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Which are the best Microsoft exams to take for a SQL professional?

A few candidates might include:

  • 70-431 - core SQL2005
  • 70-445 & 70-446 - BI 2005
  • 70-432 - TS SQL 2008 Dev
  • 70-448 - TS SQL 2008 BI

What would be your number 1 choice for someone, and would 1 be enough?

Perspectives of employers, colleagues, clients, anyone you like really.

Please back up your answers. I will post my own thoughts done time (and you can research my opinions in these through other postings of mine, both here and on my blog).

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asked Oct 22 '09 at 09:15 AM in Default

Rob Farley gravatar image

Rob Farley
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3 answers: sort voted first

I think you have to ask yourself "What is my goal?" If the answer is to improve your resume for a job search, then the follow-up question is "What type of job do I want?"

Previously, my goal was to improve my resume but also prove to myself that I could do it, so I took the following 3 exams:

  • 70-431: Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Implementation and Maintenance
  • 70-441: PRO: Designing Database Solutions by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • 70-442: PRO: Designing and Optimizing Data Access by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Now, because I wish to become what I'll call a "certified Microsoft BI expert", I am now preparing (both on the job and on my own) for SQL Server 2008 BI MCITP and MOSS MCTS.

If you want to be a great DBA, then throw in a few Windows Server exams (perhaps Exam 70-643: TS: Windows Server 2008 Applications Infrastructure, Configuring). If you want to be the development guru at your company, prove it by also passing something like 70-316 (Developing and Implementing Windows-Based Applications with Microsoft Visual C# .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET).

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answered Oct 22 '09 at 12:45 PM

Tom Staab gravatar image

Tom Staab
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What's a SQL Professional? A production DBA? Developer against SQL Server? ETL developer? You definitely need to decide where you focus lies as there are difference focuses for the exams.

I think for someone that needs to administer a server and use SSMS in their job, going through the 431 exam forces you to use the tools and understand the basic idea of how to use the product. The simulations mean you have to have some level of practice with the tools.

From there, you would move to a 441 or 443 or some other exam based on where you want to take your career.

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answered Oct 22 '09 at 01:09 PM

Steve Jones - Editor gravatar image

Steve Jones - Editor ♦♦
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I'm going to suggest 70-431 and 70-448. Why? Because both these two exams contribute toward both the Microsoft Partner competencies of Data Management and Business Intelligence. So taking either one of these may make you more valuable to a potential employer.

But I think that a culture of pursuing certifications is healthy, and that aiming for the MCITP certifications is better than sticking with the MCTS ones. So I'd always recommend going for the 'next' exam.

A few months ago I would have recommended people start with the SQL 2005 exams and then upgrade. Now, I'd tell people who were already dealing with SQL 2008 that they need not bother with the SQL 2005 ones.

Unfortunately many of the exams have an unhealthy focus on new features, but they are all getting to the point that someone who is already a SQL Server professional should be able to answer the majority of questions without further study.

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answered Oct 25 '09 at 07:22 PM

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asked: Oct 22 '09 at 09:15 AM

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Last Updated: Oct 22 '09 at 01:15 PM