Microsoft Learning has just announced some major changes to the SQL MCM program. The plan is to make it available to more SQL Professionals that were unable to take 3 weeks away from work, could not make the trip to Redmond, and/or did not have $18,500 for the expense of the course.
Candidates can now achieve SQL Master status by passing two exams; a four hour knowledge exam and a six hour lab exam (There is still the prerequisite certifications of MCITP: Database Administrator SQL Server 2008 and MCITP: Database Developer Sql Server 2008). The exams should be available some time in early 2011 and are shown below with associated expense:
Exam 88-970: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Knowledge Exam $500/per attempt
Exam 88-971: Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Lab Exam $2,000/per attempt
The MCM process was a great experience as it allowed me to meet a great set of people, get training from the best instructors in the SQL realm, provided confidence in my skillset, and has given rise to many new opportunities (jobs, speaking, papers, etc…) Even though there are some changes to the program from when I attended the class these experiences are still available to the future MCMs. Plus by obtaining the certification you will have just obtained Microsoft’s top technical certification for SQL Server and be in the top 1% of SQL professionals worldwide.
There are also many great benefits you get as an MCM; my peersonal favortite is the MCM mailing list which has all of the SQL MCMs, the instructors, and Microsoft internal resources that you can submit questions to when you run into a problem (as well as being able to answer other’s questions and provide assistance).
If nothing else check out the MCM Readiness Videos as they provide insight into the technical expertise you should have before attempting the MCM exams (as well as providing great technical tips and training).
Much appreciation and many thanks should go to Joseph Sack, Program Manager – Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, for all of his hard work and dedication to continue to grow the SQL MCM community and for opening the SQL MCM program up to so many great new candidates.