Passed 70-448: SQL 2008 BI Developer

Hurrah! At long last I finally got round to taking 70-448: SQL 2008 BI Developer and passed!

Test Exams

As well as blowing my own trumpet, there is also a point to this post about studying for these exams – and specifically using practice exams. This is a bit controversial – as evidenced by this recent thread in the MSDN SSIS Forums. Some exams are a brain dump – like Test King – and if you just want to learn the questions and answers, then that will serve you well, but your certification will be worthless once people find that you don’t actually know what you are talking about.

I’ve been using Transcender‘s exams to get me through 70-448 (and it’s 2005 predecessor) and found in useful because it helped me understand what kind of questions I’d be facing, but also where I needed to study. So rather than a rote learning exercise, I used them as a springboard to guide where I needed to study.

I’m not going to endorse Transcender particularly – I found myself having to correct far too manyof their questions where either the question was misleading, or the answer was simply wrong. To their credit they did actually respond to the issues I raised and corrected them, but it’s frustrating when you review your answers from a practice run and come to the realisation that the exam itself was wrong.

I’ve also found their customer service unacceptably slow – being a consultant I migrate laptops and o/s a lot and have burnt through my allotted product activations – I’ve had to request a manual activation code. I did this 4 days ago and am still waiting…

Also, the Exam Sucks – a bit

Some of the critiques levelled above at Transcender’s practice exam also apply to the real thing. Some of the questions and answers are vaguely worded or use terms that don’t match the product itself.

However my biggest bugbear is the scope of the exam. There’s quite a few questions on things that bear no relevance to the day to day experience of a BI Developer. I point heavily to the questions on SSRS Configuration files which in practice are rarely touched, or the emphasis on the use of Checkpoints in SSIS which most people avoid due to their poor implementation. But I guess this is true of many exams regardless of subject so is a bit forgivable.

Regardless, I still think certifications have their value – they force you to study areas you are less familiar with. It won’t make you proficient, but it will at least make you aware of capabilities. Experience, however, still trumps a bit of paper :)

6 thoughts on “Passed 70-448: SQL 2008 BI Developer

  1. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that there will be any R2 exams. Given how slow the 2008 exams were in coming out i’d assume we won’t see new ones until 2011.

  2. I don’t really agree with your statement regarding the SSRS config files. The full title of the exam is “TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance”. It’s not just development, it’s also maintenance (which I understand as being the admin part). This is were the BI exams differ from the “SQL Developer”/”SQL Admin” exams. Both parts are covered in the same exam instead of two separate ones, making it more difficult in general.

    Take a closer look at the following page (which I prefer to use as reference to what I should actually study for an exam):

    As you can see, “Configuring, Deploying, and Maintaining SSRS” is one part of the exam.

    Having said that: congrats with your achievement! :-)


  3. Thanks Valentino!

    My issue with SSRS config files is more to do with the obscurity of the subject. It’s a bit like the weighting given to Data Mining. Realistically, these things are very minor and little used components and the weighting in the exam doesn’t reflect the actual skills required to be a competent user and administrator of the MS BI stack.

  4. Okay, I see! That’s indeed a correct statement, but like you said in your post: “I guess this is true of many exams”.

    I guess the point of the exams is to test the participant on all topics/functionality related to the exam’s subject, regardless of how useful the particular topic is in real life… Which indeed means that we need to spend time learning stuff that we’ll probably never use again afterwards. Oh well, at least from that we learn something too: we know what functionality to steer clear of (as if we didn’t already) :-)

    Best regards, Valentino.

  5. Hi BI Monkey & Blog Members,

    I have been working on SQL server 2005/8 for over 2 years (not administration) and very recently started on MSBI. Now I am willing to go for my first SQL Server certification, but not sure should I go for MCTS – Database Development or MCTS – BI developemnt & Maintenance, as on checking the “SQLServer2008CertificationPath” I found there is no MCM certification available for MCTS – BI developemnt & Maintenance. And even if Microsoft plans to launch it in future, what other MCITP certifcatin would be required as pre-requisite to be eligible for MCM certification i.e. MCITP- Database Developer or MCITP – Database Administrator. Kindly guide which MCTS I can go for, considering future requirements and market demand. Please guide.

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