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Passed 70-466 and 70-467 Exams + Study Guides

Earlier this month, I passed the following two exams putting me 1 away (70-462) from the MCSE Business Intelligence certification.

70-466 – Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

70-467 – Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Below is an outline of the material I worked through in preparation for these exams.

70-466 – Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

This exam focuses on SSAS/SSRS at a developer level.  For experienced BI developers you’ll want to spend time covering features and functionality in detail, doing quick lab-like activities, re-familiarizing yourself with functionality you don’t use frequently…basically refresh the mind’s eye for developer-tasks.

 

70-467 – Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server 2012

This is an architecture level exam covering the whole stack (DB Engine, Data Warehouse Design/Implementation, SSIS, SSRS, SSAS, MDS/DQS, Sharepoint integration, etc). For experienced Microsoft BI practitioners, this exam is much easier to prepare for…and that’s because you can’t really prepare for it! The material covered in this exam can only be obtained from actual experience and deliberate practice.

For this exam, you’ll need to understand how the various pieces of the Microsoft BI stack fit together in a solution.  And you’ll need to have a deep enough understanding to determine the best solution (from a list of other valid, but less optimal, solutions) for a given task based on information (infrastructure, business requirements, technical requirements, etc) in the case studies.

That said, I did read the following whitepapers and use MSDN to confirm my understanding of a few features:

 

Overall Thoughts

Some may argue that my preparation is a bit overkill…after all, why not simply purchase one of the exam preparation kits, work through the practice tests, and study the areas where you answered incorrectly?  That’s a perfectly valid option and will certainly be a more efficient approach…if getting the certification is your ultimate goal.

On the other hand, if deep knowledge and understanding is the goal, then I’d argue you would be better served with more reading and more deliberate practice.  In the long run, only technical experts (with good personalities) will consistently land the coolest (and highest paying) projects.  Few feelings rival that of the fireman who shows up to put out the client fire…cramming the week before the exam with a preparation kit will not give you this ability.

By the way…no data mining in the 70-466 exam…seriously?  Perhaps Microsoft should consider rebranding the SSAS Maestro into a SSAS MCM track (written + lab) that includes deep data mining expertise.