All is Quiet on the Cert Front


Too quiet actually.

I know a lot of people are waiting to see what the new cert plan will be for Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0.  I can’t tell you yet because we are working on it now.

The main reason for this post and the title is more related to a SQL Server exam, 70-433.  I know it is no longer in beta which means it’s no longer free but…….

If you know of Database Developers who are thinking of certification, give them a little shove that way if you would please.  We are looking at seeding new content into the exam and our psychometrician is looking for more exam takes to validate the question performance etc.

Besides, I was told by your peers when we split this out seperately, as compared to the SQL 2005 story, that there are thousands and thousands of Database Developers out there who wanted their own exam and didn’t want to take 70-431 because it covered some of that “administrative” stuff.

Well, here it is so let’s see how many of those thousands and thousands want to take it.

BTW, I’ll also be going back to the exam results and ensuring that all your peers who told me this have actually taken the exam too.  🙂

 

Gerry


Comments (41)

  1. Russell McClure says:

    I wonder how much of the "quiet" is due to the fact that many developers don’t live near a testing center anymore thanks to you guys giving Vue the heave ho?

  2. For the record, we didn’t give Vue the heave ho.

    I can’t go into the details of the decision to move to a single provider either, but your comment is incorrect and it needs to be rectified.

    Now, I will concur that if Prometric has not set up a testing center in your area, it would mean you may not take an exam due to difficulties in getting to a testing center.

    Gerry

  3. Russell McClure says:

    Fair enough but from the press releases from both companies it "appeared" as though you guys gave them the heave ho.

    I actually called up the Vue center that I used to test at (I’ve got all the SS 2005 and .NET 2.0 certs) to ask them if they were going to be a Prometric testing center as well.  He said that he had talked to Prometric but it would end up being a money loser for the testing center.  That was a bit of a surprise to me.

    Anywho, I know I heard from someone in Microsoft that after the switch to only Prometric that you guys would be working with Prometric to get more testing centers opened up.  Vue had a ton more testing centers than Prometric.  Well, I can only speak for California, but I haven’t seen a new Prometric site in 2+ years.

    Alright, I’m done griping.  Just thought you should know that there are devs out there wanting to take exams (4 to 6 at my company alone) but Prometric is not meeting the need.

  4. I can believe that the press would cause confusion.  I’m also a pilot and the latest round of aircraft accidents are yet proof again that news agencies report in a manner that makes the news "interesting" with a spin on the truth.   So, I can understand perfectly how you could have gotten that impression.

    Most of my own testing was done through a Vue testing center as well.  Being an employee of Microsoft I obviously have to be impartial in my judgements and comments but I had good experiences with Vue and our own testing center in Redmond was Vue.  They have since switched to Prometric however.

    Now, if you’re telling me that I’m missing out on having devs getting certified because there are a lack of testing centers in your area, I’d like to know the locations so I can have our account manager work with Prometric to see about getting testing centers in those locations.

    Please send the areas to me if you would please.  I have enabled the Contact Me option on this blog so you can forward to me that way.  I will reply to directly so you also have my work email and we can see about getting some centers out your way.

    Gerry

  5. Ariel says:

    Hi Gerry, coming to the current exams (VS2008 and. .NET 3.5), when will the exams 70-568 and 70-569 will be available? Do you know something about that?

  6. Hi Ariel,

    I know all there is to know.  🙂

    The current dates I have for the release of these two exams is March 26, 2009.

    Gerry

  7. Geoff says:

    I am sure I am not alone in being a .Net and SQL developer.  I will do the .Net exams first (five done so far, two to go ADO.NET and WCF) then the SQL exams.  So this could be why there is a delay in SQL 2008 developer takeup.

    As am already an MCITP SQL developer I am considering not doing the SQL 2008 exams, not sure how much added value they will have for me.

  8. Good feedback Geoff, thanks.

    I also agree that if you are not working in SQL 2008 or need to prove 2008 specific skills, then MCITP on SQL 2005 is likely good enough.

    Gerry

  9. I’m waiting for the release of exam 70-566. It’s scheduled for today. Where can i find preperation material and such stuff?

    Thanks,

    Peter

  10. Chris Hance says:

    Much the same. I picked up MCPD: Windows through the betas, and I’ve long held MCDBA. There are several things stopping me from upgrading and/or adding new SQL Certs.

    1) We had major issues upgrading the DB for several current applications to SQL 2005. Sudden port saturation (ADO quirk with multiple server-side cursors), queries needing a rewrite due to stricter standard compliance, and a couple of cases where the query optimizer "rewrote the semantics of the query", which some MS rep says is perfectly OK, since "99% of queries will work fine". Parentheses couldn’t possibly be there for a reason, and this way is faster. It’s wrong, and causes a runtime error, but I’ll admit it would be faster if it didn’t.

    We’re trying SQL 2008, which in my opinion is the Service Pack to 2005 that finally more or less works. But adoption is slow.

    So I haven’t had much experience with the new "features" to be sure I’ll pass an exam, the exams won’t cover the definite bugs, and SQL 2000 certification shows I know Transact-SQL well enough.

    2) The programming world is mostly moving on from data-driven design. I started in Classic ASP. There were times when I sent data to SQL just to have it do string concatenation for me, because it was so much faster than the VBScript interpreter, and I didn’t want to write a COM DLL. So for anything complicated, all business logic went in stored procs. Knowing SQL meant the difference between O(n^6) nested array loops and a near-instantaneous set of joins. Stored procs at least allowed syntax checking and code highlighting in Query Analyzer, instead of embedded strings in code.

    Now nobody wants to hand-write select statements, since NHibernate, Entity Framework, Linq, and other frameworks do all the grunt work for you, with the possibility of lazy-loading as needed. Why waste most of your time writing and debugging brittle queries when the framework can do it for you in a testable fashion?

    SQL stored procs may be useful in some Insert/Update/Delete circumstances, to enforce validation rules that can’t be modeled by built-in constraints. And my plan is to use views, mapped to a new entity, for slow subqueries or aggregates with a having clause. This saves the O(n^m) looping in memory, or multiple lazy-loading round trips. It also allows the DBA to schemabind and index the view if the subquery becomes a performance bottleneck, or to just rewrite the implementation of the view for performance, so long as the data (interface/contract) returns as expected.

    But no more wholesale "stored procs for everything". And the views or custom constraints are on a case-by-case basis. The default is to just use the DAL, and only to use database features when necessary for consistency or performance.

    3) Related to 2, being a DBA is starting to get boring. If you use NHibernate or just manual Domain-Driven Design, you’re going to define classes first. NHibernate will auto-generate the schema, and with DDD, it’s a fairly mechanical process to do manually. The DBA handles optimization (index tuning, perf counters), and schema migration scripts ("We added a non-nullable column in dev, and it works great with no pre-existing rows. Convert all our prod data so it works too.") He or she may not even be consulted in the data modeling phase, which to me is the "fun" part of the job.

  11. Hi Peter,

    The prep guide for 70-566 can be found here,

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-566.aspx

    Gerry

  12. Geoff says:

    Chris I agree with your comments, when problems arise it is useful to have the SQL knowledge but database centric development is definitely declining with ORM taking over.

  13. Wayne Anderson says:

    Hey Gerry!

    I asked a few folks internally about the SQL Admin vs Developer thing and whether that is impacting them going after the 2008 track.

    Most of the responses I got back here at work seemed to indicate that there is a general slowdown in certification investment from regional levels.  

    As a result, my feedback to you is that you may want to consider the macroeconomic situation in your judgement of the uptake of the new track and realize that differences in approach arent neccessarily as heavy a factor as companies scaling back thier training budgets.

    Also, if I may be allowed to comment on the back and forth you were talking about earlier, I would like to express my view that regardless of how we got here, the experience prometric remains abysmal.  There are glaring scheduling issues and availability issues that have not been addressed in 2 years.

    I was talking to an associate in florida just 10 minutes ago and he said something to the effect of "going with Prometric was the single biggest mistake the MCP program has made since its inception".  Given that he has a 4 digit MCP number and lots of experience with CompTIA, Novell, Cisco, and a few other providers as well as Microsoft, I might indicate that its probably fairly accurate feedback.

    I would certainly single this out as my biggest personal challenge right now in completing certifications.

    Forgive my ramble here.

    I believe strongly in the MCP program and tried to help george where I could with feedback and maintain that same relationship with the current generation of folks over there.

    At the same time, the stats speak for themselves:

    2006 – 11 exams

    2007 – 8 exams (5 before mid year)

    2008 – 6 exams

    2009 – I havent done a single one yet but have 4 I want to do based on my recent field work

    In looking at my challenges right now dealing with prometric, here they are:

    1) All of the test centers near me in the denver area have closed down.  In speaking with two of them, they indicated that it simply wasnt profitable to take up the squarefootage for prometric/MSFT testing.

    My nearest test center is now an hour and a half away.  Which means that when i go take a test, work pays me mileage.  And the tolls on the road to get there.

    Which makes my test attempt more expensive.  Which means I only go when im ready to do multiple exams on the same day.

    2) The prometric website was recently AJAX’d but nothing actually changed.  There was no account unification and it still takes 5-7 minutes to register for an exam.

    Further, when you try to get a time slot, the website has a bug.  It treats an entire test center as a single seat.  There may be 20 computers available but you can only get those time slots if you call them up on the phone.  See a slot available?  Register for it and then try and have a friend do a registration.  They will see that your slot and the next X hours worth of slots are now gone, irrespective of how many other test seats there may be.

    So you have to call prometric most of the time to actually get a seat at the centers that are available OR wait 2 weeks for the next available "visible" time slot.

    3) When you actually do call prometric, it takes FOREVER.  You sit through 3 minutes of automated recitals which are all stuff you already know if you have already taken an exam and you have no way to opt out of them.  ONLY THEN are you are placed on hold waiting for someone.

    Then you have to walk through your vitals.  All of your vitals.  Who cares that you already provided your MCP ID, name, and email, or some other combination of identifiers for them to verify you are who you say you are.  I still had to spell and say my street address, city, state, zip, email, and 2 phone numbers.

    Only then could we start the dance of exam numbers, test center selection, and voucher/payment information.

    And then you end the call with another minute of recitals from the tech support rep.

    Gerry – i didnt mean to ramble on about this when i started writing but it was broken 2 years ago.  The same things are still broken now.  

    I hope you guys realize that the community quieting a little bit also indicates some folks just not caring anymore because there is the perception by some in the community that at the same time that the process is getting less efficient, slower, and harder to navigate, the perception of the value the MCP program provides back to the candidate also seems to be going down.

    Im still here and will be continuing to get certified and encouraging the folks I work with to do the same and integrating the value of the MCP program in the columns and blogs I write, but sometimes I feel like I am speaking to a wall for all the response, acknowledgement, and actual change that seems to come back from you guys.

  14. Hi Wayne,

    Perfectly good rant.  Thank you very much for the detail.  I have forwarded this on to internal stakeholders as well so they can get some visibility into how the decisions are impacting our community.

    Gerry

  15. Wayne Anderson says:

    Thanks Gerry for at least acknowledging the points, thats all I can really ask 🙂

    On a more positive note, I recently held a developer study group and the overwhelimg feedback was positive about the .NET 3.5 track compared to the 2.0 track.  A common point was they liked the way that the exams were focused around identified technology platforms from Microsoft and that the MSDN material was really relevant to both real life implementation of the material and to the way the exams tested it.

    There was one bit of feedback for future exams, though and not being a developer I can only echo what I was told (echo without knowing, that is):  There were some questions that gave an application scenario and asked which of the 4 functions would be most appropriate for the situation.  I was told that in the real world they use intellisense or something like that to help them better make those kind of determinations for the app.

    Other than that (and I really cant speak to that one anyway) the feedback was the upgrade paths made sense and they liked that the general .NET concepts exam was kept for the new track even if some of the material "feels" a little dated now.

    Definitely a win for Microsoft!

  16. Thanks again Wayne.

    It’s good to know that some of our changes in the tracks and paths are resonating well with developers.

    We are constantly reflecting on our question performance and feedback and determining how best to reflect as much real-world as possible into the exams.

    Gerry

  17. foson says:

    Chris Hance, I don’t appreciate your abuse of Big-Oh notation.  Interesting to hear the DBA side of the story though.  Thanks.

  18. JackS says:

    The testing center situation has become absolutely horrible compared to what it once was.

    I used to be able to find a testing center that gave tests on Saturdays within 15 miles of where I live, now, I have to drive over 30 miles each way.  

    On top of that, the technical issues at the sites are now horrible.  Two weeks ago, after driving over 60 miles to get there and back and paying for parking, I was unable to actually take the test because the system was down.  I tried again this week, called ahead of time to make sure the system was up, drove the over 60 miles there and back, paid for parking, and when I got there, the system was down again.  I waited there for over two and a half hours while they were talking to assorted people in India trying to get the system back up to no avail.  I am scheduled yet again to try to take the test next week.  Hopefully the third time is the charm and the system is actually up and running.

    All of these hassles are in Houston, the fourth largest city in the US.  It must truly be horrible in smaller cities.

    As is, with the declining value of certification and the horrendous hassle factor of taking them, I will probably stop.  I will maybe start a blog or something to prove that I know the material rather than having to put up with the current testing center mess.

  19. CH says:

    Can you comment on how many Microsoft developers are taking certification tests given that they are free? I’ve heard that the certs are not overly respected inhouse.

  20. Hi CH,

    I don’t have the exact numbers of developers who are employed at Microsoft and are certified.  It requires digging into privacy information etc. to find out who are internal or not and I have no specific reasons to view those numbers.

    Internal MS developers are much the same as external developers in that they hold Bachelor degrees or higher and maybe don’t feel they need a certification however, having said that, we hold internal technical training sessions twice a year and certification is always one of the biggest attended components of this session.

    So, there are a considerable number of internal staff at Microsoft who value certification and are maintaining their certs on a regular basis.  I just don’t have exact numbers.

    Gerry

  21. David Stein says:

    Help!

    I’ve been planning on spending the next several months studying for and completing the MCPD exam series. (My girlfriend is graduating from law school and will be studying for a state bar exam, so I’ll have plenty of Starbucks time to kill from now ’til July. 😉 )

    I know that the exam series is changing, and I don’t want to earn a cert that’s obsolesced a month later! However, I’d like to get started ASAP, so I’m reluctant to wait around for the new exams to be released.

    Any recommendations? Thanks!

    Regards,

    David Stein

  22. Hi David,

    Unfortunately, I can’t help you very much because your post is too vague.  For example, what certification are you seeking?

    Where did you head that the exam series is changing?  What do you mean by that?

    Our exam series, in terms of MCTS and MCPD will remain in place for years to come.  The various certifications available in this program will always change according to technology and product releases.  You need to focus on the technology you intend to use now and in the near future.  Upgrade paths will be available for new technology which helps you keep your certifications current.

    Gerry

  23. David Stein says:

    Gerry:

    Thanks for the prompt reply. I’ll clarify my original post, and will hope that this is suitably specific for a second reply.

    I’m hoping to complete the entire MCPD Enterprise Application Developer series – starting first with the Windows Developer exams (536, 505, and 563), progressing through ASP.NET (562 and 564), making a detour through ADO.NET (561), and wrapping up with the EAD requirements (503 and 565.)

    However, it’s my impression from your recent posts that two changes to the MCPD EAD requirements are imminent: (1) some of the exams will be upgraded from Visual Studio 2008 to Visual Studio 2010, and (2) the foundational exam requirement (536) may be eliminated.

    At this juncture, I have two concerns: (1) these changes may take effect soon after I have earned my MCPD certification, requiring me to dive back into exams immediately thereafter in order to keep my certification current; or (2) the requirements may change *during* my efforts, rendering some completed exams as pointless (no longer needed) or obsolete (requiring a subsequent "upgrade" exam, or even a completely separate exam, to meet the requirement.)

    I fully appreciate that the certification requirements are always evolving, in view of the progression of .Net. However, it seems that this certification is imminent for a significant step forward, and it would be disheartening and inefficient for me to complete the exams today when new exams may be available tomorrow!

    Any advice that you may have about the selection and timing of my preparation and completion of exams would be appreciated.

    Regards,

    David Stein

  24. Hi David,

    Much better on the detail.  🙂

    To answer your question around the changes for VS 2010, yes there will be changes.  I still can’t give specific details but at this point, there may not be an EAD equivalent for the next version.  That is still up in the air at this point and nothing is cast in stone just yet.

    As for 70-536, you are correct in saying that it will not be required moving forward.  It remains in its current form and requirement for existing certifications but no equivalent will be created for VS 2010.

    These changes will take effect for our next version of exams and certifications which won’t be released until later this year or early next year.  No definitive dates yet because the entire plan is again, not locked down.

    Your certifications will not be obsolete regardless of whether you finish them before or after the VS 2010 stuff releases.  As long as the technology exists in the marketplace, your certifications will still have value.  They don’t retire until mainstream support for the product expires from Microsoft.

    If you want to get certified today, then by all means do so on .NET 3.5 and VS 2008.  It seems like a lot of exams and work because you are starting from scratch.  If you decide you want to get certified on VS 2010 and .NET 4.0, your path will be one, maybe two exams at most to upgrade to that portfolio if you are already certified at the MCPD level on VS 2008 and .NET 3.5.

    Hope that helps.

    Gerry

  25. David Stein says:

    Gerry:

    That information helps a great deal!

    If the difference between the VS 2008 certification and the equivalent VS 2010 certification (whether designated EAS or something else) is only a couple of exams, then I’m definitely going to stick with my original game plan. I had been concerned that *every* exam might need some sort of upgrade!

    I’m going to take a leap of faith and interpret "not locked down" as "even if it’s later this year, it won’t be until Q3/Q4." That gives me enough breathing room to take the leap now!

    Thanks again for the assistance!

    Now off to find a good set of prep materials… any recommendations there?

    The preparatory texts from Microsoft Press are still terrible, right? I had some bad experiences with them back in 2005, and the reviews of the latest texts from Amazon consistently trash them.

    I had much better luck with the PrepLogic series of texts from Que, which I found to be thorough and complete. Sadly, it looks like they have shifted to some different formats (audio and "nutshell"-type references) that are not nearly as appealing.

    Any thoughts? Thanks again, Gerry. 🙂

    Regards,

    David Stein

  26. Excellent new David, I’m glad I was helpful.

    With the way our new generation certifications work, when you take the upgrade exams, you automatically earn all of the associated certifications, MCTS and MCPD, that someone would earn if they went through the whole track from beginning to end.  It’s our way of providing you some return on your investment in earlier certifications.

    As for training materials, there are so many out there that the choices are becming harder and harder.  I have used the Microsoft Press Training Kits for the past few years and have found them to be relatively good.  There were a couple that had some issues, such as the first edition of the training kit for exam 70-536.  But those get rectified through errata and supporting web sites.  No book goes out the door in perfect form.

    The MS Press training kits map directly to the exam objectives so they are very focused in what they offer.  Remember however that the certification side of the house does not share our exam questions or ideas with the training side of the house.  That’s not allowed.

    As a result, what you end up with is the book author’s interpretation of the objectives found on the public web site for that exam.  This is where some people have an issue with the training kits.  It’s not that the content is bad, it’s simple that they expect the book to teach them exactly what is on the exam so they can pass it much easier.

    The exams assume real-world experience and so do the training kits.  They should be used as a prepartion tool for the exam, not a tool that helps you pass the exam with no experience or study.

    Best of luck on the exams and have fun with all that study.  You’re undertaking a big commitment to do all these exams.

    If I can help, let me know.

    Gerry

  27. Garth Bacon says:

    Hi Gerry

    Do you know when the cert guides are due out for these two? Many Thanks

    Garth

  28. Jon Bradley says:

    Hi Gerry,

    With regard to the discussion on Microsoft Press Training Kits, there doesn’t seem to be any Training Kit books published for .Net 3.5 like there was for .Net 2.0.  While looking at the Microsoft Press website, I see the last training kit was published in 2007.  I found the Training Kits to be extremely valuable because they were focused, in-depth, and complete.  Do you know if Microsoft plans on releasing training kits for .Net 3.5?  While the MSDN offers all the information you need, I enjoy having a physical book to study that is focused on a particular exam.

    Thanks,

    Jon B

  29. Hi Jon,

    This post, http://blogs.msdn.com/gerryo/archive/2008/08/08/visual-studio-2008-certification-training-kits.aspx lists what training kits we are creating and their tentative release dates.

    This is all that will be created for .NET 3.5.

    I also like the training kits very much for exam preparation due to their focused aspects.  Unfortunately we are constrained by budget and revenue decisions as any other business and some of these are not in the list for these reasons.

    Gerry

  30. Kevin says:

    Hi Gerry, I refer to the following:

    Geoff said:  

    Chris I agree with your comments, when problems arise it is useful to have the SQL

    knowledge but database centric development is definitely declining with ORM taking over.

    # March 12, 2009 7:12 AM

    ———————-

    I am interested in doing the SQL Server exam (70-433),

    having read Geoff’s comment above

    (http://www.telerik.com/products/orm.aspx) , (http://www.orm.net)

    is it still worthwhile considering SQL Server 2008 Developer exam or should I rather do BI (70-448) instead.

  31. Hi Kevin,

    I never tell people they should or shouldn’t take exams.

    What I do recommend is that you look at what you expect to be doing in the next few years.  I also think that what Geoff is referring to, is still a couple of years away in terms of wide adoption.

    ORM is great but not everyone will adopt it now or for the near future.

    Gerry

  32. Chris Hance says:

    foson, notation is meant to be abused. 🙂 Sorry. I’m an IT graduate, aspiring to CS for my Master’s. Perhaps O(n^c) where c is some constant? Or just "exponential time"? And the pain in a live LoB app usually depends more on the number of database roundtrips than nested loops on the client, so precision without context isn’t all that helpful.

    Kevin, first off, there are several Object/Relational Mappers, depending on budget, project stage, and learning curve. NHibernate is open source, very flexible, but has a steeper learning curve than others. It’ll generate the DB from your object model. (ADO.NET) Entity Framework will get better with version 2, and currently reverse engineers entities (objects) from the database, with a visual designer. Neither require additional licensing. Apparently Telerik has a free version too, but I don’t know much about their product. Ok, done with that tangent.

    What I learned before becoming an MCDBA has been of great aid to me. Like Gerry, I wouldn’t advise anyone to avoid learning Transact-SQL. In those one-off situations where the ORM does something stupid, or more than one-off for EF v1 :p, it’s good to be able to write the SQL and say "just use this". And being able to write a view can help performance tremendously, even with an ORM.

    But if you can only do one exam or the other, and are looking toward employability, I’d lean toward BI. If you have a data warehouse for all your reporting, you effectively materialize the view there, so doing it in the OLTP system may not be necessary. I’m still debating between staying in the database realm and going into BI, or going the developer -> architect route. Probably the latter, since I prefer being involved in design, as opposed to being the one to have to cobble together pieces from other people’s broken data models.

    I disagree with Gerry, though. Pre-.NET languages are no longer supported. Maintenance programmers might need to do manual data access, but if you’re in .NET and writing your own data access every time, you’re wasting your employer/client’s time and money. There are some employers who’ll insist on plain ADO.NET, but even the government entity where I work is starting to use ORM and other (free/cheap) tools for any new development. And I’m contemplating exposing COM interfaces to a .NET library using NHibernate for some of our "legacy" projects that are still growing. Sanity is overrated.

  33. JackS says:

    OK, I passed the WPF cert.

    Ughh…. I will probably keep doing the certification exams.

    The testing center situation is bad, but after my third try at that one testing center, after calling ahead and finding out that they were down yet again, they rescheduled me at a center that could actually keep the exams up and running.

    I passed it once I could finally take it.

    I am happy with testing center #2, even though it is a very long drive.

    As far as the exam itself goes, I will have to say, the WPF cert is actually very practical.  That is actually a break from MS certs in the past.  Most of the stuff in that exam is actually stuff that I have used or will use now that I know how to do it.  So…. The exams are much, much better, the testing situation is still a mess, but at least I found a center that could actually get the testing software up and running.

    OK…., so I am still doing the certs.  

    Any guestimate when the 4.0 ones will come out?

  34. Glenn says:

    Gerry,

    I work for a company that is using and intends to stay with SS-2000. As an in-the-trenches developer, and being new to the certification dialogue, can you advise me on the most sensible and releveant cert path? I am aware that many tests for SS-2000 certs have been retired. Getting certified for SS-2005, or even 2008, would be a nice jewel on my resume, but how relevant are they to the platform on which I work today?

    Thanks!

  35. Hi Glen,

    The certifications that exist for 2005 and 2008 come in different flavors.  There are MCTS certifications that validate skills in the "how-to" realm and there are MCITP exams that validate skills in the "when, where, and why" realm.

    Other than the Business Intelligence exams, the database administrator (70-432, 70-431), and the database developer (70-431, 70-433) will still have relevance to the same tasks that you would perform in SQL Server 2000.   Obviously, there will be differences in the products and the exams will cover some content that is not relevant for 2000 but I think it still shows some validity.

    Take a look at the prep guides to understand the tasks that are tested.

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcts/sql/2008/default.mspx

    http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcts/sql/default.mspx

    Gerry

  36. Lygpt says:

    Hi Gerry,

    You mention that "We are looking at seeding new content into the exam" for 70-433 – does this mean that the prep guide on the website http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?ID=70-433&locale=en-us#tab2 is going to be obsolete?

    I’m just about to start studying for this exam, but I’m a little concerned that there is going to be content that I don’t have a chance of knowing because the exam content has changed from the original prep guide.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks

    Lygpt

  37. HI Lygpt,

    The prep guide and exam content will remain the same.  We had new items written for the exam that will be added to it.  The questions will still cover the same content so there won’t be anything new to learn.  Just some extra questions on the same stuff.

    Gerry

  38. Lygpt says:

    OK many thanks for your swift reply as usual.

    Lygpt

  39. ReVeLaTeD says:

    This is a very old blog and I apologize in advance.  But hopefully Gerry will still see this and pass this information along.

    I’m in San Diego.  There is now one reliable Prometric testing center left.  There once (as of about 5 years ago) used to be approximately 5 scattered about San Diego County: One in Carlsbad, one in Escondido, CSU San Marcos, Coleman College, and one in Kearny Mesa.  Of those, there are officially two left: Coleman College and the one in Carlsbad.  There is one in Miramar I haven’t had a chance to evaluate, but here’s my point.

    If I need a Pearson Vue center they are literally all over the place.  Easy to find.  Prometric, not easy to find and I can only speculate that people aren’t as committed to the Microsoft certs as the rest of the cert types and therefore, they’re not getting much money for it.  

    The one in Carlsbad (which is a 30 minute drive @ 75MPH) was a last minute booking for the last exam for my MCSA, on 12/29.  I was trying to get it all done before the end of the year so I could take advantage of the discount offer.  Was all booked, I showed up early…and it’s locked up, dark.  I waited for 30 minutes – nobody showed.  Called Prometric, after arguing with the chick and having her call to verify nobody was there, I got my refund issued.  One guy came back afterwards, I asked him about the test and he said "oh.  Well, we don’t have anyone who knows how to download the exam".  Ironically, this is the same thing that happened to the one that used to be in Kearny Mesa – I show up ready for an exam and they don’t know what to do.

    What’s sad about this is that the Carlsbad place was MUCH nicer and more professional looking than Coleman is, yet Coleman seems to be the only center left in San Diego that has their act together with regards to Prometric testing.

    I don’t know what initiated the unholy alliance between Microsoft and Prometric.  All I’m saying is, Microsoft is making it extremely difficult to take advantage of their certifications by this partnership.  At the very least you should (A) force a minimum number (5) of test sites per major metro, or (B) allow test takers to use Pearson VUE if there are no sites close enough to make it worth while.

  40. ReVeLaTeD,

    Thanks for the comments.

    You are not the only one who has experienced issues of this kind.  For what it’s worth, I do apologize.

    I am providing your feedback to those who were directly involved in the decision to shift to a single exam delivery provider.  I cannot guarantee results nor that a response will be forthcoming, just the knowledge that your comments and frustrations are making it to the appropriate people.

    Gerry