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70-457 and 70-458 Game Plan Part Uno

Being methodical and logical as I am, I have set forth a plan to achieve my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate as noted earlier in my goals for 2013.  Having not found much in the way of preparation material as noted in this post , I decided to rent the 70-462 Training Kit from Amazon and transpose some of the objectives there to fit the 70-457 and 70-458 since I am taking the upgrade exams the materials for the regular exams should suffice in preparation.

Now I have outlined a calendar below and the hard dates to hold me accountable to the task especially since the book has to be returned in June.  Let the journey begin!

70-462 Training Kit – 70-457 Objectives
Objective Chapter Lesson Date
Install and Configure
Plan Installation 1 1 1/20/2013
Install SQL Server & related services 1 2 1/20/2013
Implement a migration strategy 4 1 1/27/2013
Configure additional SQL server components 3 1 1/27/2013
Manage SQL Server agent 11 1 2/3/2013
Maintain Instances and Databases
Manage and configure databases 3 3 2/10/2013
Configure SQL Server Instances 2 1 2/17/2013
Implement a SQL Server clustered instance 8 1 2/24/2013
Manage SQL Server instances 2 2 3/3/2013
Optimize and Troubleshoot
Identify and resolve concurrency problems 10 2 3/10/2013
Collect and analyze troubleshooting data 9 1-6 3/17/2013
Audit SQL Server instances 6 3 3/24/2013
70-462 Training Kit – 70-458 Objectives
Manage Data
Configure and maintain a backup strategy 11 2 3/31/2013
Restore databases
11 3 4/7/2013
Implement and maintain indexes
10 1 4/14/2013
Import and Export Data 4 2 4/21/2013
Implement Security
Manage logins and server roles 5 1 4/28/2013
Manage database permissions 6 1 5/5/2013
Manage users and database roles 5 2 5/12/2013
Troubleshoot security 6 2 5/19/2013
Implement High Availability
Implement AlwaysOn 8 2 5/26/2013
Implement database mirroring 7 1 6/2/2013
Implement replication 7 2 6/9/2013

70-457 Course of Action

Today I thought I would set forth a course of action in order to accomplish my goal of passing the 70-457 (and eventually 70-458) in order to achieve the Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect (how hard is it not to say Systems Administrator).  I know what you are thinking, experience is the best trainer, but I like to be well prepared before I spend money to take an exam.

Sadly, Microsoft’s page for this exam has no content as far as a book, training, or even practice tests available for either exam.  I understand that I could use the limited materials for exams 70-461, 462 and 463, but those are all assuming that you do not have an MCTS.  I would like to limit my preparation to only what I need to pass the exam.  I was able to find one book on Amazon, but I am not sure of the series.  I have never used one of these books before.  I think I will rent the 70-462 book from Amazon and that will force me to finish it by June.

Now in order to accomplish this goal I need to set aside at least four hours a week in preparation with book learning and using my 2012 Developer license at home.  That will be tough, but now I have told you so I am now accountable.  Please let me know if you have any tips for studying for this exam, I would appreciate your input.  Enjoy!

Additional Goals for 2013

Yesterday I posted my personal development plan for 2013.  After reading a few other similar blogs by colleagues yesterday, one haunting thought stayed with me all night that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until this morning.  My goals were lofty, but they were no more so than last year.  That would not be stepping out of my comfort zone.  There was really no challenge in the list when compared to 2012, where there were some serious steps on the ledge for me.

How do I resolve this?  Not sure at this point, but I have some ideas so this may evolve over the next week.  The first idea I had would be to upgrade my SQL Server 2008 MCTS to the new MCSA 2012 (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate).  This would consist of two exams, 70-457 and 70-458, both aptly titled ‘Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA SQL Server 2012, Part 1 and 2.’ I waited for all of the dust to settle with the new certifications before I pursued moving forward in my personal growth as it does not appear that I am anywhere ready to tackle the MCM, thus I have made it a five-year goal.  This would put me on that path and force me to commit to the preparation needed to pass these exams.  Now that I have talked this out with you here I think I will add these to the list!  Enjoy!


Confused About the Recent SQL Server 2012 Certification Changes? Me Too!

Are you confused about the recent changes to the SQL Server 2012 Certifications?  I loved the MSCE and MCSA certifications, so on  cursory glance I was stoked.  Yes these certs have name recognition.  Wait, there not the same?  Oh this is going to be fun.  Kendra Little (Blog | Twitter) demystified some of these changes in the following blog post: SQL Server 2012 Certification Changes Video | Brent Ozar PLF.  Enjoy!

Do You Value Training?

Today is the first day of my Immersion training, thus I prepared this blog post a few days ago. 

If you have been reading my blog, then you should be able to surmise that I love learning.  Being in the IT field, I am not sure how you can get by without training because of the speed at which technology changes.  Luckily, my current employer also believes in and values training.  When they ask me if I want to go to training, I submit three or four different classes.  Of course, they do not all get approved, but all they can do is say no.  Thus, it is worth the effort on my part and it demonstrates my committment to my career.

Do you value training?  Are you taking advantage of the training opportunities provided by your employer? 

If the budget is tight, there is no reason why you cannot attend many of the free webinars, code camps, SQL Saturdays, and especially local users groups.  If you are not advancing your skills, then maybe technology is not the right field for you.  So sign up for training.  Go!  Do it now!


Zest for Learning

In today’s competitive marketplace, we must have a zest for learning to remain relevant and marketable. While I am excited about the release of SQL Server 2012, its launch means that my 2008 MCTS has just become a little less marketable. The certification itself does not expire but it’s usefulness is definitely dated. I know many other DBAs have been testing and learning Denali for some time now. Time to pick up the slack.

Since my agency is in the process of implementing 2008R2 boxes replacing our 2005 boxes, we are in the forefront of available technology today. However, in a few months we will once again be one version behind. I can live with that, but my learning must continue. I have been planning on setting up a 2012 lab where I can be ready for the day that we migrate these new boxes.

The reality is that we must keep learning, we must keep moving, and we must remain relevant. Keep up the good work and enjoy!

Goals Updated

We are almost a month into the new year and so far I am on track to complete my stated goals for the year. However, I know one item that will not be completed due to a constraint by VMWare to end testing on the VCP certification this month. Normally you have one year from the date of attendance in the VMWare course to sit for the test before you have to take the class again.  That date for me was in March and given my current projects I will not be able to be prepared to sit for that exam by the end of the month. This is not a big deal because VMWare is not my primary career focus, it was just something I thought I could add to my resume.

It appears that I am going to be able to take Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp’s Immersion training at the end of February, which is an incredible opportunity.  Hopefully I will get to meet some other people in the #SQLFamily there.

The one goal that I am proudest of thus far is this blog. I thought it would be difficult to find something to write about everyday, however I have been able to keep writing everyday.  It is getting easier every day.  I am also trying to do one technical article each week.  I will post updates as we go on this journey together.  Enjoy!

Saturday SQL Schoolhouse

SQL Schoolhouse!

In our second installment of the Saturday SQL Schoolhouse, I wanted to share with you one of the most amazing resources I have ever discovered thanks to the fine folks at SQL Skills: the SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) Readiness Videos.  These videos are amazing and contain such SQL superstars as Brent Ozar (blog : twitter), Paul Randal (blog : twitter), and Kimberly L. Tripp (blog : twitter).  Enjoy!

MCITP: The Long Road Ahead…Step Two

As you may already know from my blog, I have started down the path moving towards my MCITP for SQL Server 2008. Now I have some logistical quandaries and maybe some of my #SQLFamily can provide some insight or opinions.

The first item I was looking at, was which class to take. Obviously, there is a Global Knowledgeboot camp entitled: MCITP: Database Administrator, SQL Server 2008 Boot Camp. This class covers the 70-432 and 70-450 Microsoft exams needed to obtain the MCITP. I have alreadypassed the 70-432, but they are rolled into one course which is fine by me because you can never receive too much SQL knowledge.  Other than that course, I have not really seen any other MCITP specific courses in my area.  However, someone had mentioned to me that taking one or more of the SQLskills immersion courses would be great in this case.  I asked this question a couple of times on twitter yesterday and did not receive any response. Any ideas?

Next up….test prep. I have never really been a big proponent of the test prep software.  I have always bought books and taken classes and studied that material. Is that a good idea with the MCITP or does this particular exam need test preparation software?

Finally, are there any MCITP books that are better at preparing you for this exam?  I have heard that the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Bible and the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Unleashed books are excellent sources for study information.  Amazon has a book specifically for the MCITP, called Real World Skill for MCITP Certification and Beyond.  Anyone used it?

This journey is starting to come together, I just need a few more tools. Enjoy!

MCITP: Moving Forward!

Yesterday I attended a Brent Ozar PLF webinar with Kendra Little (blog : twitter). The webinar, Anatomy of the SQL Server Database: Settings and Secrets, was great, as per usual.  What transpired at the end of the training was magical.  As you know, if you have been reading my blog, I have been contemplating moving forward to pursuing my MCITP for SQL Server 2008.  Kendra made an announcement that Brandon Leach (twitter) was forming an MCITP study group of like-minded professionals to get together online and help each other out.   Hey that is exactly what I have been looking for!  My #SQLFamily is really an amazing group of people, and I wish I had discovered them years ago while banging my head against the wall upgrading SQL 6.5 to 7 and then on to 2000.  At the time, I was an accidental DBA.  Those days have long passed, thanks to my MCTS.  MCITP:  Here I Come! 


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