Introduction to Microsoft Certification for SQL Server
People seek certification for many different reasons, and there is no single reason that can be said to be the only correct reason to get certified. Whether you are looking to prove skills you already have or wanting to develop skills you want to have, certification can be beneficial for a most professionals.
Let’s start by defining some terms and acronyms to make sure we are all on the same page when I start discussing these terms.
MCP – Microsoft Certified Professional: A generic term used to refer to anyone who has at least 1 current Microsoft certification.
MCTS – Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: A base certification in a product specific track. Typically, 1 exam is required.
MCITP – Microsoft Certified IT Professional: A more comprehensive certification in a product specific track. Typically, requires the MCTS exam plus at least 1 other exam.
MCDBA – Microsoft Certified Database Administrator: This is the old certification track for SQL Server discontinued after SQL Server 2000.
MCM – Microsoft Certified Master: The most advanced certification track for which you can test. An MCM is expected to be able to deliver a comprehensive solution requiring a wide-range of skills and technologies within their specific product. Pre-requisites and testing requirements for this certification track will be discussed later.
MCA – Microsoft Certified Architect: This certification validates your skills as an IT architect who can deliver a solution that requires technical expertise and knowledge as well as an in-depth understanding of business acumen. Pre-requisites and testing requirements for this certification track will be discussed later.
BI – Business Intelligence: The SQL Server technologies and lines of business used for delivering business decision making tools such as SQL Server Reporting Services and SQL Server Analysis Services.
Benefits of Certification
“Forty-three percent of survey respondents report salary increases as a result of Microsoft Certification.”
– Redmond magazine 2006 survey of Microsoft IT professionals compensation
There are many benefits to becoming certified in a specific product track such as SQL Server for professionals and businesses alike. Some of the benefits of certification for professionals include:
· Access to Microsoft resources available only to MCP’s.
· A proven level of knowledge
· A degree of respect from peers and other professionals
· Potential for college credit from Excelsior College
· Access to career resources available through the MCP program
· Allows you to meet higher standard for job requirements
· Combination of certification and experience often accepted in lieu of a college degree