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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Unanswered: Certification path for a "newbie" professional

    When I began my job, I had never used a database before, of any kind. It's been almost a year, and now I work with databases on a daily basis. Whether it be making the databases and tables themselves or pulling data from them via an application, etc., I handle database stuff every day, and I really really enjoy it. It's so much fun. I love going to work. I realized a potential problem with one of our databases at work in my dreams last night (no joke). The thing is, I don't have a formal education in database design or management, at all. I'm 25 and working a full-time IT job, so I can't go back to university or anything like that, but I really want to get one of the Microsoft SQL Server certifications, both for my own personal achievement, and as a resume builder. It just feels so good to have come this far in less than a year, with literally nothing but trial and error and my good friend Google. Now I want to take it to the next level.

    But I looked at a sample exam for one of the tests, and it was crystal clear that I need to sit down with some books and study guides and just chip away at this slowly over time. The problem is, I feel like I'm in this weird situation where I'm not a complete newbie, thanks to a year of trial and error experience, but at the same time, I only know the concepts I've worked with over the past year, which means there very well may be some extremely basic concepts that just never came up in my line of work, and therefore I can't call myself "intermediate" either.

    I went to the bookstore, and it's like every book I saw on SQL Server 2008 for instance was either too basic and introductory, or too big of a jump from where I am currently.

    How should I approach this? Between the internet and the bookstore, all the information one could ever need is obviously all right there, but I just don't know how to approach this.

    I'm particularly interested in Exam 70-433 (Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development) and Exam 70-432 (Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    In front of the computer
    Provided Answers: 54
    I really only see two choices.

    You can start with a book that is near the beginner level. This allows you to review everything from the ground up, which is a two-edged sword... It means that you have a consistent presentation of all of the appropriate information in the appropriate order, but it also means that you have to wade through any material that you already know.

    You can start with a book that is near your present level. This avoids the tedium of re-covering material you know, but it can leave gaps in your understanding of the topic. The gaps that this might leave probably aren't significant for the Exams but that doesn't mean that they might not be annoying to you personally when you have to deal with them.

    I would personally opt for starting at the beginning and rolling through the material... Your pace will vary depending on your familiarity with the current topic, but that's to be expected.

    I can't really offer much in the way of suggestions because learning on your own is a pretty personal issue. The book(s) you choose are more closely related to your learning style than the author's presentation style, in other words you need to pick books that suit your needs instead of having someone else pick the books for you. If I was going to teach a semester long class right now, I'd probably use the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Unleashed because it fits my teaching style and covers everything I consider appropriate (in 50+ beefy chapters).

    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

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