Microsoft SQL Certifications Program Changes

By:   |   Updated: 2023-04-06   |   Comments (1)   |   Related: More > Professional Development Certifications


Microsoft has made some changes to its certification program and knowing about these changes can help you plan for future certifications. This tip will cover the current certification path related to Microsoft SQL Server.


Microsoft has made some changes to its certification program, which took effect in June 2021. The changes include:

  • Role-based Certifications - Microsoft has moved to a role-based certification model focusing on the skills and knowledge needed for specific job roles. The new certifications are designed to align more closely with industry needs and job requirements.
  • Streamlined Certification Paths - The new certification paths are more streamlined and focused on specific job roles, with fewer exams required to obtain a certification. It allows individuals to focus on the skills and knowledge that are most relevant to their job or career path.
  • Continuous Learning - Microsoft has introduced a continuous learning model, which requires individuals to demonstrate ongoing proficiency in their skills and knowledge to maintain their certifications. It includes earning "achievement badges" for completing specific learning activities, such as attending webinars or completing online courses.
  • Azure-focused Certifications - With the shift to the cloud and the increasing importance of Azure, Microsoft has introduced several new Azure-focused certifications, including certifications for Azure administrators, developers, architects, and data professionals.

These changes aim to make Microsoft's certification program more relevant, focused, and aligned with industry needs. The new certification paths and continuous learning model are designed to help individuals stay up to date with the latest skills and knowledge needed for their job roles.

Before we look at the available certifications, let's review reasons why obtaining certifications can be beneficial:

  • Validating Skills and Knowledge - Certifications are a way to validate your skills and knowledge in a particular area. They demonstrate to potential employers or clients that you have a certain level of expertise and have demonstrated proficiency in the subject matter.
  • Advancing Career Opportunities - Obtaining a certification can improve your chances of getting hired or promoted. Certifications can differentiate you from other candidates, and some employers may require or prefer certifications for certain positions.
  • Increased Earning Potential - Many certifications are associated with higher salaries and earning potential. Employers may be willing to pay more for individuals with validated skills and knowledge.
  • Continuing Education - Maintaining a certification often requires ongoing education, which can keep you up to date with the latest trends and developments in your field.
  • Personal Satisfaction and Confidence - Obtaining a certification can be personally satisfying and give you a sense of accomplishment. It can also boost your confidence in your skills and abilities.

SQL Certifications

You can download the latest Microsoft certification poster from this link: Become Microsoft Certified.

Alternatively, you can browse the Certifications and Exams available for all Microsoft products such as SQL Server, Azure, Office 365, Visual Studio, and Windows. You can filter certifications as shown below:

Browse Certifications and Exams filtering option

Let's take a look at two certifications that are available to give you an idea of the provided information.

Fundamentals Based Certification

Exam Name: Azure Data Fundamentals

Exam Code: DP - 900

Azure Data Fundamentals DP-900 is a certification exam offered by Microsoft that validates a candidate's understanding of core data concepts in Microsoft Azure. The exam is designed for individuals who want to start a career in data-related roles, such as data analysts or data engineers. It is also suitable for professionals who work with data and want to enhance their skills and knowledge of Azure data services.

The exam covers the following topics:

  • Core data concepts: This includes understanding core data concepts such as relational and non-relational data, data warehouses, and big data processing.
  • Work with relational data on Azure: This includes understanding Azure SQL Database, provisioning and deploying relational databases, and querying data using SQL.
  • Work with non-relational data on Azure: This includes understanding Azure Cosmos DB, provisioning and deploying non-relational databases, and querying data using APIs.
  • Analyze data in Azure: This includes understanding Azure Synapse Analytics, data ingestion, transformation, and analysis.
  • Optimize Azure data solutions: This includes understanding data security, privacy, backup, and recovery.

Here are some reference materials that can help to prepare for the DP-900 certification exam:

It is recommended that candidates have a basic understanding of data concepts and some experience using Azure services before taking the exam.

Role-Based Certification

Exam Name: Azure Database Administrator Associate

Exam Code: DP - 300

Azure Database Administrator Associate DP-300 is a certification exam offered by Microsoft that validates a candidate's knowledge and skills in designing, implementing, and maintaining Microsoft Azure databases. The exam is intended for individuals who want to start a career as a database administrator in the Azure cloud environment.

The exam covers the following topics:

  • Implementing and managing storage: This includes designing and implementing Azure storage solutions, configuring Azure SQL Database, and managing Azure SQL Data Warehouse.
  • Deploying and managing databases: This includes designing and deploying SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, automating database deployment, and managing and monitoring databases.
  • Securing data: This includes implementing security solutions, implementing Azure AD authentication, and configuring database auditing and threat detection.
  • Monitoring and optimizing operational resources: This includes monitoring and troubleshooting databases, optimizing database performance, and implementing high availability and disaster recovery solutions.

To prepare for the exam, Microsoft offers official training courses, study guides, and practice exams. Candidates can also access online resources such as Microsoft documentation and community forums to supplement their learning. It is recommended that candidates have a strong understanding of SQL Server and database administration concepts before taking the exam. Hands-on experience with Azure SQL Database and Azure Virtual Machines is also recommended.

Here are some reference materials that can help you prepare for the DP-300 certification exam:


Pursuing a Microsoft certification can be a valuable investment in your career. By earning a certificate, you can demonstrate your expertise in a specific Microsoft technology or service and differentiate yourself from your peers. Prepare well.

Next Steps
  • Learn more about Microsoft certifications and their requirements.
  • Take practical knowledge before appearing for an examination. It helps you to simulate problems and find answers.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rajendra Gupta Rajendra Gupta is a Consultant DBA with 14+ years of extensive experience in database administration including large critical OLAP, OLTP, Reporting and SharePoint databases.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Article Last Updated: 2023-04-06

Comments For This Article

Monday, April 10, 2023 - 10:11:23 AM - Aubrey Back To Top (91091)

Nice breakdown for certification. However, I noticed that everything on the chart that’s related to SQL is based on Azure. I work for a company that services two banking industries. Between the two branches, they have nearly 200 locations and they refuse to put their customers bank account information in the cloud. Hence, we use “on-premise” databases only.

What, if any, certifications reflect that of the old versions? Certs based solely on SQL Server as a stand-alone certification.


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