Can you get advantages from the newest easy to get SQL server master accreditation?

December 21, 2010

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A guest article by Michele P. Rouse

In my experience the very best DB platforms are Microsoft and Oracle. I’ve come to learn that MySQL is widely used in start-up companies and DB people who know this platform might make higher salaries, but I honestly rarely ever found MySQL in job searches.

One reason I like MS SQL Server is because it also includes the SSRS BI platform that is powerful and popular. DB folks who know SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) have become very sought-after candidates in many companies. In many instances, companies end up being forced to buy licenses for third-party BI (Business Intelligence) applications which can cost a lot of extra money.

With SQL Server, BI and ETL (extract, transform, load) tools come with the first license. I realize that maybe the interest in databases is principally to understand DB construction, however , you don’t know when or if you decide to branch out and get more information.

The great thing about SQL is that the language itself is fairly universal. I only say fairly because each vendor has added their very own functions and syntax. Microsoft and Sybase both use T-SQL, Oracle uses PL/SQL and MySQL uses ANSI-SQL. Ultimately everything you learn on one platform might be used on other platforms.

Becoming a SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) is a small task now. Less than 1 percent of certified professionals hold a Master certification, and even for good reason: In addition to having difficult minimum competencies (Five years SQL Server experience and deep knowledge in every aspects of SQL Server), practicing a SQL Server MCM has always come at a significant cost. In fact, that cost have been about $18,500, when you accumulate the necessary three week training and four exams.

The SQL Server MCM certification is the highest technical certification that Microsoft offers to SQL Server professionals. It’s designed for individuals with five or more years of hands-on SQL Server experience in critical environments. Competencies include designing and implementing high-performance, scalable enterprise environments and troubleshooting the most challenging SQL Server issues.

Well, at PASS (The Professional Association for SQL Server) this week, Microsoft announced all that is evolving. Based on the company, the changes have been in reaction to requests from experienced SQL Server pros who want to earn MCM’s but (go figure) don’t possess $18,500.

Now, candidates can earn the certification by passing just two exams: the four-hour Knowledge Exam, plus a six-hour hands-on Lab Exam, which is available in early 2011.

Fortunately, Microsoft has made some significant changes on the program, including:

  • The 3-week in-person training has stopped being required. So, if you think like you have what it takes, it is possible to march right up and take the certification exams. You pay the price of the exams, which can be about $2,500.
  • There are now only two exams rather than four: 88-970 (Knowledge Exam) and 88-971 (Lab Exam).
  • To help SQL Server professionals get ready for the exams at a lower cost, Microsoft now offers some free MCM videos.

So you? Do you consider the newest MS SQL Certification can help you in your job?

About me: Michele P. Rouse is writing for the sql certification path blog, her personal and non-commercial in nature hobby blog aimed at recommendations to provide free info for data base beginners/professionals to help them get a new profession.

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