A new look at Microsoft SQL Server Certifications

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Back in January I was at the Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Summit in Sydney, Australia. At this summit it was mentioned that the face of certifications was in the process of being revamped or re-badged to coincide with the release of the new version of SQL Server 2012 that was released 2 weeks ago at the start of April 2012. The new certifications are now as we see them below:

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MCSE? Have you been around in the industry a little while? Does this acronym sound familiar?  Over time there has been many different names to the certifications that you could sit and study for in the Microsoft arena. In the past MCSE stood for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

2008 Certifications

Previously the certification structure from a SQL Server point of view had 3 levels, (No change there with what we can see above):

  • Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
  • Microsoft Certified Master (MCM)

The MCTS & MCITP were across 2 streams, an Administrative Stream and a Developer Stream consisting of 2 exams each allowing you to look at testing your skill set to achieve the MCM SQL Server 2008.

Now I separated this out intentionally but there is a 3rd stream which covers business intelligence. If you are a business intelligence professional you could get certified initially with the MCTS and then gain your MCITP.

If in your job you are required to deliver training then you need to have your MCITP as a minimum in either the Administration, Development or Business Intelligence streams for you to achieve your MCT and deliver Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC).

MCSA

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate is the new entry level certification. So this basically replaces the MCTS certification. To achieve this certification you now need to take 3 exams covering:

  1. 461 – Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  2. 462 – Administering a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Database
  3. 463 – Implementing Data Warehouses with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Alternatively there is an upgrade path if you currently hold some 2008 MCTS certifications:

  1. Any current TS Exam
  2. 457 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 1
  3. 458 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 2

Do you notice any difference between the MCTS and the MCSA ? Well under the old MCTS certification you could gain certification for each of the 3 streams. Under the MCSA you cover all 3 streams. So if your an infrastructure guy like me then you need to learn a little bit about Business Intelligence. The MCSE outlined below is where you can branch out and specialise on your particular area of expertise. But this certification is a requirement for both platforms.

MCSE

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert is the new middle level certifications. This replaces the MCITP certification. To achieve this certification you have to have achieved your MCSA and take a further 2 exams covering:

Data Platform

a. 464 – Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

b. 465 – Designing Database Solutions for SQL Server 2012

Alternatively there is an upgrade path if you currently hold some 2008 MCTS certifications:

a. Any current TS Exam

b. 457 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 1

c. 458 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 2

d. 459 – Transition your MCITP to MCSE Data Platform

BI Platform

a. 466 – Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

b. 467 – Designing BI Solutions for SQL Server 2012

Alternatively there is an upgrade path if you currently hold some 2008 MCTS certifications:

a. Any current TS Exam

b. 457 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 1

c. 458 – Transition your MCTS to MCSA Part 2

d. 460 – Transition your MCITP to MCSE BI Platform

MCSM

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Master is the equivalent to the existing Microsoft Certified Master. To be eligible for this level of certification you need to achieve the MCSE Data Platform.

To learn more about these new certifications and how you can achieve these check out Get Started with SQL Server Certification.

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