Microsoft DBA path

tcert009tcert009 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone:

I am considering to earn a certificate in database administrator. I have some questions regards the certification and career outlook.
Please give me some suggestions.

My background is in IT, I have some basic programming experience (PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript) and I want to get started in DBA path. I know basic SQL and I have used Mysql workbench at work to do some queries.

My Location: Austin, TX

1. Which certificate should I start with?
1a. I did some search myself, it seems like I should start with MCST: MS SQL server 2008 exam series

1b. Should I start with MS SQL server 2008 or MS SQL Server 2012? Or it is like I pass one exam, then I should have good understanding on the other server as well.

1c. Where can I download a free version of MS SQL server program to do self-study?

2. how long does it take for a average person to complete the certification program?
I am working full time, so I will do it in evening or on the weekends.

3. Could you recommend some good certification resources (online or instructor lead programs)?

3a. Please share with me some good online knowledge bases for MS SQL server learning.

3b. Please give me some feedback on these training programs. Are they good and worth to investigate money and time ?
Quick Cert Program:
Horizon training: Microsoft Certification: MCITP: Windows Server 2008 Administrator - New Horizons Computer Learning Centers

For Career outlook
1.What is the outlook for MS SQL server DBA for a person like me doesn't have practical experience?

2. I saw somewhere online that Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development will be retired in 7-2013, will the certification still valued by the employers?

3. Does Oracle certificated DBA have a better chance to get employed in the current economy?


  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298
    1. Start with the SQL Server 2012 exams. The similarity is suficient enough that if you understand SQL Server 2012, you can admin 2008 R2 very easily.

    icon_arrow.gif Start with the 3 exams from the MCSA on SQL 2012. MCSA: SQL Server Certification | Microsoft Learning
    icon_arrow.gificon_arrow.gif You first exam should be the 70- 461 as that will prove you ability to write SQL Queries in T-SQL Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
    icon_arrow.gificon_arrow.gif You can download Express Edition of SQL Server here: Download SQL Server 2012 Express with SP1 You should also look at SQL Server trial as well. Then you can experiment with some of the paid features. But that won't be required for the first exam, really.

    2. This depends on the person. If you have 0 experience with SQL Server but have a background in server administration it might take you 6 months or more to complete the MCSA. This is hard stuff when you first get started.

    3. Historically I have used the MS Press Training Kits and I have a subscription to which has some very good stuff on SQL Server. I have never heard of QuickCert but New Horizons uses the MS Official Courses which are good.

    As far as the career outlook, the best thing I did was start to learn SQL Server. I didn't get into a DBA role immediately, it took me a few years after getting my first cert, but it did get me a server admin job that included SQL Server. I was admining and writing queries/reports. This experience got me a job in SQL Server administration and development which has now expanded into a mostly developer position. A SQL Server cert and Oracle certs would likely get you noticed pretty quickly. But you need to know this stuff deeply.
  • tcert009tcert009 Registered Users Posts: 4 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Hello Robert:

    Thanks for providing me with detailed feedback and the advises on how to get started with the certification.
    I will do more research and post my questions here. Thanks!
  • burfectburfect Member Posts: 128
    If one was interested in both the System Admin and DBA side of things, but not dead set on a particular direction, could you essentially kill two birds with one stone by doing the MCSA: SQL?

    What I mean is, if you were to go the MCSA: Server route, you don't really touch on SQL/Querying at all, and although this would be a good idea for someone interested in a path to a System Admin type of role, won't really help in a DBA/BI side of things.

    The MCSA: SQL/DATABASE focuses mostly on SQL/DBA side of things, but at the end of the day, it is still a MCSA and could be used to help leverage a position or role as a System Admin, no?

    Financially speaking, it would not make sense to get two different MCAS, and on a resume, I am guessing most simply list "MCSA" rather than the actual focus attached to it?

    In a nutshell, am I off with the logic that an MCSA, wether Server or Database can aid in a path to a System Admin type of role, but down the line, long term, the SQL/Database might help more in the BI side of things..?
  • RobertKaucherRobertKaucher Member Posts: 4,298
    Sorry I didn't notice your question earlier.

    It would make sense to have two different MCSAs. Yes, there should be interest in the specialization component. But if you had to choose between the Server and SQL Server MCSA I suppose the MCSA SQL Server could be useful in a more generalist role.

    Personally if I were hiring for a generalist role I would be interested in either (MCSA Windows Server or MCSA SQL Server) candidate but the one who had both would be my first choice, all else being equal.
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