I am basically following something roughly like this now. About 18 months ago, I moved out of Application Support and into the Systems. I was immediately drawn to SQL Server, as I found it challenging and interesting. I started out with some certification books, which can be a bit too much for a beginner. Regardless, I read everything I could and tried to fill in the gaps with internet resources or additional books.
My advice for anyone doing the same thing is quite similar. Get a SQL Developer Edition and start playing around with it. Also, get a book that provides an overview of SQL Server. I think it is important to have a good overview before you dive into the certification materials. Additionally, pick up a beginners book on writing SQL if you aren't already comfortable with it. There are some great books, which are easy to find if you check Amazon.com. From there, I think you could quite easily jump into the certification books. Overall they're pretty good, but from my experience you definitely need Books Online for a more comprehensive study.