I earned my MCDBA on SQL 2000 and then skipped the certification tests for 2005 and only took one for 2008. Now that I’m thinking about taking some 2012 tests to get my certifications updated, I find myself confused – no matter how many times I check the Microsoft Certification page for SQL Server, I find myself still a bit unclear about how things upgrade from 2008 to 2012, and if it makes sense to squeeze in a few SQL 2008 tests while I still can (they retire on July 31st, 2013).
To help make sense of them, I made a few cheat sheets that I’m hoping will clarify what tests are needed for which certifications (including which ones apply towards multiple certifications, so you get the biggest “bang for your buck”, in a way).
In these charts, the certifications are on the left side and the individual tests are across the top – the boxes marked in the chart correspond to the tests required to earn a particular certification. Also, you can click on each chart to get a slightly larger/clearer version.
You may also notice that some of the certifications are colored – that’s to help make sense of the SQL 2012 upgrade paths. Each of the colored certifications can be used as part of an upgrade to a certification in SQL 2012. In the chart below, the left set of “Exams” along the top are certifications – the boxes are colored the same as the above chart, to help make clear which certifications can be upgraded:
Upgrading certifications from SQL 2008 -> SQL 2012
Using this chart, say you want to earn your “MCSA: SQL 2012” (it’s the first row) and you already have your “MCSA: SQL 2008” (it’s the first column – green from the previous chart). To complete your certification, you’ll need to pass exams 70-457 and 70-458.
Finally, here are the same SQL 2012 certifications, but without the upgrades from SQL 2008 – in this chart, it assumes you’re starting from scratch:
SQL 2012 Certifications:
If you want to earn the same “MCSA: SQL 2012” as before, find it on the left (it’s the first line), and then you can see that it requires passing exams 70-461, 70-462, and 70-463.
Hopefully this helps sort things out a bit and make the upgrade paths a little more clear.
More information about Microsoft Certifications for SQL Server:
SQL Server certification – main page
MCSA: SQL Server (covers both SQL 2008 and 2012)
MCSE: Data Platform (new for SQL 2012)
MCSE: Business Intelligence (new for SQL 2012)