Microsoft Certifications

If you are planning on gaining your Microsoft Certification in Business Intelligence (BI), Microsoft has put together a clear path to help you reach your goals.

To be proficient in Microsoft Business Intelligence technology, you will need to master the following Microsoft technolgies:

  • Microsoft SQL Server (including SSIS, SSAS and SSRS)
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Microsoft Excel (including PowerPivot)
  • MDX

Microsoft offer a number of levels of certification. The first of these is the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). This is the entry level Microsoft BI certification, and is awarded on passing any exam. On passing the MCP, you are given access to the MCP portal – a useful Microsoft site where you can access a wealth of information.

Following on from this you have the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS). This is the intermediate level and will require you taking a slightly harder exam.

The final level is the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). These are the hardest exams and normally require you to have the required prerequisite Microsoft certifications – normally the MCTS in your subject area. Each certification level build upon it’s previous level.

BI Certification – Microsoft

While there are many Microsoft exams which can be taken, this page focuses on the Business Intelligence certification specialisation. For this, you should consider the following Microsoft examinations:

  • 70-431: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – Implementation and Maintenance
  • 70-556: Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, Applications
  • 70-445: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Business Intelligence – Implementation and Maintenance

You may also want to consider taking one of the Microsoft Sharepoint certifications such as:

  • 70-630: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuring

Any one of these exams will give you the MCTS. However, for completeness as a Business Intelligence developer, you should aim to take them all.  Once you have these under you belt, you are ready to focus on the Microsoft Business Intelligence PRO exam. This will lead to the MCITP certification.

The required exam is:

  • 70-446: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005

Microsoft certifications – The exam process

The exams normally consists of a series of questions and multi choice answers and case studies. You may also be presented with simulations, requiring you to perform certain actions in one of the tested applications. The number of questions and time given varies by exam, with the more dificult MCITP exams given longer than the MCTS or MCP exams.

Preparing for these Microsoft certifcations requires time and effort. While there are a great many books and courses available, nothing will beat real hand on experience in the product you wish to master.

If you feel you are ready for these exams, you will need to book an appointment at an authorised Prometric test centre. There are many of these centres throughout the world, so there is bound to be one near you.

On the exam date, you arrive at the test centre and take the exam in a controlled environment. On completing the test, you will be presented with your score within minutes. The pass mark is generally 700, but it is worth checking before you take the exam. Remember that the aim is not to just pass this exam, you need to aim to master this exam. Your target should be 1000, not the 700.

If you pass the exams, you will normally receive a certificate and welcome pack from Microsoft within 4-6 weeks. If you fail the exam, do not worry. You are able to take the exams as many times as you need, after paying the required fee of course. There is normally a five day wait between exam retakes.

Registering and sitting the exams

The Microsoft BI certification exams can be booked via the Microsoft Prometric test website.There are many Prometric test sites throughout the world, so there is bound to be one near you. Once you have found a suitable test centre, you select the test you want to take. A list of available dates and times will be presented. Select your preferred date and time and make the payment. You test is then confirmed via email.

On they day of the test, you will need to arrive early in order to sign in. After completing the sign in process, and once your identity is verified, you are taken to the test room.

Good luck!

Microsoft BI Certifications

Business Intelligence Certifications