SQL Server 2008 Certification Guide
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The SQL Server 2008 certification paths allow you to become:
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
- Microsoft Certified IT Professional
- Microsoft Certified Architect
- Microsoft Certified Master
The MCITP and MCTS certifications each come in three flavors. I'll quickly go over each of these paths to help you decide which route is right for you.
Keep an eye out for my next few articles where I will go over each path in detail, to help you better prepare for the exams.
Before going into the exam paths, it is important to note, if you wish to become a Microsoft Certified Master or Microsoft Certified Architect, you will need to take two full specific certification paths. You will need to become a MCITP Database Administrator, and a MCITP Database Developer.
If you choose to take the MCITP Business Intelligence Developer path, you will not be able to use that towards becoming a Microsoft Certified Master and will need to take the other two paths in full.
Why Become a SQL Server Professional?
Database Administration and Development Professionals, especially those with SQL Server 2008 experience are in high demand. CareerBuilder and CNN listed DBAs as the second most promising job for 2010. And SimplyHired listed SQL Server 2008 DBA salaries at $82,000 this month. So if you're looking for a career change or a direction, this might just be the right path for you.
SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist
In the case of SQL Server 2008 certifications, the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist is an important, but entry level certification. You will need to demonstrate your skills and abilities in using, implementing, building upon, troubleshooting, and debugging SQL Server 2008. Microsoft recommends you have at least one or more years of experience using SQL Server 2008.
There are three routes to becoming a MCTS on SQL Server 2008:
- SQL Server Administration
- SQL Server Database Development
- SQL Server Business Intelligence
Let's take a closer look at each of these.
SQL Server 2008 Administration Track
The SQL Server Administration route requires you to take Exam 70-432 TS: SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance. By completing this exam, you will have earned the title of Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance.
SQL Server 2008 Database Development Track
The next route is specializing in SQL Server Database Development and requires you to take Exam 70-433 TS: SQL Server 2008 Database Development. By completing this exam, you will have earned the title of Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2008, Database Development.
SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Track
The final route allows you to specialize in Business Intelligence. This route requires you to take Exam 70-448 TS: SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance. By completing this exam, you will have earned the title of Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance.
SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified IT Professional
To become a Microsoft Certified IT Professional, you first must become a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. You must demonstrate your range of skills and ability to use SQL Server 2008 in a particular job role.
Microsoft recommends you have at least two or more years of experience as an IT Professional and working with SQL Server. Depending on which Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist exam you decide to take, you will have a corresponding MCITP exam for that track.
MCITP SQL Server 2008 Administration Track
So for example, if you took the MCTS 70-432 Implementation and Maintenance exam, you will want to continue in the Administration path by taking Exam 70-450 Pro: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Server Infrastructure using Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
Only by successfully completing both the 70-432 MCTS and 70-450 MCITP exams, you will earn the title of Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Administrator 2008.
MCITP SQL Server 2008 Database Development Track
If you took the 70-433 Database Development exam, you will need to take Exam 70-451 Pro: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
By successfully passing these two exams, you will have earned the title of Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Developer 2008.
MCITP SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Track
Finally, if you took the 70-448 Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance exam, you will need to take Exam 70-452 Pro: Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance.
And by passing these two exams, you will have earned the title of Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Business Intelligence Developer 2008.
SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master
As I noted in the beginning of this article, only two of the paths above will allow you to become a Microsoft Certified Master for SQL Server 2008. Unfortunately, while the Business Intelligence track is well sought after, it is not included in Microsoft's Masters Program.
After completing both the MCITP Database Developer and MCITP Database Administrator exams, you must apply, attend, and successfully complete a three week training program, pass three computer based tests during the training, and successfully complete the final qualification lab exam. This is a long and tough process, but becoming a Microsoft Certified Master is a rare and extremely valuable addition to anyone's resume.
As reported by Microsoft, businesses show a 60% annual increase in revenue generated from Microsoft Certified Masters; double the number of successful interactions during the presale cycle; triple the number of requests for advice and/or project participation; job offers at 30% increase in salary; 90+% success rate where 60% is the norm; eligibility for partnership at a boutique consultancy; 95% customer return rates; and up to 50% increase in billable rates.
As you can tell by these statistics, most businesses and corporations put a lot of value and show extreme benefit from Microsoft Certified Masters, and an average of 30% increase in pay backs up that fact.
SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Architect
There are only a handful of Microsoft Certified Architects in the world today. Most of them are quickly hired by Microsoft and put to work on their own products.
Consider this certification the best of the best. This program enables you to prove your expertise is among the highest-achieving professionals in IT architecture and puts you on a level of advanced proficiency accomplished only by few.
Microsoft notes that successful candidates generally have ten or more years of IT experience and five or more years of specific architectural experience.
In order to become a Microsoft Certified Architect, you must first become a Microsoft Certified Master. Once you have obtained this title, you will need to successfully pass the Microsoft Certified Architect Review Board interview conducted by Microsoft and industry experts.
More SQL Server Certification Info To Come
In my next few articles, I will cover the details of what you will need to know from start to finish in working your way up the ranks and earning these valuable SQL Server 2008 certifications.
It is important to note, that most career professionals can and do make a very good living as Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists and Microsoft Certified IT Professionals. While very few choose to work their way all the way up to becoming a Master or Architect, it is attainable.
Also keep an eye out for my articles on Microsoft Certified IT Professional upgrade paths from SQL Server 2005.