SQL Server 2012 Certification: Everything You Need to Know

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With the recent release of SQL Server 2012 to the public, expect to see some changes to Microsoft Learning's SQL Server 2012 certifications. Do not worry though if you are already certified for SQL Server 2008; you could easily transition your certification to SQL Server 2012.

If you have yet to get certified for any version of SQL Server, you would need three different examinations. You need to pass these exams to be a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate on SQL Server 2012:

MCSA SQL Server 2012 Path 1

On the other hand, if you have been licensed as a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist on SQL Server 2008, you would need to get an additional two examinations to get a MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification under your belt. The two exams, Exam 457 and Exam 458, are examinations for transitioning your Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate on SQL Server 2008 to a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate on SQL Server 2012.

MCSA SQL Server 2012 Path 2

You could still pursue a MCSA: SQL Server 2008 certification now by taking Exam 432 (Implementation & Maintenance of Microsoft SQL Server 2008) and Exam 448 (SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Maintenance and Development).

Take note, however, that none of these five exams is currently available. Exams 461, 462 and 463 are slated to be released in June 2012, while Exams 457 and 458 are due out in August 2012. This is because SQL Server 2012 is relatively new. You can, however, sign up for a Microsoft Live ID here and ask for e-mailed updates on when these certification exams would be available.

Going Further: Become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert on Data Platform or Business Intelligence

The MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification would serve as your springboard to further certifications such as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert on Business Intelligence or a MCSE: Data Platform.

Changes to MCSE: Data Platform

To become a MCSE: Data Platform certified professional, you would need to be an MCSA: SQL Server 2012 professional first. After this, you would have to take two more exams, Exam 464 (Developing Databases on SQL Server 2012) and Exam 465 (Designing SQL Server 2012 Database Solutions).

If you already were a Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional on either Database Developer 2008 or Database Administrator 2008, you would need to take Exam 457 and 458, which are the same exams that you take to transition any MCTS: SQL Server certification to SQL Server 2012. After that, you also need to take Exam 459 to transition the MCITP: Database Developer 2008 or Database Administrator 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform.

Exam 464 and 465 are due out in June 2012, while Exam 459 is slated to be released in August 2012.

Changes to MCSE: Business Intelligence

If you are planning to pursue an MCSE: Business Intelligence certification after you get your MCSA: SQL Server 2012, you only need to take two SQL Server 2012-centric examinations:

  • Exam 466: Implementing Data Models and Reports
  • Exam 467: Designing BI Solutions

Another path to MCSE: Business Intelligence is to transition your current MCITP: Business Intelligence 2008 certification to SQL Server 2012 via these three exams:

  • Exam 457
  • Exam 458
  • Exam 460

Exam 467 is due out in June 2012 while Exam 460 is slated to be released in August 2012.

Be Prepared for MCSA: SQL Server 2012 (Course 10774AB)

Even for the exams that would not be available for another three to six months, you can still start getting ready by taking Course 10774AB. This course will help you get ready for Exam 461 and will be teaching you all you need to know about querying SQL Server 2012. This is a basic course and will be very important in all the other disciplines related to SQL Server 2012: database development, business intelligence and database administration.

As a student, you would learn how to write Transact-SQL queries for the new platform, including:

  • writing SELECT Queries
  • querying multiple tables
  • using functions that are built-in
  • using subqueries
  • executing stored procedures
  • using set operators, table expressions, window ranking, aggregate and offset functions
  • implementing transactions and error handling
  • querying metadata on SQL server
  • programming with Transact-SQL
  • improving query performance

The course runs for five days and will be instructor-led. You would need to have a working knowledge of relational DBs and should have a basic understanding of Windows and core functionalities of the operating system.

Be Prepared for MCSA: SQL Server 2012 (Download your evaluation copy of SQL Server 2012)

Nothing could prepare you better for SQL Server 2012 certification than tinkering with it yourself. You have two options on how you could do this.

First is to download the SQL Server 2012 Express, which is the free edition of SQL Server that is geared towards small websites and desktop applications.

You could also download the trial version of SQL Server 2012. The trial software is fully functional and will expire six months after installation.

Be Prepared for MCSA: SQL Server 2012 (Practice using the Virtual Labs)

Microsoft prepares online Virtual Labs for its new products so that you could easily evaluate them yourself. These labs are viewable online and typically last less than 90 minutes.

There are currently 16 different Virtual Labs modules for SQL Server 2012. Learn anything and everything –upgrading your current system and installation, configuration and management of SQL Server 2012.

You could also get into the nitty gritty on how to do things on the new platform, such as doing DAX Calculations, importing a Business Intelligence Semantic Model, tweaking with contained databases and other more technical topics.

Further, you can learn more on the many new features of SQL Server 2012 and what it does, such as AlwaysOn Availability, T-SQL, Report Builder, PowerView, BISM, EIM and data warehousing.

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Michael Gabriel Sumastre

Michael Gabriel Sumastre is a skilled technical blogger and writer with more than seven years of professional experience in Web content creation, SEO and research paper writing. He has written more than a thousand articles related to tech and gadgets, cloud computing, IT management, SEO, SEM and software solutions. He ghostwrites books / e-books and has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. Michael is also an expert in webmastering and loves to ride his sportsbike. He maintains his portfolio and personal blog at TheFinestWriter.com