Showing posts with label sql server 2012. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sql server 2012. Show all posts

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Frequently Asked Questions about MCSA: SQL Server

By Sarah Morgan

Microsoft’s SQL Server is one of the top database management systems in the world – even surpassing IBM’s second place market share in 2013.

With the MCSA: SQL Server cert you’ll get the skills needed to maintain a SQL Server database. You’ll learn how to use a broad range of tools and add-ons for business intelligence, data-driven applications and data warehousing.

It’s a pervasive technology, commonplace in organisations that use Microsoft’s Visual Studio environment for software development.

And to demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to SQL Server, you’ll also find database-related certifications at each level of Microsoft’s certification program – from MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) to MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert).

There’s a lot to know about this popular MCSA cert, and a lot of frequently asked questions - let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones…

Q. Why should you get the MCSA: SQL Server certification?

A. SQL Server training gives you an edge in a career as a database administrator, developer or analyst. You’ll not only have a broad range of SQL Server knowledge, you’ll also be able to prove it with a recognised certification.

If you’re aiming for positions like database developer or database analyst (or the previously mentioned careers) this certification is ideal.

Q. Am I ready for the MCSA: SQL Server?

A. Whilst there aren’t any solid prerequisites for this MCSA cert, you will be expected to have a basic knowledge of Microsoft’s Windows operating system and a working knowledge of relational databases is preferred.

However, it can still be rewarding to take an MCSA: SQL Server course without previous experience with SQL Server. You’ll still get a wealth of useful SQL knowledge as well as the tools to start using SQL Server for yourself. Ultimately, you’ll get the information to make gaining the certification more achievable.

If you’re new to technology we recommend you start with Microsoft’s entry level MTA: Database Fundamentals course. You’ll learn the basics of relational databases, data security concepts and database administration. With this solid base of knowledge, you’ll then be able to move on to the more advanced MCSA.

You'll need to pass these three exams

Q. What options are available for me to study MCSA: SQL Server?

A. When it comes to taking on your certification exams, there are two primary paths to follow: self-study & instructor-led / classroom training.

Self-study consists of research, reading and independent practice before arranging and taking the related exam(s). This approach will often save you money in the short term – training materials will cost less than time in the classroom but it can take you much longer to source and learn the right material.

You can also self-study through the use of virtual classrooms and virtual courses. These hybrid products provide a flexible way to learn – you’ll be able to learn when you want and get guided through a set curriculum of revision resources. Some good providers will even allow you to speak one-on-one to instructors online.

Classroom study provides you with the material you need to know and a good environment to learn it. Plus, with good training providers you’ll also get access to hands-on labs where you’ll be able to practice your SQL as soon as you’re taught it. You can set-up your own labs, but it will take an investment of time and effort.

Plus, it’s hard to put a value on the ‘instructor’ of instructor-led training. Nothing beats speaking to somebody in person about a tricky SQL Server query or learning first-hand from a master of the technology.

Whichever path you choose you’ll find brilliant support for both. Your choice should depend on how you prefer to learn, how quickly you need to get certified, how much time you can commit to studying and your/your organisations budget.

Q. I want to prepare myself for MCSA: SQL Server – where’s a good place to start revising?

A. If you want to build your knowledge before taking on a course, or are ready to dive into self-study, you should first take a look at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

Here you’ll find some great, free e-learning resources. Our Firebrand SQL Server instructor has singled out these MVA resources as particularly useful:

1. Database Fundamentals – a great introduction to database terminology, concepts and skills for beginners

2. Administering SQL Server 2012 Jump Start – This Jump Start video will help you prepare for exam 70-462, one of the three you’ll need to pass for the MCSA: SQL Server cert.

3. Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Jump Start – If you’re already familiar with database fundamentals and working with SQL server, this is a great advanced resource for you. An equally useful resource if you’re preparing for exam 70-461.

Microsoft also offer paid revision materials. ‘Training Kits’ include lessons, practical exercises and online practice tests for each exam (70-461, 70-462 and 70-463)

Q. What about the new SQL Server 2014 product, does this affect my MCSA SQL Server certification?

A. In April 2014, Microsoft updated the MCSE SQL Server exams to include SQL Server 2014 topics.

However, the three MCSA exams are still focused on SQL Server 2012 and as a result haven’t been changed. The new SQL Server 2014 features (performance tuning and high availability) are best suited for the advanced MCSE level certs and can only be found in the relevant MCSE exams.

For a more detailed description of the new changes, take a look at this blog post.

Q. I’ve finished my MCSA, but I still want to expand my skills – what else can I do?

This MCSA is your first step toward the advanced MCSE: Data Platform and MCSE: Business Intelligence certifications.

Achieve these certs and you’ll gain specialised knowledge of Microsoft SQL Server, singling you out as a proven expert in this popular technology.

Take a look at these pages for more information on the MCSE: Data Platform and the MCSE: Business Intelligence certs.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

SQL Server 2014 certifications: What you need to know


With the release of SQL Server 2014, Microsoft has made some significant changes to their current SQL Server certifications. And unlike the move from Microsoft SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012 – the certifications associated with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 don’t follow the usual trend. The release of SQL Server 2014 is a little different.

How different you ask? Well, we’ve put together a handy FAQ to explain just that.

Q. Will Microsoft be providing a new MCSA: SQL Server 2014 certification? 

A.  There are currently no plans to offer a new MCSA certification. Certifications for SQL Server 2014  will only be offered at the MCSE level. This new product focuses on performance tuning and high availability – features best suited for the advanced MCSE.

Q. How will this affect the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification? 

A. Don’t worry. You’ll still be able to get the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 qualification. Its associated exams (70-461/70-462/70-463) will remain without any alterations. The MCSA: SQL Server 2012 will also remain as the prerequisite for both MCSE certificates.

Q. How does SQL Server 2014 affect the MCSE: Data Platform and MCSE: Business Intelligence certifications?

A. The MCSE: Data Platform (70-464/70-465) and MCSE: Business Intelligence (70-466/70-467) exams were updated In April 2014 with SQL Server 2014 topics. Their exam numbers will stay the same.

Q. I’m already working towards earning an MCSA/MCSE certification associated with SQL Server. How will the changes to Microsoft's Official Curriculum affect me?

A. If you are currently studying for your MCSA: SQL Server 2012, you have nothing to worry about. This MCSA and its associated exams will not be changed. Though you may now find it referred to as MCSA: SQL Server.

Both the MCSE: Data Platform and the MCSE: Business Intelligence were updated April 2014 to include SQL Server 2014 content. If you earned your MCSE credential before this, you will not be tested on SQL Server 2014 or future releases until your recertification exam.

If you are on track to earn your MCSE credential after the exam updates, make sure you revise the correct material. You can do this by reviewing the details on the revised exam objectives which you can find on the Firebrand website.

Q. I want to start learning more about the updates to SQL Server 2014. Where can I find training material?

You can already find a series of free training modules available via the Microsoft Virtual Academy. Alternatively attend our 3 day course focused on updating your skills for SQL Server 2014.

Hopefully we’ve answered your SQL Server 2014 certification questions. But if not, don’t hesitate to contact us directly through our social platforms or just leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 7 December 2012

A week with Firebrand – SQL Server 2012 Student Review | Days 4 - 7

Rowan Troy took time off each day during his accelerated and intensive seven day course to blog about his experience with Firebrand Training.You can find days 1, 2 & 3 on the following link:

Rowan successfully gained his MSCA at the end of his course.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 - Firebrand Training
SQL Server 2012 - Firebrand Training

Day 4

So it is exam day today.  Not looking forward to it myself.  My chosen topic, which I did stupidly choose to accept, is SQL Server 2012 and particularly the DBA elements.  I set out on this course knowing I probably wouldn’t pass the exams.  This is NOT, I will add in huge bold letters, because Firebrand isn’t good enough to get me through, far from it.  It is because like with all things new, I haven’t had a chance to get real world experience with the product and you do need that.  I have knowledge of 2008 which I thought would be helpful and it has proven to be a bonus as I least can drive the main interface of SQL.  One of the pre-requisites for any Microsoft course is now to have 2 years’ experience at least.  Unfortunately 2012 has only been out since Q3 so fat chance of that!  After 3 days of material I was really confident I would score well, when I set out from home I was certain this was not going to be the case!

I went to breakfast fairly early so I could spend a few hours before our exam slot revising some key components.  When I met up with the rest of my course alumni there was a lot of nerves being thrown around and people wondering if they will pass or not.  I went in with the expectation that after 3 days of material I stand a 50/50 chance of passing.  Alas that 50/50 turned into about 5% once I sat down and read through the first ten questions!!!  It was an extremely tough cookie and unfortunately I was defeated on this occasion.  Man Vs. Exam – Exam Wins!

I have sat many Microsoft exams in my time; I think I am almost at 20 now, but this one slayed me rather harshly.  I couldn’t blame the course content, nor the training kit book as that’s fairly new.  I could only put it down to my lack of real world experience and I believe that Microsoft is making it very tough to get past their exams without that element.  It does make the certification seem a lot more real and less paper like so when you finally complete the track, you’ll have achieved something worthwhile.  Exchange 2010 was also one of those that knocked me down a peg and I have a vast amount of real world experience with it but the exam was a true master at putting me in my place.  I did pass it on the second time of asking which is what I plan to do with this SQL exam. 

I’m off to sleep early tonight so I can get some rest now that first exam is out of the way.  Who knows I may even pass it the next time but having seen the exam, I now know what I need to research.  With free resits at the moment, there is panic!!!

Signing off…

Day 5

Well I passed on my second attempt.  I went back to my room after dinner and spent a lot of time reviewing the material, spoke with my trusty DBA at work for an hour (or maybe it was two can’t quite remember) and re-read huge chunks of my training kit and a lot of MSDN pages it recommended I do.  In doing that, I was up until gone midnight and had to get up early doors to be in the exam room.  Fortunately for me Paul Templeton, who you’ll meet when you come Wyboston lakes, did me and two of my fellow alumni a huge favour in getting us into the exam room again before our course started on Day 5. 

Having seen the exam once and then having a second shot gave me a bit more confidence in passing.  I went in with the wrong attitude; that I was going to fail, and had I changed that attitude, and read what all that material the night before my first attempt, I would have probably passed it then.  Even if you think that you don’t know much, you will be surprised, as I was, with what I did know.  Take your time reading the questions, ensure you have truly understood what they are asking for.  I do sit Microsoft exams rather quickly and it has always paid off in the years gone by.  Now though I believe that due to the changes in the courses and exams and the technical difficulty within them, you really need to read the questions.  I had my thumb up against that monitor, ensuring that I read every word before I answered.

Lots of people have different techniques but I have had to adapt mine.  It takes longer to complete the exam but I am safe in the knowledge that I have read everything right.  So what I once thought was impossible, is now possible.  We continued the material for the next exam track and I only missed thirty minutes due to my re-take.  There is still a long way to go but I have at least conquered part of this course.  Onwards and upwards as they say…

Signing off….

Day 6

I had an early night last night so I feel refreshed today as we continued with the content and labs.  I still have to reiterate my comment about breakfast, that you will feel better for having just cereal and toast and not opting for the full fry up.  You really do need your brain fully engaged each day so take this as the best advice I can give you.

We have been working on T-SQL, which is something I have little knowledge of but I was actually understanding terms and syntax, much to my amazement.  I have often looked at this 'stuff' during my career and just assumed aliens wrote it and people who write it now have some sort of disposition that they want to talk in a foreign language for a living.  But it is exactly that, another language that requires definitions.  I knew this part would very tough and take a lot of reading and practice so I hope that with the hours I have put in it will pay off.

Once again it's past 2300 so time to get some sleep, second exam tomorrow and possibly the hardest of the three!

Signing off..

Day 7

Early start again to get the last minute revision of my notes and the training materials.  Exam two is sometimes the hardest but if you have never sat a Microsoft exam you'll find out that most of them are just multiple choice with drag and drops but this one actually requires you to type the answers.  The first time I have sat an exam like this and I have to admit the nerves were getting to me.

I had an early breakfast with a few of the alumni who were just as concerned with the fact we had to actually type the answers out.  We were bouncing off revision and tips off each other which does help when you have to remember so much.  Sometimes it's the conversations you have with those going through the same training and exam as you that you can actually get the answers you need.

We started the exam at around 9:30am and I used 2 hours of the 3 hours available to pass with a very reasonable score.  I was told there were 10 questions that you would have to type the answers, I completed 2 that I knew were right and the syntax was correct (according to the checker within the exam of course, albeit it doesn't like spelling).  I was certain two more were right but the syntax checker was doing its usual trick of telling me I was wrong.  I made sure I put comments on those questions to tell Prometric, the exam company, that it needs tweaking.  The rest of the questions I gave it my best shot and with all that I did get my pass.

Unfortunately I had to leave today, missing the last two days of material and the final exam to complete my MCSA.  Fortunately Firebrand, as always, were understanding and gave me my exam voucher so I can go and take the exam when I get the opportunity.  The experience, again, has been very rewarding, although my brain is absolutely stuck in the world of T-SQL and I am exhausted but I have learned so much and in such a short space of time I could never have done this anywhere else.  I want to personally thank everyone at Firebrand, including Angela for being a great trainer and Paul Templeton who I now consider 'The Don', who once again went above and beyond for me - all your hard work is very much appreciated by me and I am sure by everyone who visits.

Signing off for the final time..

Congratulations Rowan gaining your MCSA in just 7 days.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

A week with Firebrand – SQL Server 2012 Student Review | Days 1 - 3

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 - Firebrand Training
SQL Server 2012 - Firebrand Training

Firebrand student Rowan Troy took time off each day during his intensive 7 day course to blog about his experience at Firebrand. He successfully gained his MSCA.

Day 1

It was an early start for the first day, breakfast waits in the hotel restaurant and if it's like it was last time I was here, it'll be very good.  Firebrand will serve you a cooked breakfast but as always they don't recommend it - personally I don't take them up on the offer as I agree, it isn't good for the brain if you are attempting to learn at the accelerated pace that the course demands.

We managed to get through 7 modules today, if you did that on the traditional course, you would be out the door by the end of play on day 3 and most training establishments ask you for five days of your time for just one exam track!  Microsoft do have a tendency to pad things out but Firebrand take away the repetitiveness of the official curriculum and give you the bits you need to know.  Angela, our no longer M.I.A trainer, has been impressive in her knowledge of SQL and the demonstrations have been practically flawless.  She needs coffee though I think!

The clocks go back today so we do get an extra hour in bed which is a first for me being on a course.  It is needed though as reading takes up your time once you have completed the labs.  It is 2300 now so it's time to get some sleep before day 2 starts.

Signing off!

Day 2

Day 2 is always a crunch day for me even though I have been here 5 times now.  You wake up realising that you're still here, wondering whether you actually learned anything on the first day and whether you remember anything.  My fellow alumni are also feeling the tiredness that comes with self-study and staying up all the hours God gives to get as much knowledge in your over-worked brain.  Good thing to do is recap the modules you covered at the start of the day as it does help to jog the grey matter.  Breakfast was great again, just in case you were wondering.

We managed to get through 8 modules today which are just staggering.  I know there will be some readers who think that isn't possible but I implore you to take a look at the padding out that does happen with some modules and condense that information into one single module.  You'll soon find out that it is quicker and that you repeat things quite often.  Talk of the first exam has already begun and although we are a day away still, everyone is keen to understand just how difficult it is.

The course doesn't come with as many books as I would like.  Firebrand always provide you with the Training Kits that come from the Microsoft Press or the Administrators Companion as both are valuable tools to self-study with when you've completed the labs (or just fed up with them) and you want to go back to your room to study in your own way and in your own time.  Unfortunately the course and exams are so new that even Microsoft is somewhat behind in producing suitable reading material.  I was not amused to receive a revised release date for the 70-461 training kit as it will now arrive on 3rd November - too late for me so I cancelled that a while ago!!!  Firebrand have fortunately taken the time to research alternative books to the above and provided them instead.

Day 3 is coming and again its 2300 so time to hit the sack and get some energy back ready to finish off the first exam track and begin the revision…

Day 3

Day 3 started off pretty well, continuing with the course content and knowing there isn't much left to cover does give you this sense of build up to the first exam.  I happen to be carrying the joys of winter with me when I came up here and unfortunately haven't managed to shake it off so I felt somewhat unwell throughout the day.  Unknowingly though, performing complex tasks in the labs (they actually make you think now instead of giving you step by step instructions - that is until you look in the very back of the book of course) somehow made me forget about my cold and gave me something to focus on.  It's true what they say, doing something continuously that engages the brain non-stop allows you to forget the world around you.  With the clocks going back it does, at the moment, make the day feel longer so you do have to wonder how your brain can cope with this pace and having an extra hour to squeeze in!

I haven't mentioned lunch or dinner yet as breakfast is, in my opinion, the most important meal of the day but as always it is superbly prepared food and I hope that it continues to stay that way.  You need it after the brain work out that is Transact SQL and the numerous windows and pop boxes that we face as IT bodies every day.  It doesn't get any easier it would seem to keep up with the fast pace moving world that is Microsoft technologies.

The exam is tomorrow so I am signing off just a little earlier as I need the sleep.  I will be up very early to get myself reading again before the 9:30am meet up time and 10am exam.  I came here with nothing but if I leave with an exam under my belt, it would mean a lot and would be a bonus.  I know some people come here and their performance is monitored by their employer, fortunately mine isn't so I don't have that added pressure that some of my alumni do.

Good night!

Click here to see days 4 to 7 of Rowan’s SQL Server 2012 experience with Firebrand Training:

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Demand for IT staff at all time high

According to a study by e-skills UK, during the next 8 years, IT employment will grow at almost twice the national average.

The ‘Technology Insights’ report shows that almost 130,000 new recruits a year are needed to fill the IT and telecoms sectors in the UK, which is at a record high. The report also found that the most significant growth in the IT industry was in the following areas:
e-skills UK logo
  • ICT managers
  • Software professionals
  • IT strategy and planning professionals

In addition, it shows that the number of advertised job vacancies have increased from 82,000 per quarter in 2009 to over 115,000 per quarter in 2011.

The most advertised jobs are as follows:
  • Design
  • Development
  • Support roles

The most common technical skills required and looked for are C, C#, Java and SQL.

The CEO for e-skills UK Karen Price stated that “with IT employment set to grow at such a pace, it is vital that we continue to invest in the skills of those working in technology, and create new routes for young people to enter exciting and challenging careers in the industry”.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Video: MCSE Certification Paths for SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 certification is available in two paths – MCSE: Data Platform and MCSE: Business Intelligence certifications. The MCSA:SQL Server 2012 course is the first step to earn the MCSE: Data Platform or MCSE: Business Intelligence certs.

The MCSE: Data Platform certification teaches you how to maintain a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Database. This course is the foundation for all SQL Server-related disciplines: Database Administration, Database Development and Business Intelligence.

The MCSE: Business Intelligence certification teaches you how to implement a Business Intelligence platform for Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

What's new in SQL Server 2012?

Microsoft has recently launched SQL Server 2012. It addresses the needs of BI-hungry users of Reporting Services, and IT personnel in charge of query performance and uptime.

SQL Server 2012 has some massive improvements on its predecessor. Reporting Services adds a Web front-end for data exploration and visualisation, called Power View. SQL Analysis Services has released a new semantic model, which gives Business Intelligence professionals more ease and flexibility to build solutions. Columnstore indexing helps you run queries in a data warehouse faster. Data Quality Services, along with improvements to Master Data Services, provide the tools for protecting company data.

SQL Server 2012 includes features which appeal to Database Business Administrators. Microsoft has improved High Availability: the addition of AlwaysOn technology allows you to configure read-only copies of your primary database, and use them for reporting. AlwaysOn has also solved the issue of failover of multiple dependent databases.

SQL Server 2012 has added a feature called ContainedDB which helps you identify a database to be self-contained so it's not allowed to have external dependencies. There have been two major indexing improvements: online re-indexing and column store indexes.

SQL Server 2012 can now be installed on Windows Server Core, which helps increase both the security and the speed of the server.

SQL Server 2012 is definitely a massive improvement to its predecessor, with many new additions and improvements.

In-line with Microsoft’s certification changes, SQL Server2012 provides one of your first opportunities to gain the brand new MCSE. This means you can gain the MCSE: Business Intelligence or MCSE: Data Platform.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Discover the core of Microsoft

A nine-day SQL Server 2012 course MCTS SQL 2012 Database Core has been launched.

The Core course provides the three MCTS exams, which is the platform for you to move-on to the six-day Database Administrator & Developer or Database Business Intelligence courses. The courses are scheduled in way that you can sit a 15-day track.

Each course is 45% faster than traditional training. It would take up to five weeks to complete each of these courses elsewhere.

Below is an image from Microsoft Learning:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

SQL 2012 Beta exams registration now open

Microsoft has opened registration for SQL Server 2012 beta exams. It’s free to take. If you pass the beta exam, the exam credit will be added to your transcript and you’ll not need to take the exam in its released form.

Read all about it here: