Late last month Microsoft quietly updated its requirements for the MCDBA certification, adding Windows Server 2003 elements to its core networking and elective exams. By factoring in what's known about the forthcoming version of SQL Server, it's relatively easy to speculate what will happen to the core exams on SQL Server Administration and SQL Server Design.
New elements for MCDBA certification:
- Exam 70-290, Managing and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Environment, and Exam 70-291, Implementing, Managing, and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure, are now part of the core networking systems exams. Candidates need take only one exam in this category; neither of these new introductions is valid as a potential MCDBA elective.
- Exam 70-293, Planning and Maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Network Infrastructure, is now a valid elective for MCDBA. Electives also include most of the 70-3xx exams that primarily target developer credentials such as MCAD and MCSD (Specifically, Exams 70-305, 306, 310, 315, 316, and 320)
Interestingly, in a recently published FAQ about MCDBA and Windows Server 2003 exams Microsoft notes that only SQL Server 2000 Server Pack 3 and newer versions are compatible with Windows Server 2003. This tells me that SQL Server 7.0 is not compatible with Windows Server 2003 exams and even more significantly -- that the SQL Server 7.0 exams are probably marked for extinction, perhaps as early as next June. Because of these compatibility issues, only SQL Server 2000 exams can be combined with Windows Server 2003 exams and still count toward MCDBA certification.
Microsoft also says in the FAQ that the MCDBA track for Yukon (the code name for the next version of SQL Server) is still in development and the company hasn't yet decided what exam requirements will be required,, or even if Windows Server 2003 will be part of the exam requirements.
Given that Windows Server 2003 exams are now part of the MCDBA on Windows 2000 and that current best guesses for Yukon release are some time in the second half of 2004, it's a pretty safe bet that Windows Server 2003 exams will also play a role in the MCDBA for Yukon. My personal guess is that we'll see Yukon-specific replacements for Exams 70-228 and 70-229 (SQL Server administration and design exams, respectively), and perhaps some other Windows Server 2003 and .NET additions to core categories and elective exams not yet affected by Yukon itself. That said, this also strongly suggests that the current MCDBA on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 should remain a viable credential until the end of 2005, upgrades, migrations, and other inevitable delays to platform switches being what they are!
Ed Tittel runs a content development company in Austin, Texas, and is the series editor of the Que Exam Cram 2 and Training Guide series. He's worked on many books on Microsoft, CompTIA, CIW, Sun/Java, and security certifications.