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Microsoft Developer Certifications: What's Your Path?

  • By Steve Rowe
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The Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) certification was created in response to the growing role of and demand for qualified database administrators and developers who use Microsoft's SQL Server database. This certification came into its own as the sales of SQL Server 7.0 began to climb and Microsoft realized the need for qualified administrators and developers to effectively use this product. Currently, www.mcpmag.com lists upwards to 95,000 people certified with the MCDBA credential. You will also note that this certification invites those who wish to be network and server administrators as well as people who want to stay closer to the development side of IT. While pursuing this certification you will find, particularly in the elective exams, that you can hone your skills one way or another.

Overall, the MCDBA is expected to be able to design physical databases, manage databases, monitor database performance, install and configure the SQL Server product, construct logical data models, and work with the T-SQL language. T-SQL is the flavor of SQL that is more native to the SQL Server product. An MCDBA who works closer to the development side of IT will also be able to develop software solutions based on SQL Server or be able to make enterprise solutions or Web Services that include SQL Server capabilities in some form.

To achieve the MCDBA status, you must pass a total of four exams. You will be required to pass three exams from the core set of exams and one from the elective exams. The following list will highlight the topics that you can select from the core set of exams:

  • SQL Server Administration Exam: You will need to pass one exam on administering SQL Server. Topics will include installation, configuration, administration, and management. You have the option to take the exam for SQL Server 7.0 or for SQL Server 2000, Enterprise Edition at this time.
  • SQL Server Design Exam: You will be required to pass one exam that tests your knowledge on designing databases based on business needs, then your ability to implement that design into a real database infrastructure. This exam set also allows you to select between testing for SQL Server 7.0 or 2000, Enterprise Edition.
  • Networking Systems Exam: The third core exam requires you to pass one exam dealing with a network server operating system. This gives the MCDBA fundamental knowledge of the network infrastructure that their SQL Server infrastructure may well be part of. At this time, you can take an exam on installing, configuring, and administering a Windows 2000 Server or you will soon be able to test on Windows Server 2003. If the MCDBA interests you and you would like to pursue this with Windows Server 2003, stay close to Microsoft's MCDBA Web site to find out when this option opens to you.

The electives section for this certification has a plethora of options. As noted earlier, the elective exams for the MCDBA allow the candidate some flexibility in which area, administration and/or development, of IT they wish to work in. While perusing the objectives list, you will note you can take exams on developing with Visual Studio 6 technologies or .NET development technologies. Also, you can take exams on Windows 2000 networking topics if network and database administration is your area of interest.

With the demand for qualified database professionals, this certification offers you considerable professional growth. As you have seen, the MCDBA offers many points of flexibility and plenty of opportunities to experience how SQL Server relates to and works with other Microsoft networking and development technologies. If this certification interests you, be sure to periodically check out the MCDBA site for news, information, and exam names, numbers, and expectations.

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This article was originally published on March 31, 2003

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