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Denver SQL User Group: Certification Study Group

I'm not involved in this, but wanted to pass it on:

The Denver SQL Server User Group is starting another round for the certification study group. Last year we ran three sessions with each focusing in on a specific subject area (DBA, Dev, BI). For the next session starting next week, we thought we would try a general study session and allow for anyone wanting to study for any of the exams to participate.

Please send an email to so that we can add you to an email list. We’ll use this list to send any updates as they relate to the certification study group. Several of you have already sent us an email expressing your interest and have been added to the list so no need to send a second email. We can get your email address at Monday’s meeting if you don’t respond.

The Concept

The concept of the study sessions is to assist you in your path to passing the Microsoft SQL Server certifications. The core of this is self-study utilizing the training kits and other resources you have available. We’ll meet in person on a regular basis (once a week or so) to discuss any questions or concepts to better strengthen your understanding of the materials. The duration of the study session will last 6 weeks.

First Meeting Details

If you are interested, we will be meeting Monday April 25 at 6:30 pm at Chipotle on Arapahoe Road just west of I-25 for the first meeting. We will discuss future meetings and a study plan.

Chipotle - MAP

8547 E Arapahoe Rd. Greenwood Village, CO 80112

Phone 303.488.2002

Helpful Links

Below are links to additional information and study materials for the different tests. Here is information on special offers Microsoft has through June 30, 2011. To ask any questions to the group, the user group forms can be found at the following links: BI, Dev, and DBA.

Study Materials

Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)

BI 70-448 Materials TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance

DEV 70-433 Materials TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Database Development

DBA 70-432 Materials TS: Microsoft SQL Server 2008, Implementation and Maintenance

Microsoft Certified IT Professional

BI 70-452 Materials PRO: Designing a Business Intelligence Infrastructure Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

DEV 70-451 Materials PRO: Designing Database Solutions and Data Access Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008

DBA 70-450 Materials PRO: Designing, Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Administrative Solution Using Microsoft SQL Server 2008


Meme Monday, eh?

I have one:

Resorting to memes mean abdicating creativity in search of tribal belonging.

See Meme Monday


Project Phoenix: Software, tools, training, and books available to unemployed and underemployed software developers

My colleague Arnie Rowland (blog | twitter) has been running a very cool project, Project Phoenix, giving away $17000 in software and training to deserving un-/under-employed developers. In a nutshell:

I will be seeking proposals from unemployed (or under-employed) developers that would use the tools to improve their skills with .NET, SQL Server, and Windows 7 Phone. The proposals should be for a project for a non-profit -either a new project or an upgrade to an existing project. In addition to the Microsoft MDSN Ultimate subscription, Pluralsight will provide a three month subscription to the training content available in their On-Demand!™ .NET Training Library, O'Reilly Press will provide three (3) books of the winner's choice, APress will provide three books(3) of the winner's choice, ComponentOne will provide Studio Enterprise components and tools, DevExpress will provide a one year subscription for DXperience Enterprise w/CodeRush, RedGate will provide a license for ANTS Performance Profiler, and Quest Software will provide a a license for Toad® for SQL Server. [Note: more benefits have been added to the list since Arnie posted this.]

The idea is to provide the recipient access to all of the tools needed to improve his/her skills, an opportunity to gain practical experience, the potential to earn a recommendation and/or referral –and to positively contribute to society as a form of 'give-back'. No free lunch, just sweat equity –the kind that makes us all feel good for the effort.

For details, please see his blog. And pass the word on about this good work!


Student Resources for Course 6234–Implementing and Maintaining SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services

Here are the additional resources I’ve mentioned in this week’s class.





Expert Cube Development with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services
(e-book available from publisher)
The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit: With SQL Server 2008 R2 and the Microsoft Business Intelligence Toolset (source code files)

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 MDX Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services Step by Step (Step By Step (Microsoft))
MDX Solutions: With Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 and Hyperion Essbase
SQL Server MVP Deep Dives
(written by a plethora of MVPs, proceeds go to charity)


Whitepapers and Technical Notes

Websites and Blogs (a selected sample)




Online Virtual Labs

  • Labs at MSDN – most of the BI content is for 2005, but much still applies to SSAS 2008
  • Labs at TechNet – same comment applies as above

Student resources: Using Digital MOC companion files.

For those students who have taken recent courses at Ameriteach, and received a USB flash drive instead of the expected book and CD, here's some guidance about what to do with the contents of the USB drive.

On that drive, you will typically find the following:

  • the student workbook in PDF format (the equivalent of the printed book);
  • the lab workbook in PDF (just the lab instructions and answer keys);
  • an installer for Foxit PDF Reader;
  • a ReadMe.txt file;
  • a CD/DVD image file (with an ISO or IMG extension)

AmeriTeach has included the Foxit PDF Reader software as an alternative to using Adobe's Acrobat Reader, so that students can annotate their workbooks. Acrobat Reader doesn't support this capability (to the best of my knowledge).

The CD/DVD image file provided contains the same content that used to be included in the physical CD accompanying printed MOC workbooks:

  • lab and demo files, in a self-extracting installer;
  • student "companion content" web pages (where applicable)

To use the CD/DVD image file, you can follow the links in the Readme file, or use one of the following methods:

  • Treat the image file as an archive, and open/extract its contents with an "unzipping" utility. Tools like WinZip (commercial), WinRAR (commercial) or 7Zip (free) can directly read the IMG/ISO file format and allow you to browse and extract its contents.
  • Mount the image file as a virtual CD, using a tool such as DaemonTools Lite (free for personal use) (my preference), VirtualCD (commercial) or the like. You'll need to download and install the utility (perhaps rebooting) and then open the image as a CD with its own drive letter. You can then copy the contents to a local disk.

Once you've extracted the contents, look for an application called StartCD.exe, which will load up the student Companion Content and provide links to the lab files, technical resource information, etc. For direct access to the lab files, look within the \Webfiles\Downloads folder for a self-extracting archive called ALLFILES.EXE. Run this to extract the lab and demo files provided with the course.

If this seems like a lot of work to get to the files that used to be provided with the physical student disc, it's really just one more step: mounting/extracting the ISO. Once that's open, it's the same process to get to the content whether physical or virtual CD media.

I hope this helps our customers.

(Note: I don't get notified when comments are posted to this blog, so I can't promise a quick turnaround for any followup questions. See the official Microsoft Learning blog and forums for questions regarding Microsoft Official Curriculum and its content.)