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  1. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #1

    Default MCTS 70-432 Difficulty/Frustrations

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm brand new to the boards and am just starting out in the IT field with a career change from electrical engineering.

    I'm aiming to get my MCITP in Database Administration and then pursue BI once I get some years of experience under my belt with SQL.

    Thank you all for the informative posts. They have been a huge help in figuring out this journey.

    So far, I've watched the CBT Nugget series on the 70-432 and found it pretty informative...that was until I starting taking my practice tests from Selftest.com! There seems to be a huge disconnect between the practice tests and what the CBT series teaches.

    For instance, the CBT series focuses a lot on actual practical implemention of mirroring, setting up users/roles/groups, PBM, audits, alerts, etc, but the practice tests from Selftest seem to focus on very specific things like stored procedures and specific counters from the SQL Server profiler.

    While I agree stored procedures and counters are important in the life of the DBA, I'm left scratching my head looking at page upon page of stored procedures and counters and wondering how many of them are relevant for the actual exam.

    So far I've bought 2 books: SQL Server 2008 Administration in Action and SQL Server 2008 Unleashed as they both received excellent reviews.

    From those of you who have successfully passed this test, how similar was the actual exam to the practice tests?

    I've looked up some virtual labs on Technet and there are a few, but they don't seem all-encompassing. Is there another source for doing virtual labs? Any advice on sorting out which SP's and Counters would be the best to focus on would be very helpful.

    Thank you all in advance for your time, and best of luck!
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  3. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #2
    CBT Nuggets are a good general intro to the topic. They are not going to get you passed this exam, though. I am going to be very brutally honest with you. You need to start with the MCITP Server Admin exams before you attampt the full MCITP DBA exams. They are the true foundation on which you will need to build your career on.

    I suggest you take a few courses on the Server Admin exams and then on SQL Server. If you are just starting out a career in IT you are going to need a way to get your foot in the door. SQL Server, the backbone of enterprise applications, the sacred heart of a company's data, is not a place to start. It is a goal to work towards. Get started with the server admin exams and give yourself a good 3 years to transition into a role where you are more of a full time DBA.
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  4. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertKaucher View Post
    CBT Nuggets are a good general intro to the topic. They are not going to get you passed this exam, though. I am going to be very brutally honest with you. You need to start with the MCITP Server Admin exams before you attampt the full MCITP DBA exams. They are the true foundation on which you will need to build your career on.

    I suggest you take a few courses on the Server Admin exams and then on SQL Server. If you are just starting out a career in IT you are going to need a way to get your foot in the door. SQL Server, the backbone of enterprise applications, the sacred heart of a company's data, is not a place to start. It is a goal to work towards. Get started with the server admin exams and give yourself a good 3 years to transition into a role where you are more of a full time DBA.
    Hi Robert,

    I appreciate your directness about my post. I will definitely take your advice and spend some time learning more about Server Administration before pursuing a career as a DBA. Although I have done quite well on the SBA practice exams, it's probably not enough to get me in the door without some sort real-world experience.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
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  5. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #4
    No problem. I don't want you to think I was attempting to discourage you at all. When I started back in 2003 my objective was network/systems administration. But it quickly turned into wanting to be a DBA. It took me a long time to lay the foundation of skills that I really needed to achieve my dream job (5 years). There were false starts and one really bad situation where I said yes to a job from hell. So the occasional setback needs to be factored into your plan.

    Certification is a great way to direct and shape your learning, but be aware that in the DBA arena unless you are a SQL Server MCM no one really cares which certs you have. I’m not saying don’t certify – you, as a career-changer, need to get certified, I’m just saying keep it in perspective. Here is specifically how my journey went:

    IT Support (GeekSquad and Small Business Server Administration on the side) 2003 =>
    IT Consultant installing Enterprise Apps for small businesses (SharePoint/SQL Server) 2007 =>
    Network/System admin with a strong emphasis on SQL Server due to ERP system 2008=>
    “programmer/analyst” while my job title seems odd I am basically a DBA Developer. I am responsible for managing ERP systems and building line of business apps with SQL Server and giving them a front end using SharePoint and Silverlight. I work for a multi-national company with a team of 3 other guys who similar things but the common language we all speak is SQL Server/T-SQL. We do server administration, some network administration, some storage administration and a lot of development with SQL Server and other technologies. My point here is this: don’t buy into the myth of the pure DBA. That job does not exist accept perhaps at a really high level. You need the other stuff as well.
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  6. BOBBY_TABLES RobertKaucher's Avatar
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    #5
    Oh, and to answer your question: SelfTest is closer tot he reality of the exam. The tests are very highly situational and specific knowledge based (not trivia, but what do you do/use when...). Maybe only 10% of the questions could be done on general SQL Server knowledge alone.
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  7. Junior Member Registered Member
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    #6
    Hi Robert,

    This is all really good information. Thanks for everything, and no, it wasn't discouraging to read any of it. I'd much rather get a dose of reality from someone who knows more than I do and has been in the trenches of IT for several years, then go it on my own and throw away months of my life in an attempt to learn the hard way.

    As it stands right now I'm taking your advice. Since I need to gain employment quickly, I'll probably aim for some sort of Advanced-level IT Help Desk work while working on my Enterprise Administration certs.

    Even though I'm not yet certified via 70-432 and 70-450, I'm hoping that the fact I know T-SQL and database principles (the different forms of high availability, backups/restores, security, etc) will at least look good on my resume moving forward.

    I am also hoping that my background in engineering and technical sales will factor in somehow in a positive way. There seem to be quite a few parallels between that type of work, and what the IT field looks for in a candidate (good interpersonal skills, ability to understand complexities, critical thinking, problem solving, independence, etc).

    I guess we'll see how it all comes together.

    Thank you again. Your input has been valuable.
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  8. LCA
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by kenc138 View Post
    Hi Robert,

    I am also hoping that my background in engineering and technical sales will factor in somehow in a positive way. There seem to be quite a few parallels between that type of work, and what the IT field looks for in a candidate (good interpersonal skills, ability to understand complexities, critical thinking, problem solving, independence, etc).
    Your previous background in a technical field will mean you won't get overwhelmed by the high level of detail that is required to master SQL Server. Also I agree with RK 100% that doing one of the two Windows Server 2008 MCITP exams first is afaik a must for anyone getting into SQL Server exams.

    Good luck.

    I'm ready to do the 70-432 exam but it's on hold as all the Prometric test centers are out of action here because of two huge earthquakes that have severely damaged my home city.
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