As an instructor, I get to preview new courses to verify the materials for accuracy, which also allows me to start preparing to teach the course. I always participate in the CTP/Beta programs and get to know the new release over time as Microsoft releases more bits. One by-product of going through the latest training is it prepares you for the certification exams and you can do it too. Let’s take a look:
Microsoft usually releases courses that align themselves very nicely with the certification exam skills or what I call the “skill objectives.” These skills are what you need to master in order to call yourself an MCSA: SQL Server 2012 (Associate) or better still, an MCSE: Data Platform (Expert). The skills have been identified by a group of MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) to outline the skills needed for the job of a database administrator (DBA). In order to prove those skills, Microsoft likes to ask questions related to those skills. If we get the answers right, Microsoft assumes we indeed have those skills.
Since I am already an MCITP for SQL Server 2008, all I had to do was pass three exams to promote myself to the new MCSA and MCSE for SQL Server 2012. That’s three times as many exams as I had to pass in order to upgrade my MCITP from SQL Server 2005 to 2008, but we have to follow the rules.
Looking for some practice tests or preparation materials proved unfruitful. Most of the official SQL Server 2012 courses cover the foundation skills of SQL Server with a sprinkling of new features which is great for someone starting out but not me. What I needed was a highly concentrated view on the new features only. I already have the foundation skills down.
What’s tricky is that the upgrade exams for the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 include skills in Data Warehousing and SSIS which traditionally have fallen exclusively under the Business Intelligence exams. Well, no more. So I needed the BI stuff just to get through the second of the three exams, even if we are only going for the Data Platform cert. Then the third exam focuses on Data Platform Skills to prove you’re an expert. If you then move on to the MCSE: Business Intelligence upgrade exam you will be asked to prove your skills with the new version of SSAS and SSRS.
All I can say is focus on these SQL Server 2012 courses if you need to upgrade your certification, and you will be in good shape to pass all the upgrade exams. I am not giving you inside information here, it’s just that Microsoft likes to align their courses with their exams, and that’s what they have done again. All the skill objectives are published under the Microsoft Learning web site. Just drill down on the certification of your choice to see the exams then click on the Skills Measured tab to see the skill objectives. Then study up on those features, and you will be all set.