1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What to know before doing SQL Certs

Discussion in 'SQL Exams' started by zimbo, Aug 25, 2006.

  1. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    Alot of our members seem to be jumping into SQL certs namely the MCDBA and the new MCITD and MCTS...
    Now as you know we all say A+ and N+ before jumping into MCSA and finally MCSE...

    well suppose someone wants to start out with MCTS (lets keep it relevant to the more newer cert)

    Someone wants to start out with MCTS SQL 2005 and exam 70-431, what prior knowledge would he require prior to the exam?

    Also between 70-228 and 70-229 which of the 2 is more based towards an MCSE lets say? i.e. doesnt need to know T-SQL? Also what skills is needed prior to doing either exam?

    I know we go a few MCDBAs (freddy & zeb - those come to mind) here so lets get cracking some ideas because i have always wondered what 228 and 229 are all about and to keep it here for future references....

    8)
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  2. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    8,871
    167
    256
    Well for starters, from the link you provided, Microsoft say..

     
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  3. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    this who im talking about... like we tell people about a+ and n+ what would be good to move on from Mcse to do MCTS let say?
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  4. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    5,239
    211
    236
    I did 229 and found it very heavy on T-SQL.
    When I use SQL server in work I use the visual interface a lot - hell, that's what it's there for.
    But none of the exam questions touched on it, everything was done with scripts. So you really need to get your head round the 'language' as well as some best practices.

    I keep meaning to have a crack at 228 but never get round to it. It looks like a more 'server' exam than a developer one.
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  5. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    *bump*
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
  6. Keimos

    Keimos Byte Poster

    137
    3
    29
    Hi zimbo,

    You need to have a good understanding of how relational databases work and a good foundation in proprietry SQL.

    T/SQL and PL/SQL as used by Microsoft and Oracle have there own quirks. (programmers should really get together and standardise the language)

    Apart from the above you can pretty well much go for it. Remember both Certs are about using the software not about teaching you the basics.

    Keimos
     
    Certifications: Microsoft Office Specialist
  7. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    3,748
    330
    187
    OK - here's my take on it.

    As with all certs, this may not apply, or may apply to a lesser/greater degree for some people (everyone's different - I went to college with a guy who didn't know jack about networking and could never seem to grasp it - yet he was an absolute wiz at any programming the tutor threw at him).

    As far as I can see, the ideal candidate for the MCDBA would have an excellent grounding in Relational DB theory and the techniques involved in designing and maintaining OLTP databases (OLAP is a specialised area, not really covered at all by the SQL 2K exams and covered by a separate exam on the 2K5 certs). This could be either gained via on the job experience (2 years or so), a HND-level or above qualification heavy on database concepts & design or a combination of the two.

    I must state at this point that you need experience of BOTH administration and DB design to pass 70-228 & 20-229 - someone coming from an entirely theoretical background may not have the right aptitude for managing SQL Server - its not quite as complex as learning T-SQL from scratch, but I've seen people who could normalise to 5NF in their head yet be totally unable to understand things like SQL authentication, DB roles and backing up & restoring.

    That said, like all things, administering SQL Server CAN be learnt by anyone - it just takes time. On the other hand, learning T-SQL to the level required to pass the exam is definitely not easy. I had a good solid backround in databases prior to taking the exams, but learning the ins and outs of SQL itself can be a daunting process. Some people will not 'get it' (like me with programming!) whilst others will click with it straight away. Still others will need time to learn but trust me - if you persevere with it, one day it will all just fall into place. I can remember the day it all started to make sense to me - it was like Neo in the Matrix - only instead of seeing green 1s & 0s I started to see complex SQL statements... (well, maybe not - but you get the point :p )

    Prior to embarking on the course, I'd recommend students get a hold of two excellent books.

    The first is SANS' "Teach Yourself SQL in 21 Days". This will give you the perfect grounding in SQL that you need to get a head start on 70-229. There ARE some subtle differences between the ANSI standard SQL92 and T-SQL - but at the beginner level these aren't enough to worry about. If you get yourself a good understanding of how SQL works at the fundamental level you can iron these little quirks out later.

    Second on your list should be the equally fine Sybex SQL 2000 Admin Study Guide. This will really give you a heads-up on what to expect in the 70-228 exam. Its miles better than the official M$ press study guide (no surprise there!) but be warned - I would advise against using the Sybex companion for 70-229 - I found it riddled with inconsistencies, badly laid out, full of typos and guilty of over-egging the pudding on many topics whilst barely touching on others.

    If you have booked CBT for your course - good. Provided you have a good instructor (mine was absolutely first-rate - the best instructor I've ever had). If not - I'd seriously recommend you look at doing so. It may not be cheap, but it can make all the difference between passing and failing your exams!

    I agree wholeheartedly with JonnyMX - 70-229 is HEAVY on T-SQL. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the time in the 'real world' you won't be designing databases! You'll be fine-tuning queries and Stored Procedures that someone else has written, or creating scripts for other people to run - so M$ is really on the ball with this exam (for once) - as passing it demonstrates that you have the knowledge necessary to be a DBA in the workplace.

    Put simply, SQL Server exams are difficult, but not impossible. I pride myself on never having failed an MS test - but 70-229 pushed me closer than any one other than 70-216. I'd say it would take around six months' full-time study (by that I mean not studying for anything else at the same time - not 12 hour days!) for most people to pass them.

    If anybody needs a hand with SQL Server - just ask!
     
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: None - f*** 'em
  8. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    5,215
    98
    181
    Thanks zeb thats exactly the type of answer i was looking for! It just seems its one of those certs that you need to know alot of stuff before hand before digging into the exam specifics...
     
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics

Share This Page

Loading...