Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I wanted to put this post up earlier, but waited for official confirmation from Microsoft. Last Wednesday I took the 70-462 (Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases) certification exam and passed it!

Those that know the new SQL Server 2012 certification setup are saying, "So what, you still have 1 more to pass before MCSA and 2 more after that for MCSE". Yes, that is correct, but thankfully I was able to take all 5 of the exams in the SQL Server 2012 MCSE Business Intelligence series when they were in beta form last Spring. After waiting a few months to get the results on those beta exams (when you take them in beta you don't get the immediate results like you do for normal exams, they have to manually graded and evaluated) I found out that I had passed 3 out of the 5: 70-463 (Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012), 70-466 (Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012), 70-467(Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012). Ironically enough these are the last 3 exams in the series, not the first ones. I already passed 70-461 (Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012) in March after a few attempts as well.

With that I got my confirmation on Saturday morning from Microsoft that I had achieved the requirements for the SQL Server 2012 MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) certification. While I was relieved to get that message, I immediately logged into the MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) website to see if everything was there for MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) Business Intelligence as well. For some reason it was only showing the MCSA, not the MCSE. I was a bit surprised, but figured I would wait a couple of days to see what happened. Sure enough on Sunday morning I did get the message that I had the MCSE as well. Guess the MCP systems run a pass each night and can only pick up one of these certifications at a time.

For those of you out there that are also trying to get the new SQL Server 2012 certifications, keep pushing yourself to get them. For me getting these certifications is more of a personal goal, even though there are some benefits from Pragmatic Works as well. Hopefully you will also get the support your need. I have linked to each of the pages on the Microsoft site for the exams that I took. Microsoft has also published a great series of pages and videos on the Born to Learn 90 Days to MCSA series. If you are in the Denver area there is a Certification Study Group that meets every Thursday (except the 3rd Thursday of each month) at the Cherry Creek Presbyterian Church - Community Life Center (contact marketing at denversql dot org for more information).

If you have never taken a Microsoft certification exam before, I would encourage you to sign up to take one to get an idea of what they really are like, even if you really aren't ready. If you can sign up for one before May 31 there is a Second Shot deal going on, where you can get a voucher code that allows you to retake an exam that you didn't pass the first time again for free. Just make sure you request the voucher first and when you setup your exam appointment put that code into the voucher box on the registration form, then you will need to use that same voucher code again when you register to retake that same exam again. The Second Shot vouchers only work if you put it in the first time you take that specific exam.

This was my big goal for early 2013, so I'm glad to have that one off my back. I'm enjoying not worrying about studying for any other certifications right now, but I'm sure I'll find more to challenge myself with! I'm pushing myself to do more speaking engagements this year and so far it looks like it is paying off with 2 SQLSaturdays over the next 2 months (#215 in Jacksonville, FL & #200 in Philadelphia, PA). I'm planning on speaking at the Charlotte BI Group in August and I will be submitting for at least 3 other SQLSaturday's for September thru October. Plus, I did submit for PASS Summit as well, which hopefully I will get chosen for as well.

Good luck!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

SQLSaturday #215 & SQLSaturday #200!

I've got a couple of upcoming events that I will be speaking at that I wanted to make sure I spread the word on.

First on 4/27 I'll be in Jacksonville, FL to present at SQLSaturday #215. Please visit their website to register and view the complete schedule for the day! They are also doing a pre-con on 4/26 with Brian Knight and Devin Knight on Building a SQL Server 2012 BI Platform, should be a great session (I'd be there too, if I didn't have to drive from Columbia, SC to Jacksonville on Friday afternoon).

And earlier today I found out that I will also be presenting on 6/1 in Philadelphia, PA at SQLSaturday #200! I really happy to be spreading out and presenting in more new places this year and Philly will be great since my Dad lives in the area and will give me a chance to spend some time with him in the days before the SQLSaturday (hopefully I can convince him to come out to the SQLSaturday and see my present too). The schedule for SQLSatuday #200 should be up sometime Monday, so check this link and it should be there soon. Click here to register for SQLSaturday #200!

Hopefully I have some more events that I'll be presenting at in the future as well, looking at SQLSaturday #191 in Kansas City (had a great time presenting there last year) and SQLSaturday #227 in Charleston, SC on the Saturday before PASS Summit 2013 in Charlotte, NC.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

T-SQL Tuesday #41 - Presenting and Loving it!

My first T-SQL Tuesday post!

For those that don't know what T-SQL Tuesday is, you can get a brief overview from the host blog for this week @ Bob Pusateri's The Outer Join blog post. The topic for this T-SQL Tuesday is Presenting and Loving it!

When I saw that this was the topic for this week I decided that this would be a good one to jump into T-SQL Tuesday with, since this really is how I got introduced to the SQL Server Community. 

I was not really into doing much with presentations at work and I didn't really have to do it much in College either. I had done some presentations in High School as part of various classes, but I was not very good at presenting or speaking in public at all back then. So, it took a lot for me to even consider doing any presentations again after all of these years.

I started to attend the Denver Visual Studio User Group meetings on a regular basis about the same time that I started to learn C# and .NET and found that I was learning a lot from those meetings and wanted to share some of my knowledge with the group. I had been applying my C# skills to build custom .NET web front-ends for Reporting Services right after it went live in 2002. Since that was such a new product it was something that lots of people wanted to know about, so I created a couple of intro 30 minute presentations and did them at the DVSUG meetings and received a lot of positive comments about expanding on it. From there I created a series of labs that I presented over multiple separate meetings which helped bring many members back to those lab sessions after some low attendance was threatening to cancel them entirely.

After my presentations at DVSUG were going well, I was looking for other groups that I could present this material at and that is when I found the Denver SQL Server User Group along with the other SQL Server User Groups in the Colorado Front Range. I presented some of the same presentations at these groups and had the same success. 

From there I got to know the people running the Denver SQL Server User Group and decided to make the step to volunteer for the Board and help to build the local community in even more direct ways. Just as my career progressed from a COBOL programmer to .NET and then to a SQL Server BI Developer and now a BI Consultant, I have seen my role in the local community grow the same way and it all goes back to that first thought of wanting to share something that I had been working on with others. I have been rewarded many times over by presenting at many different User Groups and SQLSaturdays across the country (that is the great thing about being a consultant is you can use the trips for work to visit/present at other groups) and hopefully being able to present at the PASS Summit in the near future.

If you are thinking about making that step to share and present your ideas, DO IT! It is the one thing that I did all of those years ago that I have never regretted and always encourage others to do it to. Yes, we all get nervous before getting up in front of people to speak, but you can harness that nervousness and use it. Just contact the leaders of the group that you are interested in speaking at and they will give you all of the support you need to be successful at presenting. All of us User Group Leaders are always looking for new speakers in our communities, so if you haven't done it yet, WHY NOT? It was worked out so well for me that my job at Pragmatic Works even has presenting as a big component of the job description and it was one of the main reasons for going after the position there.