Microsoft announced that the SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master Exam -- which certifies professionals' expertise in the data management platform -- will be available in testing centers in 9 countries.
As Field notes, cost of the exam has also dropped significantly. Previously, the required three-week SQL Server 2008 MCM training session plus 4 exams necessary to earn certification cost candidates approx US$18,500 -- in addition to associated travel expenses. Now, candidates can earn certification by passing just two exams: the 4-hour Knowledge Exam, and a 6-hour hands-on Lab Exam, which'll be available in early 2011.
People interested in pursuing the certification can take these two exams without attending training for a total of US$2,500.
SQL Server MCM certification is the highest technical certification that Microsoft offers SQL Server professionals. It's designed for those with 5 or more years of hands-on SQL Server experience in critical environments. Competencies include designing and implementing high-performance, scalable enterprise environments and troubleshooting the most challenging SQL Server issues.