I passed the 70-432! After two months of preparations I did it! I’d like to let you know a little about my experience with SQL, so you can judge how much of this prep you might need to do. I began in 99 as a web programmer using the LAMP stack. Within a few years I had moved over to ASP classic and MSSQL 7.0. As soon as I touched MSSQL 2000, I started moving away from being a web programmer to being a dedicated SQL developer. By 2005, I had transitioned into a senior SQL Programmer, and I began obsessing over performance issues.
From that time forward I started learning how the DBA role could affect performance. This year I began my first full-time DBA role. In all my previous jobs it was only a sometime thing. Going into my current role most of the topics covered on this exam were secondary concerns.
And now…the method to my madness.
I began my studies with the 70-432 self-paced guide. I wanted to learn the skills that would be covered on the exam. I was able to identify I was weakest in setting up users outside SQL Server. I was unsure when to choose local accounts versus service accounts, whenever a domain account was an option, I chose that…simply because I’d never worked with a SQL Server on Active Directory.
I was also able to identify a few other areas where I wasn’t completely comfortable. I wrote those down on a post-it note. Then I began working through tutorials covering the different skills I felt I was weak. I did this on my local machine. I’d set up backup scenarios, then fail the database and try to recover. I have to say this not only helped on the exam, but has benefited my current company a few times now.
In addition to reading the self-paced guide, and practicing, I would Google blogs on the topics I was practicing. Constantly pulling in new points of view through the blogs was a lot like being in a classroom and hearing the other students’ ideas about the subject at hand.
While testing these scenarios, I would write up blog entries covering the topics I tested. Writing down what you’re studying helps reinforce the memory. Wax on, wax off. That repetition in writing down what you’re studying really does help! And writing it down where others can see it will really push you to get it right. If you go on record with something, you want to make sure you’ve got it right.
- Start with the self-paced guide. Identify your weak areas.
- Practice “real-world” scenarios with those weaknesses.
- Read blog entries from others to get new points of view on those areas.
- Write down what you’re learning to reinforce the memory.
That’s the basic guide. If you have any questions, send them in. I’m here to help!