Uwe Ricken Shares His Story: The Path to MCM Certification

Uwe Ricken shared his story of his path to SQL Masters certification on the SQL Server Central forums. I am reposting his story here with his permission. Thanks for sharing your experience, Uwe!

Hi all,

I've just got the information that i have finished the 88-970 successfully with the second try. So - if anyone is interested I want to share my experiences with my MCM roadmap with you 🙂

I'm working with SQL Server since 1998 and most of my experiences with SQL Server is from the dev side.

In October 2008 I've got a call whether I would work in a team in a bank in Frankfurt as a dba. Since this call I'm working as a freelancer for this bank for administrative jobs concerning SQL Server. My experiences with the developments with SQL Server did help me very much to improve the daily work but I had to learn really much about security and high availablity.

I've decided to achieve the MCM SQL Server in September 2009 when a colleague told me that he has passed the MCTS. I searched for the roadmap and saw that MCM would be the cap of the certification.

OK - I wanted to become a MCM.So I started with the exams to become a MCTP for database admnistration and database development

  • The MCTP for SQL 2005 was earned on November 2009
  • The MCTP for SQL Database Administration 2008 in November 2010
  • The MCTP for SQL Database Developer was finished in February 2011

All of the above certifications have been passed with the first try and - from my point of view - were not really sophisticated. I bet that everybody who's dailly business is SQL Server can pass these exams with the first try.

OK - the base for my target was finished. What do I have to do for the preparation? First I downloaded all videos from SQLSkills. Allthough I knew much of the things the authors explained I was really horrified about the wide range of possibilities what SQL Server supports. For me the most interesting videos were the indexing and performance tuning videos from Kimberly Tripp. She's great and I like the way of demonstration.

The second source for my studies was "SQL Server 2008 Internals" from Kalen Delaney. The third source (experiences) is the Microsoft Forum for SQL Server. I tried to answer as much as possible of the questions because ... - it is daily business.
As more you get into the deep of sql internals by investigating the problem analysis of the requestors you get more familiar with SQL Server and detect many new things within SQL 🙂

I've got my first try in Oktober 2011 and registered in Berlin (Germany) for the exam 80-970.Unfortunately in Germany we have only Berlin as certified test center and I had to arrive by train from Frankfurt (app. 3.5 hrs).

First of all I had to identify myself and all private issues (clock, bag, keys) have to be dropped into a locker.Than - after taken finger prints - I have been guided into the test room.

I've got 3,5 hrs for the test and - allthough I thought, I knew much - the questions were really hard.

I failed with 672 pts

I registered again for January 2012 and since yesterday I know I've passed the exam. Now I'm preparing for 88-971. The exam will be taken in April 2012.

I keep you informed when the test has been done.

Best, Uwe Ricken

Comments (1)

  1. Bodhisatya Mookherjee says:

    Congrats Uwe for passing the knowledge exam and best wishes for your lab exam. The article was very helpful in understand the process of preparing for the MCM exam.The biggest challenge in prepearing this exam is to decide "What to study and what not to?"  Thank you and congratulations once again. Hope to see your name in the elite team very soon!!!

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