Not Quite Complete

Missing T-SQL coverage mars an otherwise thorough reference

While preparing to take my SQL 2000 exams, I was looking for an all-in-one book that would or could help me on this quest. Based on the cover of the book, I thought I had found what I was looking for. It claimed to have complete coverage of all material on both exams, 70-228 and 70-229.

First of all, let me say that the book does indeed provide information on all exam objectives. There is sufficient coverage to give you a good grounding in SQL Server 2000 Administrative and Design aspects. There was a contradiction, however, in what the book cover stated and what the author stated in the book. In order to pass the Designing exam and, indeed, the Administration exam, you need to be well versed in Transact-SQL, which is the SQL dialect used by Microsoft's SQL Server products. The author states that this book does not cover T-SQL in depth and that you will need to look elsewhere for in-depth SQL knowledge.

I can tell you that I did indeed pass both exams on the first try. This book was an excellent source of information for the exam, if only because it compliments the other two required factors for exam success: hands-on and test practice. With the use of the exam tips, the hands-on exercises, as well as the help of some practice tests—both in the book and those you'd have to acquire from third parties—you should be able to pass the SQL exams. Nothing beats hands on experience with any product to get a feel for it.

There are areas on the exams that require you to have a firm understanding of the concepts of the software and its use that no book can give you. The author, Dave Perkovich, brings his experiences to the book and provides good tips and pointers throughout the text to relevant topics as they relate to the exam. The fact that he is an MCSD and MCT I feel has only helped the book to be more complete as each certification provides its own advantages to a project such as this.

Writing a book to cover an entire product such as SQL Server 2000, especially for exam preparation, is no easy task. I have used books from various publishers and authors as well as books written specifically for Microsoft Press that are indicated as being Microsoft Approved Study Guides. Some do not even come close to preparing you for an exam. Somehow they always leave your short.

There are really only two issues that really stand out for me in this book that need to be looked at if there is to be a second edition or second printing. First: Gather some more technical reviewers and proofreaders to clean up some minors errors in the text. Second: Either add more T-SQL content or remove the reference that the book contains "complete coverage." Other than these two points, I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for an all-in-one study guide for the SQL 2000 exams. Hey, I passed them; you can too!

About the Author

Gerry O'Brien, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, MCT, has been working with computers since the days of the Commodore VIC-20. Over the past five years he's done network administration for The Hardman Group Ltd., a real estate management/development company, and owns Canadian-Based GK ComputerConsulting, which provides hardware and software sales, consulting, and development services to a wide range of clients.


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