This week I accomplished something to continue my education. I obtained my MCSA in SQL Server 2016 Database Development!
UPDATE: I told you the who, what, when, and why but not the how. Added a new section below.
What is MCSA SQL 2016 Database Development?
Levels of Certification
Microsoft Certified Solutions Analyst is the mid level certification. Entry level is often MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate). Advanced level is MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert). You don’t have to start with MTA exams but you need to have completed the prerequisite MCSA exams to obtain an MCSE.
MCSA Exams: SQL 2016 Database Development
There are 2 exams to pass:
- 70-761: Querying Data with Transact-SQL
- 70-762: Developing SQL Databases
Microsoft gives you these badges when you successfully pass the exams.
Microsoft significantly changed their certification track for 2016. A great resource to understand all of this is John Deardurff’s video. It’s great in the simple way it explains the changes and how to proceed going forward. Give it a watch. Or visit his site to learn more.
The details for achieving an MCSA in SQL 2016 Database Development shows the exams you’ll need to take. Drill down to see the topics each exam covers.
How Did I Do It?
I purchased a bundle of vouchers that included a practice exam and a retake attempt. I found it with their special offers. This is what I purchased. It is a Microsoft voucher good for any of the exams. That way I have some flexibility for planning my studies. They are good for 1 year.
I also got the ebook with each exam.
The process I used was reading the books cover to cover, taking notes in Evernote as I read, and working out anything I didn’t grasp in a VM lab.
Then I hit the practice exam real hard. It has 2 modes: one is a simulated test taking experience and the other allows you to ask for the answer anytime. I take the simulated exam first to get a baseline score. Then I work on the other one. I don’t return to the hard one until I’m passing on multiple attempts.
Only after I mastered the practice exam did I scheduled the test. I drove to a proctored exam site and took the exam. You receive the results immediately afterward. That’s really nice. You also get a printed out document with your score. Later you get emails from Microsoft welcoming you into their secret club.
I spent a couple of hours each night after work studying the book or taking a practice exam. After 2-4 weeks I felt ready. In my opinion exam 70-762 was harder.
I plan to write more about this in another post. Suffice it to say I’m a structured person and I learn best when there are concrete things to accomplish. I need checkboxes to check. It’s also why I bullet journal. Reading some books, practicing in a lab, and taking an exam is a good way for me to learn.
In addition, there were a lot of changes in SQL Server 2016. Adam Machanic spells it out very nicely in his presentation. Please give it a watch. I was pretty familiar with SQL Server versions 2000 – 2014 but not 2016. I figured the time was right to learn.
What Lies Beyond MCSA?
It depends on what you want to achieve. The natural progression is to obtain an MCSE. My choice would be the MCSE in Data Management and Analytics. There are many elective exams to choose from.
My next test will be to obtain the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration. There are 2 exams you need to pass to obtain this:
- 70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure
- 70-765: Provisioning SQL Databases
That combined with the certification I just received should qualify for the MCSE.
Thanks for reading!
Did you find this helpful? Please subscribe!