One of my goals has been to learn Microsoft’s SQL Business Intelligence stack. I’ve been reading different books, blogs and whitepapers to learn as much as I can, but I wasn’t very structured in my approach. While I picked up lots of new information and tips, I felt I was spinning my wheels. And I keep getting sidetracked with work projects and learning the basics of other new technologies.
I’ve been successful in the past with Microsoft certifications. Beginning way back in the SQL 7 days, I took and passed exams to achieve MCP, MCDBA, and MCSD status. I also took and passed SQL 2005 Database Administrator and Database Developer exams a few years back.
I’ve been pretty involved with Reporting Services since it first came out as an add on to SQL 2000. But I’ve only played around briefly with the old DTS and newer Integration Services. And I’ve never even opened an Analysis Services database. So overall I have a long way to go.
So I’ve settled on a method that I believe will help me. I’ve decided to take the 70-448 exam, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance. I feel by studying for this specific exam I’ll get a head start on learning BI. I know I’m not going to learn everything there is about BI with one exam, but it should give me enough background to go ahead and finish up on my own. And setting a goal of passing 70-448 will, hopefully, keep me on track.
Now when I took other exams I also struggled to keep to my studies. It was only when I actually scheduled the exam that I really sat down and concentrated. I’m not going to do that just yet. For the SQL 2005 exams I passed I knew enough that I could get by with using only the Microsoft Press Training Kits. I don’t feel anywhere near that comfortable with 70-448. But I’m still going to set a date. Today is Monday, March 22, 2010. I’m going to give myself just over 6 months to take and pass this exam. I’ll schedule the test on August 22nd, and I will pass the test by October 1st. That will also give me a little leeway if I fail the first time.
I plan on blogging on my progress for 3 reasons. First, if I write about it, it will help me understand the concept better. As someone once said, you don’t understand a concept until you can explain it to your mother. Second, it should keep me on schedule. I don’t want to get to October 1st and admit publically that I didn’t take the test. And third, it will act as a study group for others who also want to take 70-448. The more the merrier.
I’ve only got a few resources so far. I’ll add to this list as I go.
The first is the Microsoft Press 70-448 Training Kit, written by Eric Veerman, Teo Lachev, and Dejan Sarka of Solid Quality Mentors. I’ve always liked the MS Press TK’s. They come with practice exams, as well as a coupon for 15% your test.
The second book I’ll be using is Knight’s 24-Hour Trainer, published by Wrox and written by Brian Knight, Devin Knight, and Mike Davis. I chose this book because it includes a CD that contains videos of the lessons.
There will be more resources listed later, as I progress towards my personal D-Day.