It’s a big day for the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) program, as we announce the new MCM SQL Server 2008 certification path.  Our customers want to be able to earn a SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master certification at a lower price, with more flexibility, and we’ve responded by evolving the SQL Server MCM program without lowering the bar on quality. 

What changes have we made?

  • We’ve removed the three week training requirement, instead making the experience-based exams stand alone in recognizing and validating the world’s top SQL Server talent.  
  • Candidates will now achieve MCM in SQL Server 2008 by passing these two new exams in the following order:
    • Exam 88-970: SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Knowledge Exam (now available)
    • Exam 88-971: SQL Server 2008 Microsoft Certified Master: Lab Exam (available in Q1 2011)
  • These new exams were written with the help of 25 SQL Server industry experts (internal and external to Microsoft) in order to ensure industry validity and integrity and will be available worldwide through a select network of high security Prometric testing centers
  • Although experience is paramount in order to be successful in the exams, flexible readiness options will also be made available. In addition to the recommended reading list and an overview of skills that are being measured, we are also providing several hours of free online video Masters-level instruction presented by top SQL Server experts.  In 2011 we also plan to release four new instructor led courses covering High Availability, Performance, Manageability and Security. These courses will be made available globally through select Microsoft Learning Partners.

It’s our goal to reach the SQL Server experts worldwide who may be qualified to achieve MCM certification, but who’ve run up against the previous barriers of time, cost and location.  By reducing or removing these barriers, while keeping the integrity and value of the certification, we expect to grow the community of SQL Server MCMs and increase its visibility and awareness of its value. We’re very excited about the new program, and look forward to the continued growth of the SQL MCM community.  Look for all the details about the program, the exams, and exam prep materials at http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/master-sql-path.aspx. 

I’ll be blogging about all the details over the next few weeks and if you have questions, please contact me.  If you’re attending SQL PASS, please stop by the MS Learning product booth in the expo hall!