Database Certifications from Microsoft

Microsoft's SQL Server platform left behind IBM a few years ago to take second place in DBMS market share (As per Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems), and it ranks third in overall database engine popularity as of October 2016.

SQL Server offers a wide variety of tools and add-ons for business intelligence, data warehousing and data-driven applications of all types. That probably explains why Microsoft offers database-related credentials at every level of its certification program, from the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) all the way to the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) program.

In September 2016, Microsoft announced significant changes to its certification program, adding five new certifications to the MCSE and Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) programs alone. These certifications are designed to support Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft SQL Server 2016, among other technologies.


The MTA program includes a single database-related exam: Database Fundamentals (98-364). This credential is ideal for students or as an entry-level cert for professionals looking to segue into database support.


Microsoft offers one credential for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014, which requires candidates to pass three exams:

The new MCSA: SQL Server 2016 certification offers three different credentials:

  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development,
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration and
  • MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development.

Each credential requires candidates to pass two exams. The 2016 program is still under development as of this writing, but you can track its progress on the MCSE: SQL 2016 page.


At the Microsoft MCSE level are three database credentials: Data Platform, Business Intelligence, and Data Management and Analytics.

The MCSE: Data Platform requires:

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification

The MCSE: Business Intelligence requires:

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014 certification

The MCSE: Data Management and Analytics requires:

MCSA: SQL Server 2012/2014, MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Development, MCSA: SQL 2016 Database Administration or MCSA: SQL 2016 Business Intelligence Development certification

One of the following electives:

  • Designing and Implementing Cloud Data Platform Solution (70-473)
  • Designing and Implementing Big Data Analytics Solutions (70-475)
  • Developing Microsoft SQL Server Databases (70-464)
  • Designing Database Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server (70-465)
  • Implementing Data Models and Reports with Microsoft SQL Server (70-466)
  • Designing Business Intelligence Solutions with Microsoft SQL Server (70-467)

To maintain this certification, individuals must pass an additional elective exam each year.

Prerequisites & Required Courses

  • MTA Database: None
  • MCSA SQL Server: None
  • MCSE Data Platform and Business Intelligence: MCSA on SQL Server
  • MCSE Data Management and Analytics: MCSA on SQL 2012/2014 or 2016

Cost per Exam

  • MTA: $127 (USD)
  • MCSA/MCSE: $165 (USD) per exam
Rating: 4.9 / 5 (72 votes)