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However, a few votech high schools nearby will be offering MTA certifications in web programming classes that will get me prepared for Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) Exam 98-364 - Database Fundamentals.
So my dilemna. First, I'm aware all education is self education. I was in a program w/covered SQL where the teacher did not know SQL. The school closed the class. I'm convinced an IT Academy school will speed my progress immensely. So straight comparison: if you thought you couldn't afford MCSA classes, how useful do you think the 98-364 will be? I'm thinking of immediately starting the 461, 462, etc. as soon as I can afford them.
I'm also thinking the web programming classes will get me through C##, ASP.NET, etc. which I'd have to tackle the C## anyway (in the grad degree I'm considering) and should help me w/better positions so I can afford expensive SQL classes. But it will take a year, maybe less.
What do you think?
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I can't really speak to your exact situation here as these sound like certification classes and I haven't ever really followed or pursued certs. But, would like to offer some extraneous thoughts that may help you. The certs indicate you can pass a test and, in more than a few cases, help in terms of job hunting as there are more than a few companies that won't even talk to you unless they see cert initials somewhere in your resume. However, if you truly want to learn SQL Server (or anything database related), I'd highly recommend pulling a copy of SQL Server Express (which I'm pretty sure is free if not the full package) onto your machine and start playing with it.
If you're not sure where to begin, pull it down and then google how to set up your own database and then find forums where people ask database questions and figure them out for yourself. You may very well find that this is a great chance to learn new things and even help others in the process. The SQL Server community is also very open and supportive - many of the people on this site are very active in that community on Twitter as well as user groups throughout the world. Joining in those activities will also help you tremendously in your learning as well as help with potential networking for the future. Take advantage of them.
Perhaps someone else here can help you with the certs question but I would highly recommend some informal learning while you're trying to figure out the formal learning process. Good luck and, if you have any more questions, please feel free to post. Thanks.
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