SQL Server 2012 Certification Path Update

Yesterday morning, I passed the 70-463: Implementing Data Warehouses with Microsoft SQL Server 2012! This completes the second step on my SQL Server 2012 certification path.

What follows is a quick outline of the materials I used while preparing for this exam along with some comments and afterthoughts.

Data Warehouse Design

  • Read The Data Warehouse Toolkit  by Ralph Kimball
    This is the goto primer for anyone wanting to get familiar with data warehousing. It does a fantastic job covering the design process and core topics of data warehousing in terms even a cave man business user can understand.  It’s also vendor-agnostic which I think is a good strategy for presenting core knowledge

  • Spent some time in the KimballGroup forums
    This is a place where anyone can go and ask questions and get responses from industry experts with decades of experience. Time invested here will pay dividends.

Integration Services – SSIS

  • Read Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Integration Services by Wee-Hyong Tok, Rakesh Parida, Matt Masson, Xiaoning Ding, Kaarthik Sivashanmugam
    There were quite a few SSIS 2012 books to choose from, but after comparing the material covered in the books with what was expected to be covered by the exam (via the Microsoft skills measured) and then factoring in my current experience level with SSIS – I went with the one above.  Another book worth mentioning (because I plan on picking up a copy in the future) is SQL Server 2012 Integration Services Design Patterns by Tim Mitchell, Andy Leonard, Matt Masson, Jessica Moss, Michelle Ufford

  • MSDN (Books Online)

Data Quality Services – DQS

  • Read/Watched all the material here

  • Attended the Atlanta BI User Group to see Julie Smith’s (blog | twitter) presentation on Data Quality Services.
    Earlier this year, I had my first taste of DQS while putting together a Proof-of-Concept demo for a client.  The focus was SQL 2012 BI stack, but this client was particularly interested in MDS/DQS solutions.  At the time, I understood the problems associated with having poor data quality, but struggled while trying to envision an end-to-end solution involving DQS.  Julie’s  presentation did a fantastic job of painting the big picture of how DQS would work in an corporate environment.  BTW, she’ll be presenting (what I assume is) a similar (if not identical) session at PASS Summit 2012, Data Quality Services – Finally!, so you’ll be able to catch it if you attend the conference or purchase the recordings.

    Quick Rant: If your company is a Microsoft shop, there’s absolutely no reason NOT to purchase the PASS Summit sessions.  $495 for recordings of all sessions is a steal!  I just don’t understand companies that refuse to provide adequate training materials for their employees due to “costs”…but then they turn around an bring on a team of outside consultants at astronomical hourly rates…“What if we train our people and they leave? What if you DON’T train them and they STAY?” (Source Unknown)

  • Read Data Quality Services Performance Best Practices Guide

  • MSDN (Books Online)

Master Data Services – MDS


In addition to a lot of reading and labs, I find that it also helps to spend time on the help forums. My two favorite at the moment are MSDN and StackOverflow. I prefer the StackOverflow UI because its much easier to put together clean and detailed answers (using pictures, quotes, code formatting, lists, etc) with the preview window.  I also like the way comments have been implemented at StackOverflow because it provides a way for discussing answers w/out derailing the thread.  That said, the MSDN forums have much more material related to the topics covered in this exam (DW/SSIS/DQS/MDS) so spending some time there will probably be more beneficial for this particular exam.

Data Warehouse and SSIS are my bread and butter…it’s where I got started in this field…so even though they combine to make up ~85% of the exam, I spent the majority of my preparation efforts on DQS/MDS. Depending on your strengths, you may want to adjust accordingly.  Good Luck!

2 replies on “SQL Server 2012 Certification Path Update”

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