2016-02-07

SQL Server Certification Path

One of my recent goals was to finish up my MCSA certification for SQL Server. After finishing 70-461 and 70-462, I only needed to pass one more test: 70-463: "Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012".

Looking at the exam content, it seemed as if the bulk of the exam was about using SSIS. There wasn't that much that covered data warehouses. Why is that test so poorly named? What a let down. I felt duped. Don't get me wrong: SSIS is a great tool. I've been working with SQL long enough to have used DTS packages from back in the SQL 7/2000 era. I fully appreciate how good SSIS is. But to spend an entire certification testing cycle learning nothing but SSIS? That seemed like overkill to me, if not a poor use of my time.

Fortunately, there are substitution options for 70-463. One of them is Exam 483: Programming in C#. "Wonderful!", I thought to myself when I discovered this option. I was a C# developer in a former life, so I should crank through that test quickly. Or so I thought. C# (and the .Net Framework) had evolved much more than I had realized over the years. The last time I did any serious C# development was back around 2007. If I remember my .Net history, v3.0 and v3.5 had both been released by then. But I hadn't taken the time to significantly familiarize myself with the new features of those versions. In short, to pass 70-483, I'd have to learn all the new features from about 2006 (.Net 3.0) onward.

Nonetheless, I stubbornly trudged forward with 70-483. Thankfully, I passed on the first attempt. I'm happy to have the MCSA in hand, but if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably take 70-463.

I'd be interested in hearing about your certification experiences. Did you take 70-463? If so, was the material a good learning experience? If you took a substitute exam, which one did you take? And why? Comments welcome.

NOTE: this should go without saying, but if you post a comment, please don't violate the Non-Disclosure Agreement for Microsoft Certification Exams.

SQL Server 2012 MCSA

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