When I started with my first real job in IT after my graduation I actual was hired as a C# dot net developer. I soon realized that the job description was a bit wrong. Instead of dealing with much C# Code I had actually to deal with a kind of data warehouse. C# was only used to do the ETL (extract transform load) processes. Obviously my former company had implemented ETL tools themselves instead of using existing ones.
However since I specialized in databases during my master and wrote my master thesis about sql it actually really suited me. But I was confronted with SQL Server 2008 and later SQL Server 2012 and I only knew SQL from MySQL and ORACLE. But of course I lacked in practical skills.
So in the end I decided to achieve the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Certificate to bring my knowledge up to date and learn some SQL Server 2012 interior.
The first exam is all about Querying the SQL Server 2012 including T-SQL, specialties from SQL Server, Best practices and so on. I used the book training kit (LINK) to prepare for the exam. Whenever I felt like the descriptions in the book don't make enough sense or the level of writing was not deep enough, I followed the links provided in the book or used the internet to really understand what’s going on.
Because I already knew SQL very well I felt really confident when going into the exam. The exam itself is a multiple choice test on a computer. But there are also free field questions where you have to state a full correct query! That really hit me like a truck since I only expected multiple choice question. Other types of questions are "choose all that apply". The questions don't state always how many possibilities are right.
I expected to pass with nearly 95% but in the end my passing score was 730 and required score was 700. So it was a really close thing.
Yes I did the 70-463 before the 70-462 for a simple reason. Since I am a developer and the 462 exam is all about administering SQL Server I was not really looking forward to that exam. So I chose to do the data warehouse exam first.
Mainly it is about three big things. I felt like 50% was all about SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) that is the ETL tool of Microsoft. Other important topics were Master Data Services and Data Quality Services from Microsoft. I can say that it is basically enough to do the examples in the training kit book. Also if you don't really understand why you do something then have a look at the Microsoft online library or google your question / problem.
This exam went pretty well since I worked on a nearly daily basis with SSIS at that point (learned it from the scratch for that exam though) I was really good prepared and passed with a score high above 900. This exam was also the most fun since I knew how the tests would look like from my experience with the first exam and the topic really suited me as a developer.
So nine month passed since I tackled that one. For a developer some things are a bit boring but you just have to keep on prepare yourself.
A good starting point was the training kit book again. But you need to read more about AlwaysOn and the replication stuff online since I feel like it is not covered enough in the book. Also have a close look to Azure when it comes to migrating towards Azure and special syntax of Azure SQL.
In the training kit book you build a lab consisting of virtual machines. I would not spend too much time on that since I only used it for replication trainings.
But the screenshots provided there are really good too so I guess it is not really necessary. However I would spent a little bit more time on the internet concerning the whole replication, AlwaysOn and mirroring topic.
Finally I also passed this one with a solid score and now can call myself MCSA for SQL Server 2012 for a lifetime since the certificate never runs out because it is bound to the specific Sql Server version.
My next step aims towards the MCSE: Data platform. This certificate has to be renewed every 3 years but it is not bound to a version so you don't have to redo too many exams.
I hope you enjoyed the little insight. If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below.