SQL Server Certifications - Holiday Roundup

If you're on the same general certification track as I am, then you've acquired MCITP: Database Developer 2008 and MCITP: Database Administrator 2008.  The next logical step would be to prepare for the vaunted Microsoft Certified Master exams.  Until fairly recently, these exams REQUIRED on-site time at Microsoft (3 weeks) and would run you about $10,000.  As a result, no one actually paid any attention to them and 90%+ of the people who got them were Microsoft employees.  Microsoft acquiesced and made the exams more readily available, no longer requiring direct training in Washington (although they're still expensive at $500 and $2,000 respectively).

That WOULD have been the next logical step.  However, as the Microsoft learning page clearly states:

The exams listed below are scheduled to retire on January 2014. Learn more about the successor program to MCM: SQL Server, the MCSM: Data Platform.

Yes, that's the MCM SQL Server 2008 exam track.  It's already in its death throes, being retired in just over a calendar year.

The heir apparent to MCM: SQL 2008 is MCSM, the Microsoft Certified Solutions Master: Data Platform.  As of today (2012-11-20), the exams are still in development.  However, there are additional prerequisites that didn't exist when it was called MCM.   The MCSE: Data Platform track is required before you can take the MCSM:DP.  

And guess what ?  It also has prerequisities.  No, I'm not kidding.

MCSE:DP requires MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate).  For SQL Server 2008, 070-432 (Implementation and maintenance, which I've covered previously) + 070-448 (BI, which I haven't covered) "Equals" MCSA: SQL 2008.  For SQL Server 2012, It's either 3 new exams or MCTS (SQL 2008) + 2 transition exams (which doesn't actually make sense, since MCTS and MCSA are separate tracks).  If this seems confusing, it's because it is quite confusing and the similar acronyms don't help the situation.

I consulted the "handy" certification planner (which still doesn't work in firefox!) and it matches what's listed above.

So here's what's next (for me, anyway).  I'm going to finish out SQL Server 2008 since it's the most prominent right now.

Exam #448 (SQL 2008 BI Dev + Maintenance).  This is the only requirement (for everyone) for "MCTS: SQL 2008 BI Dev + Maintenance" even though they are listed separately on the certification planner.  This completes the MCSA: SQL 2008 track (again, for me).

After that, it's either the CORE exams for MCSE:DP (#465 and #464) or the upgrade exam (#459).  I've always chosen the CORE exams in the past so I could do write-ups on everything, so I'll most likely do the same here.

Good luck with your certs.