Posts Tagged ‘SQL Server Certification’

Preparing for Exam 70-761, Querying Data with Transact-SQL | Certification

May 29, 2017 7 comments

This exam (70-761) will earn you MCP in SQL Server 2016 Querying Data with Transact-SQL. It is 1 out of the 2 exams to earn the “MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development” certification.

I will discuss about the other “Exam 70-762, Developing SQL Databases” in my next post.

Training Kit Book:

For exam preparation you can use: Exam Ref 70-761 Querying Data with Transact-SQL

So, let’s go and understand this exam, links to study material and how to prepare for this.

–> This exam is targeted for students or professionals who want to learn about Transact-SQL or simply T-SQL, which includes:
1. Know about SQL Server and its components
2. Write single/multi table SELECT statements, with SET and Predicate logic
3. Apply Filtering, Sorting, JOIN, etc with SQL Queries
4. Write DDL, DML SQL Statements to Store and Retrieve data to & from Tables
5. Create Views, Stored Procedures, Functions, etc
6. Use inbuilt Functions and Transform data
7. Work with SQL Datatypes, Variables, Conditions, Loops and T-SQL code/scripts

The exam is divided into multiple modules:

1. Introduction to Microsoft SQL Server 2016
    – The Basic Architecture of SQL Server [Architecture]
    – SQL Server on-premise and cloud-based Editions and Versions [Editions]
    – Getting Started with SSMS [SSMS]

2. Introduction to T-SQL Querying
    – Introducing T-SQL with basic SELECT Statements [SELECT]
    – Understanding Sets and SET based Queries in relational DBs
    – Understanding Predicate Logic to Filter Data [WHERE clause, PREDICATES]
    – Understanding the Logical Order of Operations in SELECT statements [Logical Order]

3. Writing SELECT Queries
    – Writing Simple SELECT Statements, its structure and format [SELECT Queries]
    – Eliminating Duplicates with DISTINCT clause [DISTINCT]
    – Using Column and Table Aliases
    – Writing Simple CASE Expressions [CASE]

4. Querying Multiple Tables
    – Understanding Joins
    – Querying with Inner Joins, Outer Joins, Cross Joins and Self Joins

5. Sorting and Filtering Data
    – Sorting Data with ORDER BY clause
    – Filtering Data with WHERE clause Predicates
    – Filtering Data with TOP and OFFSET-FETCH
    – Working with Unknown/Missing Values or three-valued logic (NULL)

6. Working with SQL Server 2016 Data Types
    – Introducing SQL Server 2016 Data Types
    – Working with Character Data
    – Working with Date and Time Data
    – Working with data types conversion

7. Using DML to Modify Data
    – Inserting Data with INSERT and SELECT INTO statements
    – Modifying and Deleting Data with UPDATE, MERGE, DELETE, and TRUNCATE statements

8. Using Built-In Functions
    – Writing Queries with Built-In Functions
    – Using Conversion Functions (CAST & CONVERT)
    – Using Logical Functions
    – Using Functions to Work with NULL

9. Grouping and Aggregating Data
    – Using built-in Aggregate Functions
    – Using the GROUP BY Clause
    – Filtering Groups with HAVING

10. Using Subqueries
    – Writing Self-Contained Subqueries
    – Writing Correlated Subqueries
    – Using the EXISTS Predicate with Subqueries

11. Using Table Expressions
    – Using Views
    – Using Inline Table-Valued Functions (TVFs)
    – Using Derived Tables
    – Using Common Table Expressions (CTEs) [CTE]

12. Using Set Operators
    – Writing Queries with the UNION operator (and UNION ALL)
    – Using EXCEPT and INTERSECT operators
    – Using APPLY operators (CROSS APPLY and OUTER APPLY)

13. Using Windows Ranking, Offset, and Aggregate Functions
    – Creating Windows with OVER clause with partitioning, ordering, and framing
    – Exploring Window Aggregate and Ranking Functions

14. Pivoting and Grouping Sets
    – Writing Queries with [PIVOT and UNPIVOT]
    – Working with Grouping Sets, CUBE and ROLLUP Subclauses
    – Using the GROUPING_ID function

15. Executing Stored Procedures
    – Querying Data with Stored Procedures
    – Creating Simple Stored Procedures
    – Passing Parameters to Stored procedures
    – Stored Procedures with output parameters
    – Working with Dynamic SQL

16. Programming with T-SQL
    – T-SQL Programming Elements (Variables, Batches, )
    – Using variables in a Dynamic SQL Statement
    – Controlling Program Flow (IF-ELSE condition, WHILE loop)
    – Working with Synonyms

17. Implementing Error Handling
    – Implementing T-SQL error handling with TRY/CATCH block
    – Implementing structured exception handling with THROW keyword

18. Implementing Transactions
    – Transactions and the database engines
    – Differences between batches and transactions
    – Controlling transactions with BEGIN, COMMIT, and ROLLBACK
    – Error handling with the CATCH block
    – Use of SET XACT_ABORT while handling Transactions

Microsoft official link to this exam:

Book available as a Training Kit on Amazon, buy it.

SQL Server 2016 articles on my blog:


SQL Server 2016 Certification Path

May 21, 2017 21 comments

Microsoft has made few changes to its Certification path for the new version of SQL Server i.e. SQL Server 2016.

And with this post I’m trying to collate and put all exams and certifications in concise and clear manner. Would be happy to accept any comments, changes and suggestions !!!

–> The MCSA i.e. “Microsoft Certified Solution Associate” level now contains the new “MCSA: SQL Server 2016” certification, and this replaces the older “MCSA: SQL Server 2012/14” one.

–> And the top MCSE i.e. “Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert” level now contains the new “MCSE: Data Management and Analytics” certification. This also replaces the following 2 existing certifications (but retains the underlying exams to earn this MCSE level, which I’ve explained below):
– MCSE: Data Platform
– MCSE: Business Intelligence


–> Here are the details of exams at both the levels.

Level 1. “MCSA: SQL Server 2016”: Now to earn this level you need to give either of the following certifications:

   1. MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development certification
       – Exam [70-761], Querying Data with Transact-SQL [check details here]
       – Exam [70-762], Developing SQL Databases

   2. MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification
       – Exam [70-764], Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure
       – Exam [70-765], Provisioning SQL Databases

   3. MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development certification
       – Exam [70-767], Implementing an SQL Data Warehouse
       – Exam [70-768], Developing SQL Data Models


Level 2. “MCSE: Data Management and Analytics”: Now to earn this level you need to first get an MCSA on either of the above 3 certifications, or “MCSA: Data Science”. Then need to pass anyone of the below exam:

   – Exam [70-473], Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions
   – Exam [70-475], Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions
   – Exam [70-464], Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases
   – Exam [70-465], Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server
   – Exam [70-466], Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server
   – Exam [70-467], Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server

Which SQL Server Certification should I take: 98-364, 70-461 or 70-761 ? – MSDN TSQL forum

February 18, 2017 3 comments

–> Question:

I just started learning SQL Server, and I want to get certified, I checked internet, but I got confused.

There is exam 98-364, 70-461, 70-761, and i want to get MCSA in SQL

could some one explain to me what should i do …

–> My Answer:

>> MCSA or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate in SQL Server can be earned on following areas with respective exams:

– Database Development (761, 762)
– Database Administration (764, 765)
– Business Intelligence (767, 768)

>> Exam 98-364 is to get Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification. It is the most basic exam that focuses just on basic SQL, and is for people new to technology, who need to validate their knowledge of fundamental concepts before moving on to more advanced certifications. This exam covers:

1. RDBMS, DBMS concepts and terms, like Normanization, PK, FK, etc.
2. Plain SQL querying knowledge, like DDL, DML, etc. and indexes.
3. Simple DBA stuff, like security, backup/restore, etc.


>> Exam 70-761 is also an advanced exam which is based upon SQL Server 2016, which is the latest version of SQL Server as of today. To earn MCSA you have to take 70-762 exam as well as mentioned above, check this link for MCSA SQL Server 2016:

>> Exam 70-461 is also an advance level exam but now older based upon SQL Server 2012 or 2014. Check this link for MCSA SQL Server 2012/2014:

Please note: Exam 98-364 is not required here, and as mentioned above its just to make sure you have knowledge in working with basic SQL Querying.

Ref link.

Exam 70-461, SQL 2014 update – Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2014

December 1, 2015 7 comments

In one of my previous post I talked about [Exam 70-461 for SQL Server 2012], and I really got good and big response, with ~250 comments. As SQL Server 2014 got released most of the folks asked me about the certification update.

So here in this post I’ll talk about the same exam 70-461 which is now updated for SQL Server 2014, and Microsoft has not changed the exam code for this version of SQL Server.

This updated certification exam is still based on SQL Server 2012 with new features of SQL Server 2014. Previously with SQL 2012 the exam was divided into 4 modules, please check my previous post, link above. Here with SQL 2014 update the exam is reshaped into 20 modules listed below:

1. Introduction to Microsoft SQL Server 2014
– SQL Server architecture | MSDN
– Editions | MSDN
– SQL Server Management Studio | MSDN

2. Introduction to T-SQL Querying
– T-SQL intro | MSDN
– Set based queries
– Predicate Logic | MSDN
– SELECT statement Logical Ordering | MSDN

3. Writing SELECT Queries
– Simple SELECT queries | MSDN
– Find & eliminate duplicates, and DISTINCT keyword
– Working with Columns
– CASE expressions | MSDN

4. Querying Multiple Tables

5. Sorting and Filtering Data
– Sorting data with ORDER BY clause | MSDN
– Filtering data with WHERE clause MSDN
– Filtering data with TOP keyword | MSDN
– Using TOP-OFFSET clause | MSDN | TechNet
– Working with NULL/unknown values

6. Working with SQL Server 2014 Data Types
– New SQL 2014 datatypes (Character, Date, Time) | MSDN
– Write Queries using different Datatypes | MSDN

7. Using DML to Modify Data
– Inserting Data | MSDN
– Modifying Data | MSDN
– Deleting Data | MSDN

8. Using Built-In Functions
– SQL 2014 new functions (Conversion, Logical)

9. Grouping and Aggregating Data
– Using Aggregate functions | MSDN
– Using GROUP BY clause | MSDN
– Using HAVING clause | MSDN

10. Using Sub-Queries
– Self-Contained Subqueries | TechNet
– Correlated Subqueries | TechNet
– Using EXISTS() predicate with Subqueries | TechNet

11. Using Table Expressions
– Using Views | MSDN
– Using Inline Table Values functions | MSDN | TechNet
– Using Derived Tables
– Using CTEs (Common Table Expressions) | MSDN | TechNet

12. Using Set Operators
– The UNION, UNION ALL Operator | MSDN
– Using APPLY (CROSS & OUTER) | TechNet

13. Using Window Ranking, Offset, and Aggregate Functions
– Window functions with OVER() clause | MSDN
– More Window functions (ROW_NUMBER, RANK, DENSE_RANK, NTILE) | MSDN

14. Pivoting and Grouping Sets
– Writing queries with PIVOT and UNPIVOT | MSDN | TechNet
– Using Grouping Sets | MSDN | TechNet

15. Querying data with Stored Procedures
– Creating Stored Procedures (SP) | MSDN
– Using Parameters with SPs | MSDN
– Working with Dynamic SQL | MSDN
   – sp_ExecuteSQL | MSDN

16. Programming with T-SQL
– Working with Variables, Batches | MSDN | TechNet
– Using IF conditions | MSDN
– WHILE loops | MSDN

17. Implementing Error Handling
– Using TRY/CATCH block | MSDN
– Working with Error Handling | MSDN
– Returning error information
– Raising user-defined errors and passing system errors | MSDN

18. Implementing Transactions
– Using Transactions | MSDN
– Use of “SET XACT_ABORT” with Transactions | MSDN | MSDN-2
– Effects of Isolation Levels on Transactions | MSDN

19. Improving Query Performance
– Factors affecting Query Performance | MSDN
– Checking Execution plan
– Optimize SQL queries, Query tuning | MSDN
– Optimize SQL Indexes, Index tuning | MSDN

20. Querying SQL Server Metadata
– Querying System Catalog Views | MSDN
– Querying System Catalog Functions | MSDN
– Using System Stored Procedures | MSDN
– Using Dynamic Management Objects (DMVs, DMFs) | MSDN

–> Check SQL Server 2014 videos here:

I’ll be updating the above post going forward and as I post something related to SQL Server 2012 & 2014.

Please provide your comments if you want me to talk about any of the above items, thanks !

Preparing for 70-462 Exam : Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases | Certification

May 1, 2015 10 comments

I’m from a Database development background and working mostly with T-SQL code only. I passed Exam 70-461 back in Nov-2012, and now I’m planing to give 70-462 Exam i.e. Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases.

This exam is intended for Database Administrators who perform:
– Installation
– Maintenance
– Configuration tasks
– and other responsibilities like:
– – setting up Database systems
– – making sure those systems operate efficiently
– – regularly storing, backing up, and securing data from unauthorized access

Thus being a Database Developer (primarily) this exam is going to be the most toughest and trickiest exam in this series as I don’t have DBA experience and haven’t worked on anything in Database Administration yet.

For preparation Iā€™m referring to Training Kit (Exam 70-462) Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases book.

ā€“> The Exam is divided into 6 modules:
1. Install and Configure
2. Maintain Instances and Databases
3. Optimize and Troubleshoot
4. Manage Data
5. Implement Security
6. Implement High Availability

You need to brush up on following Skills in the these Modules:
-:Check links with the below items for more information:-

1. Install and Configure | 19%
– Plan installation
– Install SQL Server and related services
– Implement a migration strategy
– Configure additional SQL Server components
– Manage SQL Server Agent
– PREP Links: Understanding surface area configuration | Hardware and software requirements for installing SQL Server 2012 | Quick-start installation of SQL Server 2012

2. Maintain Instances and Databases | 17%
– Manage and configure databases
– Configure SQL Server instances
– Implement a SQL Server clustered instance
– Manage SQL Server instances
– PREP Links: ALTER DATABASE file and filegroup options (Transact-SQL) | Contained databases | Data compression

3. Optimize and Troubleshoot | 14%
– Identify and resolve concurrency problems
– Collect and analyze troubleshooting data
– Audit SQL Server instances
– PREP Links: blocked process threshold server configuration option | Configure login auditing (SSMS) | Data collection

4. Manage Data | 19%
– Configure and maintain a back-up strategy
– Restore databases
– Implement and maintain indexes
– Import and export data
– PREP Links: Back up and restore of SQL Server databases | File restores (full recovery mode) | DBCC INDEXDEFRAG (Transact-SQL)

5. Implement Security | 18%
– Manage logins and server roles
– Manage database permissions
– Manage users and database roles
– Troubleshoot security
– PREP Links: Server-level roles | Permissions (database engine) | Database-level roles

6. Implement High Availability | 12%
– Implement AlwaysOn
– Implement Database Mirroring
– HADR (High Availability and Disaster Recovery)
– PREP Links: AlwaysOn Availability Groups (SQL Server) | Microsoft SQL Server AlwaysOn solutions guide for HADR | AlwaysOn architecture guide: Building a HADR solution by using AlwaysOn Availability Groups

-ā€“> You can visit following Study materials to prepare for this Exam:

Microsoft Link for this Certification:

Book on Training Kit (Exam 70-462) Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases

Will try to update this blog post or will put up a new post with my learning while preparing for this exam.

All The Best!!!