A while back I posted about Beta Exams for SQL Server 2008 where Microsoft basically paid your way to take the certification exams for SQL Server 2008. The trade off was, you needed to provide feedback on the exam material to help them better create the final questions. Back in October I was invited by Microsoft to fly to Redmond and sit in a round table discussion on one of the exams I took to review the questions but responsibilities of life simply got in the way of that. To bad, because it gave me a chance to meet and greet some people I know online, where I might not have been able to otherwise.
Tonight I got an email letting me know that I had passed both the MCTS and MCITP 2008 Database Developer Examinations (if only I had known about the beta exams when the Admin ones were out). Now all I have left is my MCITP 2008 Administrator Exam since I passed the MCTS at PASS Summit. Should be able to knock that one out in January sometime. Professionally, it doesn't mean a whole lot to me as certifications are not a requirement in my current position, but personally it is a great validation that for all the hours I put in playing with the CTP's and RC0, that I actually learned something.
My take on the exams? Well if you really know your stuff on SQL Server 2005, the gap isn't very big to 2008. If you are still on SQL Server 2000, you have a lot of catching up to do. SQL Server 2008 brings a number of new things into the mix, Grouping Sets, XML enhancements, Geography datatype, Geometry datatype, HierarchyID, sparse columns, filtered indexes, Policy Based Management, Performance Data Warehouse and the Data Collectors, and Extended Events to name a few. However, learning the fundamentals of these new items is far easier than learning the additions to SQL Server 2005 plus the additions to SQL Server 2008.