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In today's competitive economy putting time and effort into gaining recognised qualifications seems to be a worthwhile investment. As far as SQL Server is concerned Microsoft provides four tiers of certification, enabling individuals to demonstrate their expertise from the very earliest point in their careers through to a very senior level.
When Microsoft introduced its current set of certifications one motivating intention was to align them with job roles so that employers would be able to identify the right candidate for a particular job and individuals would be provided with a way to distinguish themselves and showcase their specific skills. So from the outset the SQL Server 2008 qualifications are targeted at specific job profiles.
Starting early - MTA
In July 2010 Microsoft introduced a career-oriented certification aimed at high school and college students. The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is now the first (and optional) step on the certification ladder and in the case of those who are considering a career related to databases there is one qualification covering all the various job roles. As an entry-level certification it does not need any prior experience and there is only one exam to pass to earn MTA certification.
According to the information for Exam 98-364: Database Fundamentals
Candidates for this exam are in the process of expanding their knowledge and skills in the following areas:
- core database concepts
- relational database concepts
- security requirements for databases and the data stored in them
- database objects, such as tables and views
- graphical tools and T-SQL scripts
- database queries
- stored procedures
To participate in the MTA program you need to be enrolled in a school or college that is part of the Microsoft IT Academy, a subscription-based program that provides IT training and resources to academic institutions.
For most database developers the first exam they will encounter is for the MCTS Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist. This basic level of qualification is designed to demonstrate technical expertise in the tasks associated with their job roles and candidates are expected to have one to two years experience using SQL Server 2008.
The choice of exam at MCTS determines which certification you can obtain at the next level, MCITP - Microsoft Certified IT Professional and at this point you need to select one of three job roles, Database Administrator, Database Developer or Business Intelligence Developer.
The road maps presented below show the exams required to gain both MCTS and MCITP for each of these roles.
Candidates for these exams have jobs in which database administration is their main area of responsibility, or they work in environments in which databases are central. These job roles include that of developers who build applications that use SQL Server 2008.
For details of the MTCS exam, which covers installing configuring and maintaining SQL Server data management task, security monitoring and troubleshooting see:
Exam 70-432: SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance