• Certification: MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration (Microsoft Certified Solutions Accosiate SQL 2016 Database Administration)
  • Certification Provider: Microsoft

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Microsoft certifications validate an individual's expertise in managing Microsoft products and services. IT specialists are provided with various options, ranging according to career paths and level of experience. Intermediate MCSA certificates are among the most popular choices, and those working with databases may consider earning MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration accreditation.

Certification Overview

MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration targets professionals who want to improve their knowledge and skills in installing, configuring, provisioning, and maintaining databases. The individuals capable of administering and maintaining SQL Server databases, however, anyone who develops applications for SQL Server might find this certification beneficial too. The holder of this certification is deemed qualified for working as a database administrator and infrastructure specialist among other positions.

In spite of the fact that this is a middle-level certificate with no official prerequisites, having some experience in working with databases is recommended and will certainly help during the associated tests.

Certification Details

To obtain the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification, the applicant should achieve a passing score in two mandatory exams. These are 70-764 that check one’s skills in administering a SQL Database Infrastructure and 70-765 that emphasizes the candidate’s abilities in provisioning SQL Database.

Each exam contains 40 to 60 questions that need to be completed within 120 minutes and has a passing score of 700 out of 1000. The enrollment fee depends on the country and is about $165.

70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure

The Microsoft 70-764 exam is intended for specialists who are capable of administering and maintaining SQL Server database along with those who professionally develop SQL Server applications. This test will validate the aforementioned skills on an advanced level. The domains covered by the exam are as follows:

  • Configuration of data access and auditing (20-25%)
  • Management of database backup and restore (20-25%)
  • Management and monitoring of SQL Server Instances (35-40%)
  • Management of high availability and disaster recovery (20-25%)

To ace 70-764 test, it is vital to have an understanding of encryption and its levels, types, implementation procedures, and troubleshooting various arising errors. The candidates are also required to have expertise in configuring access and permissions of data. This includes management of object permissions, creation and maintenance of users and custom roles, working with Azure SQL Database, and dynamic data masking. In addition to that, knowledge about auditing SQL Server, managing the audit, and analyzing the audit logs is crucial.

Furthermore, the examinee will need to be able to work with database backups and their development. This involves creating backup strategies, backing up large databases as well as Azure databases, managing transaction logs, setting up automated backup procedures, testing restores, and recovering corrupted databases.

For the next domain, the candidate should know how to control database integrity. The applicant must be proficient in managing and monitoring SQL Server instances, assessing database activity, determining sessions causing blocking activities, and configuring data collector, along with administering the Query Store. One also has to be able to manage indexes, identify and perform index fragmentation along with managing statistics, identifying any problematic events, and performing troubleshoot in such cases. Finally, the examinee's skills in configuring and monitoring log shipping, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, and failover cluster instances will be put on trial.

70-765: Provisioning SQL Database

The Microsoft 70-765 exam is aimed towards aspiring candidates wanting to build a career focusing on the Microsoft SQL Server section. The ideal candidates for it are infrastructure professionals, architects, and developers who are familiar with databases’ migration, Azure apps’ integration, methods of data synchronization, deployment models, and others. The knowledge areas included in the outline are the following:

  • Implementation of the SQL in Azure (40-45%)
  • Management of the databases and instances (30-35%)
  • Management of Storage (30-35%)

To succeed in this test, the applicant will be tested on the concepts of Microsoft Azure SQL databases, their service tiers, and the creation of servers and databases. The candidate should be able to install and deploy SQL servers in an on-premises as well as a virtual environment. Migrating SQL database, tuning performance, and support for availability sets in Azure are included in this exam as well.

Test-takers should be capable of planning storage pools, evaluating the most suitable installation practices, and building storage layouts for the SQL server VMs. They also should also be able to work with SQL instances in IaaS, on-premises, and virtual environments. SQL Server database deployment and automation will be included in this exam, along with deploying SQL Server via templates.

The candidates should have solid understanding of migrating SQL Server database, firewall rules, encryption, data masking, and their elements. Is it necessary for the applicant to also have profound knowledge of transparent data encryption or TDE. The applicant must have skills in the configuration of the database performance, server memory, and the ability to manage SQL server storage, configure the Azure storage, and recover data from failing storage.

Career Opportunities

Earning the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification will help its holder unlock career pathways with a decent annual average salary. A few of the jobs that come with this certificate include the next options:

  • Database Administrator
  • Database Analyst
  • Database Engineer
  • Database Architect
  • Data Migration Specialist

According to the recent survey of PayScale, the average annual salary one can earn in the position of database administrator is about $74k. At the same time, compensation for database analysts and database engineers is $62k and $87k per annum, respectively. Data migration specialists can expect an annual income of up to $65k, while the salary of database architects is $113k per year, on average.

Available Certification Paths

After earning the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration certification, interested candidates can go for the MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certificate. It requires one to ace one exam chosen from a variety of 8 options. As stated on the PayScale website, senior DBAs with expert-level competence can earn about $109k annually on average, and this sum can reach a mark of $138k.

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