SQL Server 2012 Certification Path
Do you want to earn recognition as a SQL Server 2012 expert? Would you like to discover which SQL Server 2012 certifications are most relevant to your current job or the one you want next? Do you want to learn which exams are required for the SQL Server 2012 certifications? Finally, would you like to discover how to get credit for your SQL Server 2008 certifications towards SQL Server 2012 certifications?
There are lots or reasons for wanting to get certified in SQL Server 2012. Although SQL Server 2012 has been out for a while, your company may still be just planning to deploy it or only selectively deploying it. As time goes by, it is highly likely that SQL Server professionals with SQL Server 2012 certifications will enjoy advantages not available to those without a SQL Server 2012 certification. Even if you previously earned SQL Server certifications for SQL Server 2008 or an earlier version, opportunities for assignments with the greatest chance of advancement may depend on having certifications for SQL Server 2012. In any event, the issuance of new MCTS and MCITP certifications for SQL Server 2008 will discontinue after July 31, 2013.
What kinds of SQL Server 2012 certifications are available? Which certification is most appropriate for the way you use or want to be using SQL Server 2012? This tip drills down on three certifications that are likely to be appropriate for most SQL Server professionals, but other certifications exists for more specialized requirements.
- The MCSA certification confirms a mastery of core SQL Server 2012 skills in three areas: querying relational databases, administering databases and SQL Server instances, and implementing data warehouses.
- The MCSE Data Platform certification requires a SQL Server 2012 MSCA certification and confirms additional advanced skills for developing databases and designing solutions.
- The MCSE Business Intelligence certification also requires a SQL Server 2012 MSCA certification and confirms additional advanced skills for implementing data models and reports and designing business intelligence solutions.
Exam Paths to SQL Server 2012 MCSA and MCSE Certifications
For those without any SQL Server 2008 certifications, you need to pass three separate exams (70-461, 70-462, and 70-463) to obtain the MCSA SQL Server 2012 certification. If you have already earned at least one MCTS certification for SQL Server 2008, you have the option of taking just two exams (70-457 and 70-458) or the full set of three exams required of those without a MCTS for SQL Server 2008.
In order to earn either of the two SQL Server 2012 MCSE certifications (for Data Platform or Business Intelligence), you must have previously earned a SQL Server 2012 MCSA or a SQL Server 2008 MCITP certification. The exam paths depend on the specific SQL Server 2012 MCSE certification that you want to earn as well as which qualifying certification you already have.
- If you want to earn the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Data Platform certification and you previously earned a MCSA for SQL Server 2012, then you must pass two exams (70-464 and 70-465).
- If you want to earn the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Data Platform certification and receive credit for a previously earned a MCITP for SQL Server 2008 for a SQL Server Administrator or Developer, then you must pass three exams (70-457, 70-458, and 70-459). There is no way to earn credit for the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Data Platform certification with a previously earned MCITP for SQL Server 2008 for Business Intelligence.
- If you want to earn the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence certification and you previously earned a MCSA for SQL Server 2012, then you must pass two exams (70-466 and 70-467).
- If you want to earn the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence certification and receive credit for a previously earned a MCITP for SQL Server 2008 for Business Intelligence, then you must pass three exams (70-457, 70-458, and 70-459). There is no way to earn credit for the MCSE SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence certification with a previously earned MCITP for SQL Server 2008 for a SQL Server Administrator or Developer.
For those who have previously earned MCTS or MCITP certifications for SQL Server 2008, you have the option of taking a reduced exam set. Whether you want to take advantage of this depends on your needs and preferences for mastering selected content. For example, not taking credit for a SQL Server 2008 MCTS certification requires you to take three separate exams, instead of just two exams, for the SQL Server 2012 MCSA. If you want to drill down separately on querying, administration, and business intelligence, then the three exam sequence may be most appealing. If you have a need to earn the MCSA for SQL Server 2012 with the fewest possible exams (for example, because your ultimate goal is to earn a MCSE for SQL Server 2012), then you may prefer the two exam sequence.
Also note that Microsoft is not providing credit for the MCSE in SQL Server 2012 certification in Business Intelligence for those with a MCITP in SQL Server 2008 for either an administrator or a developer. The same kind of cross-specialization exception applies to those with a MCITP in SQL Server 2008 for business intelligence earning credit for the MSCE SQL Server 2012 Data Platform certification.
More About Specific Exams for the Non-upgrade Path
This section drills down on the exams required for SQL Server 2012 certifications when you DO NOT TAKE CREDIT FOR A PREVIOUSLY EARNED SQL SERVER 2008 CERTIFICATION. These exams are required for those without SQL Server 2008 certifications and optional for those with SQL Server 2008 certifications.
The following table lists each possible exam required collectively for the MCSA, MSCE Data Platform, and MSCE Business Intelligence certifications. Each row in the table provides the exam number and title along with the certifications for which it gives credit. The last column in the table gives a brief summary of selected content in the scope of an exam. This summary is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is to indicate the types of material covered by an exam. You can use the Selected Topics column to discover exams that are most closely related to how use currently use or plan to use SQL Server 2012.
The table lists ALL the possible exams that you can take if you choose not to take credit for a previously earned SQL Server 2008 exam, but just three exams are required for the MCSA certification. The Credit For column shows these exams to be 70-461, 70-462, and 70-463. The MCSE Data Platform and MCSE Business Intelligence certifications each require five exams -- three that are the same across both certifications and two more that are unique to each certifications. Because you need a MCSA certification for any MCSE certification, either MSCE certification requires the 70-461, 70-462, and 70-463 exams. In addition, the special exams for each MCSE certification are as follows.
- For the MCSE Data Platform certification you must take and pass the 70-464 and 70-465 exams.
- For the MSCE Business Intelligence certification, you have to earn a passing grade on the 70-466 and 70-467 exams.
|Exam||Credit For||Selected Topics|
|70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012||
|70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases||
|70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012||
|70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Data Platform||
|70-465: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Data Platform||
|70-466: Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence||
|70-467: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence||
More About Specific Exams for the Upgrade Path
For those with SQL Server 2008 certifications, you can significantly reduce the number of exams for SQL Server 2012 certifications if you leverage your SQL Server 2008 credentials. For example, you can reduce the number of exams from three to two for a MCSA certification. Any MCTS for SQL Server 2008 can merit you this benefit. The reduction in exams that you need to pass for an MCSE goes from five to just three. To get this benefit, you need a MCITP as a developer or administrator for SQL Server 2008 when taking tests for the MCSE Data Platform certification. In order to achieve the same reduction in the number of exams for the MCSE Business Intelligence, you need the MCITP Business Intelligence for SQL Server 2008.
While the topics covered by exams in the non-upgrade and upgrade paths are generally similar, the exam numbers and titles are distinctly different. The following table shows the exam numbers and titles, the range of certifications for which they gain you credit, and a representative range of material in the scope of each exam. The 70-457 and 70-458 exams are required of all registrants for the MCSA via the upgrade path. When you pass these exams, you gain a MCSA for SQL Server 2012 even while your SQL Server 2008 certification remains in force. Then, by passing just one more exam, you can earn either a Data Platform MCSE certification or a Business Intelligence MCSE certification.
- For the MCSE Data Platform certification you must obtain a passing grade on the 70-459 exam.
- For the MSCE Business Intelligence certification, you must pass the 70-460 exam.
|Exam||Credit For||Selected Topics|
|70-457: Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1||
|70-458: Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2||
|70-459: Transition Your MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Data Platform||
|70-460: Transition Your MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008 to MCSE: Business Intelligence||MCSE for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence||
This article gives you an overview of three typical SQL Server 2012 certifications that correspond to the job functions of many SQL Server professionals. In addition, the tip drills down on the number and types of exams required for each certification. The coverage of exams identifies which exams are required for each certification based on whether you are starting from scratch or upgrading SQL Server 2008 certifications. You also get an overview of content within the scope of each exam.
Your next step is to research the certifications that seem to fit best with your personal career and/or professional growth objectives. Then, start studying and working with SQL Server 2012 exam topics to assure your proficiency in the material for each of the exams that you need to pass for the SQL Server 2012 certification that is right for you. Vendors, including Microsoft and other third-party organizations, offer exam preparations materials that you are likely to find helpful.
For my 2008 certifications, I found exam preparation materials helpful in getting ready for some but not necessarily all exam topics; making sure you have plenty of hands-on experience is a good way to supplement exam preparation materials. The exam preparation materials are especially useful for giving you experience with the question formats used on the certification exams. I also found the exam preparation materials useful in helping me to adjust my pace in answering questions so that I had a good chance of answering all questions before the exam time expired.
Here are some links to help you with your next steps.
- This link gives you an overview of SQL Server 2012 certifications and the associated exam. It is a path to other links with more detail on the scope of exam topics: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/cert-sql-server.aspx
- This link provides an overview of SQL Server certifications for 2000, 2008, and 2012. You will also find content on certifications for other Microsoft products besides SQL Server: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/view-by-name.aspx
- The following set of five links are prior MSSQLTips.com articles on new SQL Server 2012 SSIS features that you are likely to find interesting whether of not you pursue a certification:
- Check out the MSSQLTips.com Professional Development resources
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