Specialising in SQL: Part 1

Why I decided to start working towards my MCSA

I recently decided to work towards the Microsoft MCSA Querying SQL Server qualification. Last month, I took the first of three exams - specifically exam 70-461 - meaning I’m now a third of the way to being qualified! After just ten months of coding, I achieved my first certification, which I am extremely pleased with.

The reason I decided to work towards this qualification was mainly because I like to challenge myself and have something to work towards. I had actually sworn off exams after finishing my degree; however, similar to how some might feel about drinking again when waking up with a hangover, I quickly forgot those thoughts after a few months of work. This is when I booked myself in to take the exam in October 2017…

Studying whilst working

Evolution supported me throughout the process; the directors and managers here definitely recognise that helping their IT professionals further their careers can only benefit the business. I was given allocated revision time during my work hours, which was enormously helpful, and used tools such as Avanset, ExamCollection and CBTNuggets to help me study. All the materials I used were funded by Evolution, as well as the exam itself. Overall, as an employer, Evolution couldn’t have been more helpful!

Using SQL at work

My day-to-day work activities here at Evolution rely heavily on SQL and my knowledge of querying our databases, so this exam made a lot of sense to start off in terms of developing my skills and career. Exams two and three (462 & 463) will challenge me even further, as there will be a much larger volume of code that I haven’t had any experience of so far.

The Microsoft website actually states: “This exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers with two or more years of experience, who are seeking to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.” So, to have passed the exam after less than a year of working with SQL, feels like a huge achievement!

Next steps

I feel motivated by my success to challenge myself further. I’ve given myself this month off (or a month of a different sort of challenge – watch this space for my blog about five meetups in five weeks, coming very soon) before I book in my second exam and begin to prepare for that!

Watch this space for Specialising in SQL: Part 2…

 

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