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Certificate programs for aspiring DBAs

I'm a 'generalist' Windows admin, spending most of my time administrating workstations and doing light server work (Active Directory, Exchange, etc.). I'd like to train to become a DBA, and eventually transition to that as my job role, but I've found I learn best in a traditional classroom environment, even if that classroom happens to be online. In other words, while I'm certainly open to ongoing self-study for professional development, I'd prefer for my 'foundational' training to take place through a school. That being the case, I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations for specific SQL Server training programs, preferably those intended to prepare students for the MCSA certification in SQL Server (exams 461-463), and awarding a certificate or other credential upon completion. I live in the Los Angeles area, and I'm having trouble finding programs that are a) comprehensive enough, b) relatively affordable, and c) within driving distance and/or fully accessible online. Paying $5000 for a 5 day boot camp seems wasteful, basically the equivalent of a cram school. I'd much rather take a semester or two of Saturday classes through a community college or university, so that I have time to really get the material to sink in, and the time to ask the instructor thoughtful questions and get constructive answers. DePaul University in Chicago has a certificate program in SQL Server Administration (details [here]( http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/ipd/Programs/Pages/SQLServerDatabaseAdministration-Details.aspx)), which runs 11 weeks, can be attended online or in person, and costs about $2750. Admission requires a committee's approval. The University of Washington used to have something similar, but now they only offer SQL Server development, not administration. Is anyone familiar with DePaul's program, or have an opinion about it? Are you aware of any other programs I should be looking at? Again, I realize self-study is just as important, but I'd like to learn the fundamentals from an instructor I can interact with. Thanks!
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Honestly it doesn't make a difference if you how you obtain training. If you want to spend $5000 on something you could get for free (or near to) that is your choice. There are so many resources online that will develop you from 0 to DBA. Start working through the stairway series on SQL Server Central for example. Grab a subscription to Pluralsight and watch a load of videos. Watch videos from past conferences - SQLBits for example have hundreds of videos free to watch. Personally I would start working on developing you skills in your own time. Join a user group Attend a SQL Saturday or other SQL Server conference. Find a mentor - As someone in your organisation who can help work with you. You might find a course that can teach you how to pass a MS certification like 70-461 but what value does that actually have? If you cant actually do the tasks the exams requires then it isn't worth the paper it is printed on. Attend a SQL Saturday precon on SQL basics - 1 day probably cost you less than $300.
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Not to mention that Certifications are largely useless because they can be so easily gamed. When hiring, I completely discount them.
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