SQL Server 2012 certification – part 2

sql server 2012 certificationI previously wrote about SQL Server 2012 certification in March and at the time of writing the post, the information on the Microsoft website about the SQL Server certification paths that you could take spoke of “Professional Level Certifications”.

I also wrote that there did not appear to be a comparative MCTS to MCITP achievement path and that in order to be qualified, you had to take five exams. Thankfully Microsoft has changed things since and now there is a similar structure of accreditation which is comparable to the SQL Server 2008 certification path.

There is a little surprise here also. A previously used acronym for a qualification has been re-used but at the same time, renamed into something new.

SQL Server 2012 certification exams and qualifications

The qualifications you can attain are as follows:

  • MCSA – Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate
  • MCSE – Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (previously this stood for Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)

So how does this compare to the SQL Server 2008 path? If you were comparing with SQL Server 2008 qualifications then the two are now aligned in terms of the number of achievements you can attain.

Previously in SQL Server 2008 in order to get your MCITP, you had to first pass an exam and attain the MCTS, followed by another for the MCITP. With SQL Server 2012, you have to become a MCSA before you can attain the MCSE.

I wrote before that there were five exams to take before you can achieve a SQL Server 2012 certification. That is still the case and the split is three exams for the MCSA and two exams for either the “Data Platform” or “Business Intelligence” MCSE.


  • Exam 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Exam 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
  • Exam 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

MCSE – Data Platform

  • Exam 70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases
  • Exam 70-465: Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server 2012

MCSE – Business Intelligence

  • Exam 70-466: Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012
  • Exam 70-467: Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 certification – upgrading from SQL Server 2008

Upgrading from any MCTS to MCSA involves taking 2 exams:

  • Exam 457:  Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 1
  • Exam 458:  Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 2

Upgrading your MCITP to MCSE involves taking 3 exams with the last one differing depending on the MCITP qualification which was previously attained.

Upgrading from Database Administrator or Database Developer in SQL Server 2008

  • Exam 457: Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 1
  • Exam 458: Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 2
  • Exam 459: Transition your MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform

Upgrading from Business Intelligence Developer in SQL Server 2008

  • Exam 457: Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 1
  • Exam 458: Transition your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012 – Part 2
  • Exam 460: Transition your MCITP Business Intelligence Developer 2008 to MCSE: Business Intelligence

I’m really pleased that Microsoft has now clarified this information on their website, you can get more information on it here – SQL Server 2012 certification. It is now clear that you can attain something part way through your exams, albeit because of the new types of qualifications, you have to take three exams for an MCSA instead of previously just one before you attained an MCTS.

Finally, at the very top of the SQL Server 2012 certification ladder is the MCSM (Microsoft Certified Solutions Master) and for more information on that, you can visit this link.

It’s worth noting that SQL Server 2012 qualifications require re-certification every three years.

So there are now more exams and there is more cross over in the SQL Server 2012 certifications.

For a DBA who does not do a lot of development or a SQL developer who does not do a lot of administration, there is a lot to learn and subsequently, if you are not regularly doing what you have learned for your SQL Server 2012 certification because you are production DBA for example, then you will in time be forgetting some of what you have studied.

On the flip side, if you want to get a SQL Server 2012 certification, you have to broaden your skill sets. That may open new opportunities for you in your career as a SQL Server professional.

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About Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a DBA working with SQL Server since version 7.0. He has a wonderful wife and two beautiful children. He loves database technology, playing cricket, and blogging. He is passionate about sharing his experiences as a DBA and learning more to further his understanding and knowledge. You can follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook page or follow me on


  1. Great post. I find choosing what path to take is a bit complicated. I have just completed MCITP Database administrator 2008. I was then going to do the 2008 Dev exams now 70-433/70-451 but not so sure now.


    • Andy Hayes says:

      Hi Ben

      Thanks for your comment and congratulations on achieving your MCITP.

      All the best and good luck with your future studies.


  2. A deep Gratitude Andy . Thank you very much. Microsoft as usual has confused us in their online presentation of exams.

    • Andy Hayes says:

      Hi Kunal

      I’m really pleased you found this post useful.

      Thank you for the comment.

      All the best.


  3. Yohannes says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thank you for the insight, just wondering since I just pass my 70-433 and if without any Microsoft certification I cannot get the MCITP SQL Dev? From what you wrote, it seemed that MCTS is required before any MCITP is can be attained. Microsoft website does not mention any prequisites cert for any MCITP

    Thank you

    • Andy Hayes says:

      Hi Yohannes

      Thanks for your comment.
      By passing your 70-433 you have attained MCTS and you are half way towards your MCITP. Here is a link which has some more information about it to help you. It also shows when the exams and certifications are due to expire.

  4. Hi Andy,

    Thank you for the exam guidance and congrats on your accomplishments. A quick question: Do you recommend Exam 70-433 or Exam 70-464? Exam 70-433 has a Training Kit called Microsoft SQL Server 2008-Database Development; and Exam 70-464 Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Databases, which they don’t have any Training Kit for this exam. Do you know any Training Kit for Exam 70-464, and which exam do you recommend? The reason I am asking is that 433 is getting old and 464 seems to be much more recent but they don’t have any training kit for the 464. Do you think studying the 70-433 training kit would help in taking the 70-464 exam?

    Best Regards,

  5. Dear Andy;
    I am planning on taking a SQL Server development certification. However, I am having hard time choosing between Exam 70-433 or 70-464. I have been studying for exam 70-433 (which has a training kit) but when I saw exam 70-464 (which does not have a training kit), I got confused which one to take. Please correct me if I am wrong but these two exams seem the same to me but with different SQL Server versions: Exam 70-433 for 2008 and 70-464 for 2012. Can you please shade light on this matter: their difference, similarities and recommendation? I really appreciate for your time and suggestion.


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