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Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-448) Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Business Intelligence Development and Maintenance (MCSA) Paperback – Apr 15 2009
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About the Author
Dejan Sarka is MCT and MCDBA certified and a Microsoft MVP for SQL Server. He teaches and consults for Solid Quality Mentors, speaks at TechEd and PASS, and develops OLTP, OLAP, and data mining solutions.
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There is a practice exam disc included with the book which really helps in terms of studying for the exam and another disc with an evaluation copy of SQL Server 2008. All of this can take you from doing what I would call "cowboy SQL work" to a more professional, well founded, and optimized approach towards working with BI tools used with SQL Server.
The authors provide some good practical real-life recommendations on how to apply some of the techniques covered which helps round out the training. Collectively, this text has opened my eyes to more features and functionality in SQL than I did before picking it up and offers a way to actually apply the learning material -- albeit at a simple, high level. Just the same, one can always go deeper and experiment with some of the techniques. In the first chapter alone I learned of a technique that solved a problem which a consulting firm I worked with had an allergic reaction towards solving. I'm thinking the consulting firm might have benefited from this book.
I'm grateful that a careful reading of the exercises does allow one to complete the the vast majority of exercises and not have to deal with a problem so often faced in similar type texts -- nobody proof-read the thing to make sure the commands were accurate and actually worked! Seems like a pretty basic concept but this is so often not the case.
My only warnings to readers is that initial installation of the SQL Server evaluation software and setting up the DB's used as examples can prove tricky (but this is a MSFT issue, not one with the book or the way in which the conveys information). Why is it that sample DB's and installation of same cannot be made easier as it was with SQL 2005 early on? And I have a bit of a bone to pick regarding the Measure Up practice exam which has some out of synch references to the materials in the book. For example, the exam references Chapter 1 Lesson 5 yet the book has only 3 lessons in Chapter 1.
Finally, in the back of the book is a coupon code for taking the exam -- practically worth the price of the book. Your biggest investment will be the time necessary to study for the exam but in today's economy that would be a great investment to make.
I do have to say that, to me, one of the drawbacks of the book was the set of practice exam questions that was included. I thought the questions were good enough, but the explanations were lacking. There wasn't enough detail as to why the answers were right or wrong. I've always used the Transcender exams to supplement any written material so that may be causing some of the bias, but I thought the explanations could have gone deeper than they did.
(Side note: I also purchased the Transcender exams for this exam. The combination of book and exam prep worked well for me. Passed the exam on the first try!)
I would definitely recommend purchasing the book. It not only met my expectation of an exam prep book, but it will also stay on my shelf as a reference book.
I enjoyed reading the book and it suited my needs well. I recommed that any person interested in BI start with this book, create a good foundation of knowledge, build best practices and then progress to individual books based on their focused are of study. For example WROX SSIS 2008 would be a great companion as a reference guide. I am disappointed that the MS exams do not focus on each specific technology, but that is a complaint of MS certs, not this book. This book is a wonderful guide for the information contained in their exams. For a newbie to SSIS SSAS SSRS, or a person seeking information for an upgrade exam, no other book comes close.
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