Top 10 Microsoft SQL Certifications In 2023

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Everything we once owned is getting smaller and of course smarter. It is hard to remember what it was like living without devices and machines yet technology is only a recent phenomenon. The advancement of ‘tech’ has developed so much over the past decade that you don’t have to own a car let alone drive it. You could order a car on an app on your phone and also be driven by an AI machine without your contribution.

Part of what has contributed to the success of the advancement of Information Technology is data. Several tools have been developed over the years to aid in utilizing data as a resource and SQL Server is one of those.

For you to be able to understand and maximize the Microsoft SQL Server fully, you need a Microsoft Server SQL certification.

What Are Microsoft SQL Server Certifications?

Microsoft SQL certifications are professional credentials that validate your skills and ability to use SQL Server.

SQL Server is a popular Microsoft-owned relational database management system that stores and retrieves data as requested by other software applications across a network of computers.

SQL Server certification is divided into three levels;

  • Entry Level: Database
  • Associate Level: SQL-related Credentials at the MCSA
  • Associate Level: SQL-related Credentials, Data Management, and Analytics

To be awarded a Microsoft SQL certificate, you must pass exams at a given level to test your skills. The Microsoft SQL Server certification cost depends on a range of factors and each level is certified separately as we shall be looking at that later on in detail.

Are SQL Server Certifications Worth It?

While an SQL Server certification isn’t a job requirement for roles that require SQL knowledge, many employers often prioritize an SQL Server-certified applicant.

SQL Server experience is equally relevant in order to be successful in getting hired; however several SQL Server-certified individuals take a training course prior to earning a certificate guaranteeing them as much skill as is required.

Why get a Microsoft SQL Server certification?

An SQL Server certificate is an added advantage for you as it differentiates you from other job applicants with very similar experiences. It validates your skills and abilities to develop and maintain multiple databases and information solutions.

An SQL Server certification is most important when you are either new in the field or new in a particular niche of the field. This is because it gives you official validation to present that says that you are competent.

A Microsoft SQL Server certification also helps in career growth if you take an advanced level course to learn the practical skillset required for a higher position.

The level of SQL certification is a determinant of what roles you are able to perform, and as such an applicant with an advanced level certificate is at an advantage in comparison to other applicants without.

What SQL Certification Is Best?

Ask yourself what certification you should pursue. Here are the levels of SQL Server certification that you can match your skills to;

1. Entry Level

This first level of SQL Server certification is the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) credential that can be used to validate your entry-level skills in Database, Developer, and IT infrastructure.

It can be used to verify your skills as a web developer in website design such as graphics and image layout.

The developer credential could help you get an entry-level web developer job involved in the development of websites and mobile applications.

2. Associate Level

The Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) is the second level of SQL certification which can be used to demonstrate skills in Database Development, Database Administration, or Business Intelligence Development.

The Database Administration option demonstrates your skills in the installation, maintenance, configuration, and troubleshooting of databases.

As a database administrator, you are able to optimize the performance of company databases and protect them against any security threats.

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This certification is the highest level of SQL certification. It is the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) credential within which you can demonstrate your expertise in Database Management and Analytics, Data Platforms, and Business Intelligence.

But, it is important to note that the latter two designations were retired on March 31, 2017.

The certification can help you get a job as a computer or information systems manager where you analyze an organization’s computer needs, plan an improvement strategy, and direct lower-level IT professionals to implement it.

How Do I Get Microsoft SQL Server Certified?

To earn an SQL Server certification, you must take a required course and pass the certification exam. Requirements, prices, and duration of SQL certification courses vary depending on the organization and level of certification.

The first certification you ought to pursue is MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014. As it is a prerequisite for some other practical certifications, it is a good place to start.

Guide On How To Get Microsoft SQL Server Certifications Online

Looking to earn a Microsoft SQL certificate to boost your resume and learn practical skills, here is a step-by-step guideline on how to;

  1. Enroll in an accredited learning institution that offers Microsoft SQL Server certification, and matches your preferences, needs, and financial capacity. Although, some institutions offer a free certification for certain courses.
  2. Register for the Microsoft SQL Server certification course you intend to pursue after carefully considering the requirements and level of certifications.
  3. Complete the training course modules to a satisfactory level.
  4. After passing the SQL certification exam, you will be awarded the Microsoft SQL certificate which is shareable.

Will Learning SQL Get Me A Job?

SQL certifications can prepare you for several databases professional roles such as database administrator, database engineer, SQL developer, and data analyst. These are enabled by taking SQL courses to acquire the required skill set at all levels.

How Can I Get Microsoft SQL Server Certifications For Free?

As much as several institutions charge a fee for the training and certification, you can still be able to earn certain certifications for close to nothing.

Below are 4 Microsoft SQL Server certifications you can earn for free;

#1. Microsoft SQL Training for Beginners on Udemy

Learn how to use the SQL language using one of the most popular database engines in the world with this program focused on basic SQL skills.

#2. Microsoft SQL Server Free Training on LinkedIn Learning

This program will teach you to create databases, define relationships, write queries, use stored procedures, and much more with this training.

#3. Microsoft SQL Server Training Official from Microsoft

Divided into appropriate levels, these sets of programs help you to decide on the perfect SQL training.

#4. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Certification Training Exam 70 – 461 on Udemy

This course will teach you everything that you need to know to pass the Microsoft SQL Server exam.

How Long Does It Take To Get Microsoft SQL Server Certifications?

Depending on the choice of learning, you can become MCSA certified in a week’s time or much longer. Your level of skills and commitment is a major determinant of how long it will take you to be SQL Server certified as well as the learning method you choose.

What Certifications Can I Get For SQL?

There are several institutions that offer Microsoft SQL Server certification as of today. To make your search easier, we have rounded up the top 10 Microsoft SQL Server certifications;

#1.  MySQL for Data Analytics and Business Intelligence – Udemy

Through this Udemy course, you can become an SQL expert for data and business analytics. The course covers MySQL in-depth and starts from basics then moves to advanced SQL topics. It also has a lot of exercises to perfect your knowledge.

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Summary

  • Level: Beginner to advanced
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Price: $9.40
  • Prerequisites: None

The syllabus entails; Introduction to databases, SQL, MySQL, SQL theory, Basic terminologies, Installing MySQL, First steps in SQL, MySQL constraints, SQL Best practices, Advanced SQL Topics, and Combining SQL and Tableau.

#2. Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA): Database Fundamentals SQL Certification

The MTA: Database Fundamentals is the go-to option for anyone looking for a beginner SQL Server certification. It is the best place to begin for candidates with little to no database experience.

You need not have prior job experience for earning the Microsoft Technology Associate: Database Fundamentals certification. However, having basic IT knowledge is a must-have.

Summary

  • Level: Entry level
  • Duration: Self paced
  • Price: $60
  • Prerequisites: Basic IT knowledge

The syllabus is a 6 module course; Understanding Core Database Concepts, Creating Database Objects, Manipulating Data, Understanding Data Storage, and Administering a Database.

#3. The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp

The Ultimate MySQL Bootcamp course helps you to learn SQL. It introduces you to a solid foundation in databases in an informative and engaging way.

This best online SQL course is full of exercises, challenges, projects, and opportunities to practice what you are learning.

You can apply what you are learning to real-world challenges like finding a website’s power users, calculating your top students, identifying bots on a site. This SQL course is ideal for the learner who wants to find the answer to complex business queries.

Summary

  • Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Expert
  • Duration: 20 hours of on-demand video
  • Price: $174.99
  • Prerequisites: None

The syllabus’ key topics focus on; Allowing you to create your database or interact with existing databases, Helping you to write complex SQL queries across multiple tables, Building a web app using NodeJS and MySQ, Learning how to model real-world data, and generating reports by using SQL and Learning about how to answer company performance or sales questions using data.

#4. Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals

Earning this entry-level certification from Microsoft validates your knowledge of data concepts using Microsoft Azure data services, including how the databases work with PostgreSQL and MySQL.

This certification goes beyond just SQL to show your knowledge of relational and non-relational data and data workloads.

Summary

  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Price: $99
  • Prerequisites: None

In terms of subject matter, this course tests: Core data concepts, Working with relational and non-relational data on Azure and Analytics workload.

#5. SQL for Data Analysis – Udemy

The SQL for Data Analysis course is a specialization program for potential data analysts and data science experts.

Another Udemy course, SQL for Data Analysis is a weekender crash course that’s designed as both a refresher for programmers and a foundation course for students and professionals looking to build data analysis skills within the SQL ecosystem.

You’ll learn how to make data-driven decisions, measure marketing efforts, observe real-world insights, analyze user behavior, as well as discover marketing statistics.

Summary

  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 3.5-4 hours
  • Price: $20.99
  • Prerequisites: None

This course includes: Implementing SQL-based business intelligence measures, Managing user data within an organization, Generating marketing insights from big data and Creating a data analytics foundation in a marketing setting.

The course can be taken by marketers, entrepreneurs, startup founders, and new college grads, among others.

#6. SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization

This is a specialization course that aims to apply all SQL concepts used for data science practically.

The first course of the specialization is a basic course that will enable you with all the SQL knowledge you will need for the rest of the courses.

Summary

  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 4 months
  • Price: $39 – $89 a month
  • Prerequisites: None

There are four courses: SQL for Data Science, Data Wrangling, Analysis, and AB Testing with SQL, Distributed Computing with Spark SQL, and SQL for Data Science Capstone Project.

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#7. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL 2016 Database Development Certification

Foundational IT skills are a must-have for pursuing the MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development certification. Passing this SQL Server certification exam makes you eligible for serving in a mid-level position in database development.

Summary

  • Level: Associate
  • Duration: Self paced
  • Price: $165 per exam
  • Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of Microsoft Windows and its core functionality, Working knowledge of relational databases and Transact-SQL

There are two courses that are Querying Data with Transact-SQL and Developing SQL Databases with several modules in each course.

#8. Structure Query Language Intro by University of Michigan

In this SQL course, you learn all the steps to install a text editor, install XAMPP or MAMP, create a MySQL Database, etc.

In this one of the best SQL courses, you will learn about single table queries and the SQL language. It helps you to learn database design, basic SQL syntax with multiple tables, foreign keys, and the JOIN operation.

At the end of this course, you will know how to model many-to-many relationships like those needed to represent users, roles, and courses.

Summary

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Duration: 16 hours with self-paced learning option
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

Key topics: Installing PHP and SQL, Introduction to Structured Query Language (SQL), Database Design, and Many-To-Many relationships.

#9. Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification – Oracle

The Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate Certification demonstrates your knowledge of basic SQL concepts, especially using it to work with the Oracle Database server.

The certification will prove your competency in the SQL language, data modeling, and using tables, among other tasks. It requires passing one certification exam.

Summary

  • Level: Associate
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Price: $245
  • Prerequisites: None

This course tests: Essential database concepts; retrieving, restricting, and sorting data; Using conversion functions and conditional expressions; Managing multiple tables; controlling access, and other topics.

#10. PL/SQL Language Reference – Oracle

The PL/SQL Language Reference course comes from a set of reference guides compiled by Oracle based on their extensive experience with database creation and management.

Oracle has a vast variety of free guides that serve as virtual textbooks for the data science hopeful.

This specific reference is a very comprehensive and detailed guide on how SQL works within the Oracle environment.

You’ll learn how to organize and structure data, implement customized commands, and how to link tables via foreign keys, among other aspects of SQL knowledge.

Summary

  • Level: Intermediate-Advanced
  • Duration: Self-paced
  • Price: Free
  • Prerequisites: None

In terms of reference material, you get PL/SQL language fundamentals and elements, PL/SQL data types and how to manage each type, SQL statements and how to implement them, and A step-by-step guide to creating a fully functioning Oracle database.

FAQs on Microsoft SQL server certifications

How valuable are SQL Server certifications?

SQL Server certifications can be very valuable and useful for some companies, recruiters, and some SQL Server professionals personally.

What can I do with a Microsoft SQL Server certification?

Beginners level certification. As a data analyst/scientist, you simply need basic knowledge of SQL servers to assist in your work operations.

Can I get SQL Server advanced certification?

No, SQL Server certification can be learned from a beginner’s level to an advanced level.

Conclusion

Inarguably, the world is highly competitive and globalized which presents both challenges and opportunities to just about anyone.

To your advantage, learning resources for Microsoft SQL Server certifications are easily accessible from any part of the world with the benefits that come with it.

The challenge therein is lack of this certification could lead you to lose out on the opportunities because some hiring managers may look for applicants who have certifications related to the role.

The certification courses we suggested were selected based on popularity and ranking, they are a great start for your journey.

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