Oh Hey, Data Platform MCSE 2017

On Monday morning I passed 70-473 , “Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solutions.”

When I was done with the test, my first thought was – I expected the exam to be more difficult.

Granted, I only scored a 725, but I had purchased one of the Azure training specials for $99 (exam+retake+practice test) and was taking the exam for the first time – fully planning to be back to retake it a week or 2 later.  I purchased the exam voucher pack back at the beginning of January when I was paranoid the offer would suddenly end, which meant I had until the beginning of April to use both the exam and retake.   The offer is currently slated to expire 6/30/2017.

My technical development focus is on the Microsoft Data Platform certifications – a couple MCSA’s and the pinnacle, MCSE Data Management and Analytics.  The MCSE is earned annually by passing 1 of 6 exams – 2 of which were eligible for the Azure training offer.  I selected the Cloud Data Platform Solutions exam because, quite frankly, I love Azure SQL.

The bulk of my DBA duties and database development is done with on-premise SQL Server, so Azure SQL usually feels like a hobby.  The tools and capabilities of Azure SQL are enterprise grade and more accessible than those of the Express/Standard/Enterprise on-premise editions of SQL Server, but our current implementations just aren’t there yet.

I actually began preparing for the Azure exam 70-473 nearly a year ago, inadvertently, in my participation in Microsoft Virtual Academy and Microsoft OpenEDx courses.  Both training opportunities are free and have courses that cover material that is covered by the exam outline.  About a month ago I realized I was running out of time and buckled down on the exam prep.  I flipped through the parts of the MVA courses that I felt weakest on and found a Channel 9 video on the 70-473 exam prep .  Finally, I opened up the MeasureUp practice test and worked through it several times.  Questions that stumped me or I wasn’t clear on, I read the directly referenced material as well as my own search results.

I didn’t expect to pass the test first time, but I did and that left me feeling that the exam wasn’t extremely difficult.  However, I do have real world experience with Azure SQL under my belt and I’ve been acquainted with it for about a year now, giving it plenty of time to marinate in my skull.  There are some tough questions on the exam, don’t get me wrong.  The poor fellow in the cubicle next to mine at the exam center probably thought I was nuts all the times that I had to remind myself to take deep breaths.

I’m extremely glad I took 70-473.  Not only is the Data Platform MCSE a certification that I’m extremely proud to have earned, but the exam content, Azure SQL, is a topic that I seriously enjoy and look forward to working more with in the future.

Resources for the 70-473 exam: