Thursday, April 12, 2012

SQL Server 2012 Certifications

For the last 2 weeks I have been taking the new SQL Server 2012 beta exams, to see how things are going to be in the new exams. Since I had to accept an NDA to take the exams I cannot reveal the details of the exams. But I can present my general thoughts. There are quite few new "technologies" being used for some of the questions and I think that those people that have struggled answering certain types of questions will find the new setup much better. My focus was on all of the Business Intelligence exams. Below are the exams that I took (since starting this post all of the 71's have been changed to 70's, see further in this post):

The biggest take away I got from this process was to never schedule taking this many exams over only 7 weekdays. Also, make sure you do pay attention to the amount of time they give you to take each exam. I assumed the length of these exams would be similar to the previous SQL Server 2008 exams and found that there is a lot more reading involved in the new exams. This may change when they go out of beta.


Since I started writing this entry last week, Microsoft just released the official plan for the SQL Server  certifications. No longer are there the MCTS or MCITP certifications, the new titles are MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) and then MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert). MCM (Microsoft Certified Master) has also been renamed to MCSM (Microsoft Certified Solutions Master). MCSE is the specialized level of certifications, everyone that wants to get a SQL Server MCSE will have to pass all of the SQL Server MCSA exams:

Once you get your SQL Server MCSA then you can work towards the MCSE: Data Platform or MCSE: Business Intelligence. In the end the MCSE certification will require you pass a total of 5 exams, but if you want to get both the SQL Server MCSE specialties you will only need to take a total of 7 exams.

There are also going to be a set of upgrade exams offered for existing MCTS and MCITP SQL Server 2008 certifications, if you go to this page, Microsoft Training has done a good job outlining the upgrade path.

Overall this looks like a good change to me, makes the specializations very clear and requires that everyone have the same basic set of skills. All of these new exams should be available in June, so start studying now! Good luck.