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Friday, October 11, 2013

90 Days to MCSA - ready, set GO!

I just came across a great resource for those seeking certification in SQL Server (like me) or Windows Server 2012, it's called 90 Days to MCSA and I found it on Gareth Swanepoel's blog (@GarethSwan) and it's just the motivation I needed.

I am going over the plans now, this puts a great structure around a task that I think we have all said "Yeah I should do that...someday..." about, but haven't done anything active to get things rolling. Seeing all these other people getting started on this is motivating to me, it's like we're doing it as a group. If you do this as well, make sure to get into the G+ group too.

So what is the plan over the next 90 days? Here is what Gareth laid out, all credit goes to him:

90 days to MCSA – SQL Server 2012
Week 1 (this week):
     Build your Plan. Following this blog post series and visiting the Microsoft 90 days to MCSA web site will help you to do that.
     Build your Lab. Here is a great article from the fine folks at Microsoft learning on how to set up a lab to prep for exam 70-461: Lab Setup Guide to Prep for Exam 70-461 Querying SQL Server 2012. 
     Sign up for the Microsoft Learning 90 Days to MCSA e-newsletter.This can be found on this page.
Week 2 (next week):
     Build your Knowledge. Do some free training at Microsoft Virtual Academy Querying SQL Server
     Sign up for the first exam. Microsoft is offering free second shot retake vouchers for a limited time. Go and grab 15% or more savings on certification packs here. 
     Share with us in the Google+ community. Let us know how you’re doing, if you have any questions or if you just generally need to talk. We’re here for you.
Week 3:
     Build your Knowledge. Watch the Microsoft Learning Exam Prep video for the first exam that will be attempted – 70-461
     Join the Microsoft Learning Study Group. There are some great resources available in these Study Groups including discussion forums and exam prep wikis. Go and join the Database Certification Study Group.
Week 4:
     Build your Knowledge. You should be consuming the content of an exam training kit like the one offered by Microsoft Press which can be found, amongst other places, on Amazon: Training Kit (Exam 70-461): Querying Microsoft® SQL Server 2012. Also available and recommended is the Study notes and review questions book: MCSA SQL Server 2012 Exam 70-461 & 462 ExamFOCUS Study Notes & Review Questions. 
     Take the 70-461 exam. By this point, you should be in a position to exert your effort into actually putting knowledge to paper. Well, digital bits of paper. You will go and attempt to pass the exam. Let us know how it goes !
Week 5 and beyond:
     The process is more-or-less repeated with the 70-462 and 70-463 certification exams. I will be updating this post with specific links that cover those exams. Keep an eye out for that.