70-113, the Virtual Lab exam, gives Microsoft Certification new hope

We all know what’s wrong with Microsoft certifications. The multiple-choice format means that people can cheat too easily, and over the years, the questions have often felt too specific, asking the kinds of questions that proper IT professionals just look up in Help systems like SQL Books Online. To help address this problem, Microsoft started to come up with simulation questions. They were used in some Windows NT exams, and most notably for me (as I helped write them), in the core SQL Server exam 70-431. These were Flash-style applications designed to look and feel like the real applications. This … Continue reading 70-113, the Virtual Lab exam, gives Microsoft Certification new hope

Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal – slides

I’ve given this presentation a couple of times at user-groups now – last week in Adelaide, and this week in Melbourne. I posted the scripts to my blog recently, making them available to people who heard this talk at TechEd Australia at the start of the month, so now I’ve got around to uploading the slide deck as well. I actually plan to blog about many of the tips too, so watch for that over the next month or so. I’ll try to do at least one a week for a while, if not more. Obviously some will become longer … Continue reading Improving Your T-SQL Arsenal – slides

Orr-some time with Geoff

Geoff Orr spoke at the Adelaide SQL Server User Group yesterday, and according to the feedback (and attendance), it was a very popular session. He discussed various options around SSIS configuration, and threw in some jokes as usual. Of course, he may need to update the talk soon, as it seems the next CTP of SQL 2008 will have many new SSIS features. Keep your eye on connect.microsoft.com/sql for when it comes out. I’ll certainly be checking them out, and making sure I highlight them when I run the SSIS courses (and this) next.

The best way to pass a Microsoft certification exam

For a limited time only, Microsoft are giving you the chance to have a second shot at any IT professional, developer or Microsoft Dynamics exam. Brilliant! The way this works (and the way I encourage all my students to do this) is that if you register for this offer and then take an exam, you can take it again some time later for free. Yes, free. So now let me ask you – which one are you paying for? The first one, or the second one? It may feel like you’re paying for the first one, but don’t be fooled. … Continue reading The best way to pass a Microsoft certification exam

Free SQL training at events in the UK and Australia

…and I’m not even referring to the User Groups which run regularly. The ones I’m referring to are SQLBits and the SQL Down Under Code Camp. SQLBits was in the UK last weekend, and was a massive success. I would’ve loved to have been able to attend, but it’s a bit far to travel (I guess about 12000 miles). They had over three hundred attend, which is fantastic! Adelaide User Group regular Martin Cairney was there, and presented the talk he gave in Adelaide earlier this year. It seems to have been received well. And this coming weekend is the … Continue reading Free SQL training at events in the UK and Australia

Code Camps galore

We all know that Adelaide hosted Code Camp SA recently – it was a great success, and some people even wished I was there! TechEd is coming up of course, but now there are two code camps scheduled for October, on the same weekend (13-14) and at the same venue! Yes, that place is Wagga Wagga – one Wagga for each event. Firstly, and most importantly I’m sure, is the second SQL Down Under Code Camp. But the other one is the Security Camp Oz. With me doing the SQL Security talk at TechEd this year, I’m sure I’ll have a … Continue reading Code Camps galore

Pearson Vue no longer offering Microsoft exams

You can only book to do Microsoft certification exams through Pearson Vue until the end of August. From then on, you have to choose Prometric. More information can be read at Vue’s website: http://vue.com/ms/testtakerfaq.pdf Personally, I find this a real shame. It’s good for us candidates to have a choice. I’ve preferred Vue over Prometric in recent years, and it was Vue who provided exams at TechEd Australia. I don’t know the reasons why Microsoft have taken this approach, but will post again once I have found out something (assuming the information I find out is public).

4 questions to evaluate people’s passion

I’m going to find this topic very interesting when I’m training people more and more. Kathy Sierra gives us four questions to judge someone’s passion for their work: When was the last time you read a trade/professional journal or book related to your work? (can substitute “attended an industry conference or took a course”) Name at least two of the key people in your field. If you had to, would you spend your own money to buy tools or other materials that would improve the quality of your work? If you did not do this for work, would you still … Continue reading 4 questions to evaluate people’s passion

My first Solid Quality course is scheduled

If you’re in Melbourne during the last week of March and want to learn about how to effectively write queries for SQL Server, then this course is for you. The course was written by Itzik Ben-Gan, who is one of the legends in the SQL Server world (and now my colleague!), so it’s a very high quality course. And of course, it’s not as if I’m new to the material myself, having been involved in helping people learn about T-SQL for many years myself. I’m really pleased that this is the first course I’ll be teaching under the banner of … Continue reading My first Solid Quality course is scheduled