Saturday, December 11, 2010


Changes to Microsoft Certified Master: Microsoft SQL Server 2008

When I first heard about the SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) certification, it immediately struck me as something worth doing. Then I found out how much it cost! Microsoft have recently announced changes to the original program. In order to pursue the SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master certification you still need the pre-requisites MCITP: Database Developer 2008 (Exam 70-450) and MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 (Exam 70-451). If you work with SQL Server, these 2 exams are relatively easy (unlike the rest of the MCM). 

The Original Program:

  • Cost: $18,500 for 3 continuous weeks of onsite training, based in Seattle
  • Three written multiple-choice exams during the training
  • One final six-hour lab

This has some obvious drawbacks: US$18,500 is a considerable sum of money to find in one go (even with the strong Aussie dollar), and that’s in addition to taking 3 continuous weeks away from work. Plus the course only happened in Redmond, so add travelling costs as well. 

The New Program:

  • Certification and training are separate
  • A written multiple-choice knowledge exam (88-970): cost US$500, taken at Prometric testing centres
  • A 6-hour lab exam (88-971): cost US$2,000, taken at selected secure Prometric testing centres

Microsoft will no longer provide training for the SQL MCM. Instead, training will provided by approved third-party vendors. I’ve just visited the Prometric site but cannot find any test centres for the MCM exams in Australia!

If the MCM is something you are interested in, Microsoft (in partnership with SQLskills) has made 40 hours of free introductory training available for the MCM program, which you can download here. These videos give an indication of the breadth of material you need to know for each area (rather than everything you actually need to know). There is also an excellent reading list put together by SQLskills at Microsoft Certified Master - SQL Server Online Training - Links and Study Aids

(Ref.: Brent Ozar’s blog, Paul Randell’s blog)


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