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What Is a Microsoft SQL Certification?

what is ms certification

Microsoft SQL certification documents your knowledge and proves your proficiency with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or 2008. Learn more about certification options and requirements, as well as salaries for computer professionals. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Is Microsoft SQL Certification Right For Me?

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 2008 are data platforms developed by Microsoft. These platforms are used in business data management by IT professionals. The examination needed to earn certification tests your overall knowledge and skills of the SQL Server platform. You'll be tested on installing, configuring, maintaining, coding and developing systems using SQL. If you work in computer information systems management, gaining Microsoft SQL certification may help you to advance your career, because it is an industry-recognized method of proving proficiency and knowledge of this platform.

Certification also gives you a number of supplemental benefits. Among these are the use of the Microsoft Server logo, a certification plaque, access to the SQL Server community e-mail list, invitations to continuing education programs and a listing in the Microsoft Certified Master directory.

What Are My Certification Options?

Various Microsoft SQL certifications are offered, including three certifications for the 2008 version and two certifications for the 2005 version. All five of these certifications fall under the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) credential. These certifications pertain to the installation, configuration, development and maintenance of database systems using SQL server. You could also earn a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) credential, which covers much of the same areas as the MCTS, though it goes into more advanced aspects of database administration.

Microsoft also offers an advanced certification known as the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), which is designed to prove comprehensive expertise in Microsoft SQL Server. The MCM for SQL Server 2008 is the highest available certification the

company offers.

How Do I Earn the Certification?

Microsoft SQL certification is offered through Microsoft directly. The MCTS certifications are attainable with 1-3 years of experience working with the related servers. MCITP certifications are meant for those who have three years or more under their belts. To earn the MCM credential, it's recommended that you have at least five years of experience working with the software and be strongly proficient in its use. You must hold MCITP status as a prerequisite for earning the MCM credential.

The certification exam tests knowledge and skills through written and practical exams, called the knowledge exam and the lab exam. Some of the topics covered in the exam include recoverability, manageability, security, performance and scalability. You take the knowledge exam first, wait for the results and if you pass, you may then schedule and take the lab exam. The waiting period for test results from both exams may be up to six weeks each.

If you don't pass an exam, you can retake it, but you must wait at least 90 days after failing a test to retake it. There are no limitations on how many times you may retake a certification test, but you must pay a fee each time.

How Much Can I Earn in a Computer and Information Career?

Database administrators, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), made a mean annual salary of $74,290 as of May 2009 ( ). The salary range of the middle 50% of workers was $53,470 to $93,260. Corresponding figures for computer and information system managers were $120,640 for the mean and $89,240-$143,590 for the middle 50% range.

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