin.livejournal.com/[/url]On LinkedIn!, Google+, and Twitter.Freelance Writer: ShadowrunLatchkeys: Nevermore, Latchkeys: The Bootleg War, and Latchkeys: Roscoes in the Night are now available on Nook and Kindle.

  • Adam Machanic

    SSCoach

    Points: 15259

    Sorry to break this to you, Brandie, but your comments make no difference on your score. I was told by MSL that they are not evaluated together (and from what I gathered from reading between the lines, rarely read at all).

    --
    Adam Machanic
    whoisactive

  • Adam Machanic

    SSCoach

    Points: 15259

    Brandie Tarvin (10/30/2007)


    Theoretically, you might be right, but in the past I've actually seen an exam where they gave me an example of a database in Simple recovery mode and started off the question with "After you back up the transaction log...".

    Sure, there are bound to be some incorrect answers in the beta exam -- and even in the final version of the exam if you ask me 😀

    ... but my point was that finding the incorrect answers is not the main goal of the beta.

    --
    Adam Machanic
    whoisactive

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