Category: Certification

Certificationdatabase

MCSA: Data Engineering with Azure Certification from Microsoft

There have been many changes to the Microsoft certification program lately. Among these changes have been brand new MCSA and MCSE certifications, including MANY new exams. Among these changes is the recent addition of the MCSA: Big Data Engineering certification.

Update May 27, 2017: Microsoft announced that they’ve renamed the MCSA: Big Data Engineering certification to MCSA: Data Engineering with Azure.

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Big DataCertificationData Sciencemachine learning

MCSA: Machine Learning Certification from Microsoft

It seems there is constant news on the Microsoft certification front. Near the end of 2016, Microsoft shook up the entire MCP program with some amazing changes to how Azure certifications are integrated in the tracks, as well as the ability to renew MCSD and MCSE certifications annually with an elective exam. Now they are continuing to expand with new certification targeting the extremely popular realm of Machine Learning. The all new MCSA: Machine Learning certification is being added as an option to earn!

Update May 27, 2017: Microsoft announced that they’ve renamed the MCSA: Data Science certification to MCSA: Machine Learning.

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CertificationTraining

Renew MCSD & MCSE Annually by Retaking Certification Exams

In the past once you passed a specific Microsoft certification exam you were not allowed to retake that exam again, ever. After all, there wasn’t really any benefit to since you passed the exam and it counted towards earning you a specific certification. Back then the exams did not undergo any major updates or restructuring until they were retired and replace with a brand new exam on the latest technology and product releases. With the recent changes and restructuring of the Microsoft certification program, the exam are now getting updated periodically and you will now be able to retake an exam after such updates have been made.

As of March 17, 2017, the necessary changes have been put into place to allow for exam to be retaken on an annual basis. After a period of 365 days from the date you pass a certification exam, you will now be able to retake that exam again. This will allow for you to retake a particular exam, or at least the most recent update of that exam, to be used as the qualifying elective exam necessary to renew an MCSD or MCSE certification and keep it active for the current year.

Currently, the exams eligible to be retaken are:

This new retake policy is a really great improvement. It was previously assumed that only a new elective needed to be passed every year to keep the MCSD or MCSE certifications current for the given year. If this were required then you would be required to keep learning new technologies and product releases to pass an exam even if they didn’t relate to you job duties. However, by allowing already passed exams to be retaken annually, you will now be able to renew and keep up-to-date by continually brushing up and maintaining the exam skills that pertain to your daily job duties over time.

This change goes along with the other improvements being made to the Microsoft certification that are really making the program much better than it was in the past by keeping the certifications relevant and useful.

Certification

70-464 Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases Certification Exam

The Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases (70-464) certification exam is one of the elective exams that counts towards the MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certifications. This exam centers around objectives that cover the areas of developing Microsoft SQL Server databases.

Certification Target Audience

The focus of the 70-464 Developing Microsoft SQL Server Database certification exam is centered around SQL Server technologies. This exam was first published in 2012, with more recent updates done in 2016, so it doesn’t seem to contain the Azure SQL Database topics that other exams cover.

This exam targets those database professionals who build and implement databases across organizations and who ensure high levels of data availability. The database professionals roles would include creating database files, data types, and tables; planning, creating, and optimizing indexes; ensuring data integrity; implementing views, stored procedures, and functions; and managing transactions and locks.

Skills Measured

Here’s a high level outline of the skill objectives measured on the Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases (70-464) certification exam. The percentages next to each of the exam objectives represents the percentage of exam questions in that particular exam objective area.

  • Implement database objects (30-35%)
    • Create and alter tables
    • Design, implement, and troubleshoot security
    • Design the locking granularity level
    • Implement indexes
    • Implement data types
    • Create and modify constraints
  • Implement programming objects (15-20%)
    • Design and implement stored procedures
    • Design T-SQL table-valued and scalar functions
    • Create, use, and alter user-defined functions (UDFs)
    • Create and alter views
  • Design database objects (25-30%)
    • Design tables
    • Design for concurrency
    • Design indexes
    • Design data integrity
    • Design for implicit and explicit transactions
  • Optimize and troubleshoot queries (25-30%)
    • Optimize and tune queries
    • Troubleshoot and resolve performance problems
    • Optimize indexes
    • Capture and analyze execution plans
    • Collect performance and system information

When studying for this exam, you’ll definitely want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the complete list of objectives covered. You’ll need to study each and every one of the objectives measured on the exam before attempting the exam successfully.

Training Materials

At the time of writing this summary, the 70-464 Developing Microsoft SQL Databases exam has a limited amount of Exam preparation material available. As a result, you may need to focus primarily on Microsoft documentation surrounding the technologies and skills measured on this exam.

However, there is a bit of overlap between this exam and the 70-762 Developing SQL Databases exam. It’s unclear at this time if this new exam is meant to replace this one, but there seems to be overlap either way. As a result, you may be able to use the study materials for 70-762 when studying for the 70-464 exam. You’ll at least want to check it out.

ArchitectureCertificationDevelopmentInfrastructureTraining

My recent Azure Training Courses on Opsgility.com

As you may, or may not, be aware, my day job is working as a Senior Cloud Solution Architect at Opsgility. My job duties are generally the normal duties of a Senior Solution Architect, but I focus entirely on Microsoft Azure. It’s also my job to build out training content (courses, slides, demos, hands-on labs, etc) and as an instructor to deliver that content (on-demand video recordings and instructor led classes online and in-person). The primary goal of Opsgility is to enable businesses and teams in the Cloud.

On-Demand Azure Training

I know I haven’t posted much here on my day job with Opsgility, but I thought I’d share a list of some of the on-demand courses available from Opsgility that I’ve created, recorded, and published to the Opsgility video streaming service recently.

Here’s a list of my recently published Azure training and Microsoft Certification prep courses at Opsgility:

When signing up for an Opsgility.com subscription, you’ll get a free trial initially to try out the service, before billing begins. I recommend you check out the service! I don’t only recommend because I work at Opsgility, but because we have the most up-to-date Azure training, and certification content in the industry. As a testament to our content, many large corporations, including Microsoft, hire us to train their Developers, IT Pros, and Database Engineers in Microsoft Azure.

Instructor-Led Azure Training

Opsgility offers MANY different Instructor led classes online as well as in-person. We train Microsoft as many other large corporations in Microsoft Azure all over the world! Personally, I’ve taught classes in many cities across the United States, as well as classes in Canada and Germany.

Here’s a short list of just a few of the Instructor Led classes that I’ve either built, taught, or both:

  • Azure Fundamentals – This course introduces key concepts for cloud computing and how Microsoft Azure aligns with those scenarios. Students are introduced to several key Azure services and solutions that align with the following technical disciplines including Infrastructure as a Service, Hybrid Cloud, Application Development, and Big Data and Analytics.
  • Designing and Implementing IoT Solutions – This course provides a comprehensive introduction to designing and implement Internet of Things (IoT) solutions on Microsoft Azure. The course covers both directions of message flow from device-to-cloud and cloud-to device, building analytics solutions atop the real-time telemetry, managing devices and securing the solution.
  • Architecting Azure Solutions – Exam 70-534 – This course is designed to help students gain valuable and in-depth architecture skills on Microsoft Azure along with gaining the essential skills to pass Microsoft Exam 70-534. This course will put the students through several interactive architecture sessions where as one or more teams they will design the appropriate solution to address an architecture scenario based on several services in Microsoft Azure.
  • Developing Cloud Solutions with Azure .NET – Exam 70-532 – This course is designed to introduce students to developing cloud based applications using Microsoft Azure and the Azure .NET SDK. This course covers key compute technologies such as virtual machines, cloud services, and App Services, as well as teaches how to build a developer environment and compose new applications using platform-as-a-service (PaaS) components.
  • Developing Cloud Solutions with Azure using Java – Exam 70-532 – This course is designed to introduce students to developing cloud based applications using Microsoft Azure and the Azure Java SDK. This course covers key compute technologies such as virtual machines, service fabric, and App Services, as well as teaches how to build a developer environment and compose new applications using platform-as-a-service (PaaS) components.

I know many of you reading this may already have a Pluralsight subscription, but you should know Opsgility training content on Azure is more up-to-date and is updated more frequently! That’s one of the big differences with Opsgility having expertise on staff, rather than solely relying on contractors like Pluralsight.

Disclaimer: The opinions express in this blog post and throughout my blog are my own. They do not reflect that of my employer, Opsgility. I also don’t mean any offense towards Pluralsight or Pluralsight Authors. Pluralsight has many great courses to learn all sorts of things, it’s just in my strong opinion that the way Opsgility does Azure Training courses is superior. Thanks!

Certificationdatabase

70-762 Developing SQL Databases Certification Exam

Microsoft has been expanding out the certification offerings around Microsoft Azure. The Provisioning SQL Databases (70-765) exam fits right along with this as it measures expertise around SQL Server and Azure SQL Databases. With the ever increasing adoption of the Cloud, the lines between traditional on-premises style systems / applications and cloud applications is being blurred. This exam fits right along with that as it covers Azure SQL Databases and hosting SQL Server within Virtual Machines (VMs).

Certification Target Audience

The focus on the Developing SQL Databases (70-762) certification exam is centered around SQL Server and Azure SQL Database. The exam is designed to target candidates who build and implement databases across organizations and who ensure high levels of data availability. The ideal candidates responsibilities include creating database files, data types, and tables; planning, creating, and optimizing indexes; ensuring data integrity; implementing views, stored procedures, and functions; and managing transactions and locks.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the Developing SQL Databases (70-762) exam. The percentages next to each of the objectives represent the percentage of the exam questions that will be focus on that specific objective.

  • Design and implement database objects (25-30%)
    • Design and implement a relational database schema
    • Design and implement indexes
    • Design and implement views
    • Implement columnstore indexes
  • Implement programmability objects (20-25%)
    • Ensure data integrity with constraints
    • Create stored procedures
    • Create triggers and user-defined functions
  • Manage database concurrency (25-30%)
    • Implement transactions
    • Manage isolation levels
    • Optimize concurrency and locking behavior
    • Implement memory-optimized tables and native stored procedures
  • Optimize database objects and SQL infrastructure (20-25%)
    • Optimize statistics and indexes
    • Analyze and troubleshoot query plans
    • Manage performance for database instances
    • Monitor and trace SQL Server baseline performance metrics

When studying for this exam, you’ll certainly want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the full list of exam objectives covered. You’ll need to study each and every one of the objectives measured on the exam before attempting to take it.

Training Materials

At the time of writing this summary of the 70-762 Developing SQL Databases exam, there is a limited amount of Exam preparation material available. You’ll need to focus mostly on the Microsoft documentation surrounding the technologies and skills measured on this exam for now. However, there an Exam Reference book from Microsoft Press being published soon!

Below is a summary of the exam reference book:

Exam Ref 70-762 Developing SQL Databases

Prepare for Microsoft Exam 70-762, Developing SQL Databases –and help demonstrate your real-world mastery of skills for building and implementing databases across organizations. Designed for database professionals who build and implement databases across organizations and who ensure high levels of data availability, Exam Ref focuses on the critical-thinking and decision-making acumen needed for success at the MCSA level.

Focus on the expertise measured by these objectives:

  • Design and implement database objects
  • Implement programmability objects
  • Manage database concurrency
  • Optimize database objects and SQL infrastructure

This Microsoft Exam Ref:

  • Organizes its coverage by exam objectives
  • Features strategic, what-if scenarios to challenge you
  • Assumes you have working knowledge of Microsoft Windows, Transact-SQL, and relational databases

Happy Studying!

Certificationdatabase

70-768 Developing SQL Data Models Certification Exam

Microsoft has been expanding out the certification offerings around Microsoft Azure. The Developing SQL Data Models (70-768) exam fits right along with this as it measures expertise around SQL Server and Azure SQL Databases. With the ever increasing adoption of the Cloud, the lines between traditional on-premises style systems / applications and cloud applications is being blurred. This exam fits right along with that as it covers topics that apply to both SQL Server and Azure SQL Database.

Certification Target Audience

The focus on the Developing SQL Data Models (70-768) certification exam is centered around SQL Server and Azure SQL Database topics like SSAS, BI, MDX and DAX. The exam is designed to target candidates who are Business Intelligence (BI) developers who are focused on creating BI solutions that require implementing multidimensional data models, implementing and maintaining OLAP cubes, and implementing tabular data models.

Skills Measured

Here is a high level list of the skills and objectives measured on the Provisioning SQL Databases (70-765) exam. The percentages next to each of the objectives represent the percentage of the exam questions that will be focus on that specific objective.

  • Design a multidimensional business intelligence (BI) semantic model (25-30%)
    • Create a multidimensional database by using Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS)
    • Design and implement dimensions in a cube
    • Implement measures and measure groups in a cube
  • Design a tabular BI semantic model (20-25%)
    • Design and publish a tabular data model
    • Configure, manage, and secure a tabular model
    • Develop a tabular model to access data in near real time
  • Develop queries using Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) and Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) (15-20%)
    • Create basic MDX queries
    • Implement custom MDX solutions
    • Create formulas by using the DAX language
  • Configure and maintain SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) (30-35%)
    • Plan and deploy SSAS
    • Monitor and optimize performance
    • Configure and manage processing
    • Create Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and translations

When studying for this exam, you’ll certainly want to look at the official exam page from Microsoft for the full list of exam objectives covered. You’ll need to study each and every one of the objectives measured on the exam before attempting to take it.

Training Materials

At the time of writing this summary of the Developing SQL Data Models (70-768) exam, there is a limited amount of Exam preparation material available. You’ll need to focus mostly on the Microsoft documentation surrounding the technologies and skills measured on this exam for now. However, there an Exam Reference book from Microsoft Press being published soon!

Below is a summary of the exam reference book:

Exam Ref 70-768 Developing SQL Data Models

Direct from Microsoft, this Exam Ref is the official study guide for the new Microsoft 70-768 Developing SQL Data Models certification exam, the second of two exams required for MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development certification.

Authored by Microsoft Data Platform MVP Stacia Varga, Exam Ref 70-768 Developing SQL Data Models offers professional-level preparation that helps candidates maximize their exam performance and sharpen their skills on the job. It focuses on the specific areas of expertise modern database and business intelligence professionals need to succeed with SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services. Coverage includes:

  • Designing multidimensional BI semantic models
  • Designing tabular BI semantic models
  • Developing queries using MDX and DAX
  • Configuring and maintaining SQL Server Analysis Services

Microsoft Exam Ref publications stand apart from third-party study guides because they:

  • Provide guidance from Microsoft, the creator of Microsoft certification exams
  • Target IT professional-level exam candidates with content focused on their needs, not “one-size-fits-all” content
  • Streamline study by organizing material according to the exam’s objective domain (OD), covering one functional group and its objectives in each chapter
  • Feature Thought Experiments to guide candidates through a set of “what if?” scenarios, and prepare them more effectively for Pro-level style exam questions
  • Explore big picture thinking around the planning and design aspects of the IT pro’s job role

Happy Studying!