The Best SQL Server Certification Path to Boost Your IT Career and Salary

SQL Server skills are in high demand. One of the best ways to demonstrate your SQL Server knowledge and secure a high-paying position is by pursuing a SQL Server certification path. Possession of SQL Server certifications proves you can develop and maintain complex database and information solutions which makes you a valuable asset to employers.

Why get certified in SQL Server?

SQL Server certifications are a key differentiator for candidates seeking roles in database development, administration, or analysis. Employers view certifications as tangible proof of your skills and dedication to the field. Earning certifications can also help you climb the corporate ladder and earn higher-paying jobs faster than your colleagues.

Consider these average salaries in the United States:

Whether you want to earn a promotion at your current company or pursue a new career, following a SQL Server certification path will give you hands-on experience and professional credibility.

Want to start learning SQL Server skills today? Discover SQL Server training courses happening near you.

Paths by experience level

Microsoft offers database-related certifications at every expertise level, from Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) to Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) to Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). The more certifications you earn, the greater your opportunities for senior-level positions.

Here’s everything you need to know about the SQL Server certification path that will boost your career and salary opportunities:


If you have little to no experience, the MTA certification is a good place to start. The MTA: Database Fundamentals certification covers introductory knowledge and skills related to databases, including SQL Server.

You don’t need prior job experience to earn this certification, but a baseline understanding of relevant database technologies is recommended.


Earning this certification demonstrates your skills with database installation, configuration, maintenance and provisioning. It qualifies you for a position as an architect, development lead or infrastructure specialist.

If you don’t feel you possess foundational IT skills, you can pursue one or more MTA certifications first to prepare you for the MCSA-level exam. If you already have basic experience working with databases, you can skip the MTA certification.


This certification validates your professional skills working with both on-premises and cloud-based databases. Passing this exam qualifies you for a mid-level position as a database developer.


This expert-level certification proves you have advanced skills in SQL administration, building enterprise-level data solutions and managing data in both on-premises and cloud environments.

Earning your MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification qualifies you for a role as a database analyst, database designer or business intelligence analyst.

The certification requires you to hold a MCSA certification and pass an elective exam. There are 12 MCSE elective exams to choose from, covering a range of cloud, big data analytics and business intelligence topics.

To maintain this certification, you are required to pass an additional elective exam each year. Adding each new exam to your résumé validates your commitment to staying current on new technologies to potential employers.

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Preparing for SQL Server Certifications

SQL is a universal coding language, which means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Pursuing a SQL Server certification path will help you acquire valuable skills that will stay relevant for years to come.

As the world’s largest independent IT training company, New Horizons offers comprehensive SQL server training courses at every expertise level to help you prepare for the Microsoft certification exams.

Ready to enhance your IT career with SQL Server certifications? Get prepared today with New Horizons’ Microsoft SQL Server training courses.

Already know what courses you're interested in? Speak to our learning experts who will walk you through the enrollment process!


Mar 2018

By: Kurt Bell