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SQL where to start? 2008? 2012?

Discussion in 'SQL Exams' started by SJMAC, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. SJMAC

    SJMAC New Member

    Hi Guys,

    I work in a service desk that provides IT support for 700+ retail stores. Each store is being upgraded to a point of sale system built on an sql 2008 database and as my knowledge of sql is minimal to say the least I'm keen to learn. However where to start? I was just looking on microsofts learning website and I see that sql 2012 qualifications are now avalible so Im think of going down this road, doing the sql 2012 MCSE data platform exams - 464: developing sql 2012 db's & 465: designing db solutions for sql 2012.

    As my sql knowledge is zero i dont really know if this will suit my needs. Will slq 2012 cover everything I need to know for the sql 2008 db's I now work with? I presume so. Can anyone advise me where to start with sql and if you would recommend a newbie doing the MCSE sql 2012 data platform exams - 464 & 465?

    Thanks for your time :)

    peace, SJ

    PS - i would have included a link to the microsoft learning webpage ive been looking at but newbies here like me cant post links
  2. AdamV

    AdamV Bit Poster

    My gut feel on anything where you are starting out on a new topic is to consider the latest version if at all possible, especially if you take into account how long it may take you to actually get through your learning and get qualified.
    There's a huge overlap in the basics for SQL 2005, 2008 and 2012, although of course there are new features in each version so you may have to filter some of your knowledge when you apply it to your real-world workplace.

    If you are starting completely from scratch you might also want to consider course 10774A:Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 rather than jumping straight in with courses for 464 and 465. Note there is no exam specifically aligned to this five day course which replaces the previous 3 day Server 2008 course, with loads more material. This goes way beyond just doing Transact-SQL queries, covering loads of important concepts about database structure and features, and is a great way to get introduced to the SQL management tools too.

    Hope this helps you make the right choices for your learning plans
    Certifications: MCT, MCSA:Messaging 2003, MCTS:Dynamics CRM 4.0 and 2011; MOS: Master Instructor 2003, 2007
    WIP: Writing CRM 2013 Customization course. Planning to take all CRM 2013 exams ASAP
    SJMAC likes this.
  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Forget certification for now, just get some good books and learn T-SQL and MS SQL Server.

    In 1-2 years time consider certification and certify on the latest version you can.

    As mentioned if you're thinking of taking MOC courses in the hope of getting certified, from a position of zero knowledge you're probably looking at 3-4 weeks of courses + some self study.

    You should focus on one exam at a time in general, don't go planning multiple exams when you know zero about a topic. It could take you 6 months+ to pass one exam. (Generally speaking you shouldn't be looking at MCTS/MCSA/MCSE exams from a position of zero knowledge anyway... Its Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist or Solutions Expert, the clues in the name.)

    464 and 465 are part of the SQL server MCSE. A prerequisite qualification is the MS SQL server MCSA.

    So the first step is the MCSA.

    461 + 462 + 463 = MCSA SQL Server 2012


    MCSA + 464 + 465 = MCSE SQL Server 2012

    You shouldn't be considering anything other than exam 461 for now, in fact you probably are not ready for that.

    Last edited: Jul 3, 2012
    SJMAC likes this.
  4. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

    I agree with dmarsh. Forget certification for now. Also don't bother with 2012 just yet. It's still early and you will be supporting 2008 (maybe R2) version of SQL Server.

    Download AdventureWorks sample database:
    Microsoft SQL Server Product Samples: Database - Download: AdventureWorks 2008R2 SR1

    get some books on T-SQL and practice. Get familiar and comfortable with SSMS.

    Once you're done with the basics install another instance (on the same PC) and play with mirroring and/or log shipping.

    I've been working (being responsible and administering) with 5 single SQL Server instances and 2 SQL Server clusters that act as a backend for public facing websites and applications for last 14 months and let me tell you one thing. Take your time with SQL Server because when it comes to transactional databases there is no place for mistakes, restoring from backup from an hour ago is allowed only in the event of a disaster, even 15 minutes is too long in most situations.

    I had my moment of blood pumping when I saw "1044523 Row(s) affected" after missing out WHERE clause on DELETE statement. Not in my current employment though and I was able to use the backup so it was all good in the end.

    All I'm trying to say is that SQL Server might not be the most complicated or hard to learn technology but most of the time the data stored in the databases is critical and ****-ups are costly to fix (merging data to a database with 100s of transactions per minute can be a nightmare, believe me).

    Don't rush it please. I've had to deal with DBA's who couldn't even change parameters correctly to required values in query I emailed them.
    WIP: Uhmm... not sure
    Sparky, dmarsh and SJMAC like this.
  5. SJMAC

    SJMAC New Member

    Thanks for your input guys... thats good advice and I think you guys are right, I shouldnt jump into certification straight from the off and if do I think Adam is right in suggesting I start with Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 rather than jumping straight in with courses for 464 and 465.

    Can anyone recommend a good book to get me started with SQL? We do have a few SQL for dummies books at work (appropriately titled in our case lol), but I never get time to get stuck into this at work so I going to just get a copy of this or another sql book for myself.
  6. Gav

    Gav Kilobyte Poster

    As others have said, I think one of the most important things you can do to start with, is start learning T-SQL, the core functionality of which is the same on 2008/2012.

    If you're looking for a 2008 Book, I used the official Training Kit from Microsoft when I did the exam (http://www.amazon.co.uk/MCTS-Self-P...cation/dp/0735626057/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top). Disregard all the older negative reviews, as they have released an updated version with a lot of the errors corrected (NB: the eBook still contains the original errors, and should be avoided).

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