Database Administrator Certificate Program: Capstone Project
Capstone Project Objectives
The objectives of the Capstone Project are to:
- Demonstrate the understanding of relational database design and the fundamental skills required to build a database schema.
- Install and configure both a default and a named instance of SQL Server by using different levels of authentication.
- Present a plan for multiple levels of security schemes as it pertains to server, database, and object level permissions.
- Implement a database recovery model and demonstrate how it would be effective in a “real-world” scenario.
- Demonstrate a plan for monitoring the health of both server and databases.
- Demonstrate performance tuning techniques using both T-SQL and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).
- Create a high-availability solution by using replication.
- Present final product to instructor.
Capstone Project Development Process
Project Initiation Phase
The first meeting of the Capstone Project is a two-hour scheduled class with the instructor and up to four students. This kick-off class includes:
- A discussion of the project details and requirements
- Clarification about the purpose or expected outcome of the project including a review of the evaluation components of the project
- Establishing the project milestones that the student will use in the development of the project
- A review of the process that students will use during the project development stage to get feedback from the instructor
- A discussion of the last class, during which the instructor will evaluate the student’s project
- An outline of the process and steps that will be used to evaluate the student’s project
- An opportunity for the student to get started on the design of the Capstone Project. This allows the student to validate their design decisions with the instructor before development works begins.
Required Software for Capstone Project Work
Students may choose to use their personal computers to develop capstone project work. Students are advised to download the following software to their personal computers before beginning the capstone project class:
- Visio (for presenting ER diagrams)
Project Development Phase
After the initial two-hour class, there are no additional in-person meetings between the student and instructor until the project evaluation. Any follow-up communication with the instructor will occur via e-mail. As the student develops their project, they will check in with the instructor based on the milestones established in the initial kick-off class to make sure they are on track for completion. The student may contact the instructor as many times as necessary to ask clarifying questions regarding the project. They may also contact the instructor up to four times for direction or suggestions (see the notes below on this subject under “Important Considerations”). The project is expected to take from 30 to 40 hours of student time to complete, however completion time will depend on the student’s mastery of the material covered in the database certificate courses.
Project Evaluation Phase
The second and final meeting between the student and instructor is the evaluation of the student’s Capstone Project. It will occur in person 60 days after the initial kick-off class.
- If at that time the project is considered by the instructor to be complete, the student will have successfully passed the Capstone course.
- If the student does not successfully complete the project, the instructor will review with the student the area(s) where the project did not meet expectations. The student will then have an additional 15 days to correct these problems and resubmit the project via e-mail. The 15 day grace period may not be extended for any reason, and only one resubmission is allowed; this will be considered the final opportunity to pass the project. The instructor will notify the student of the pass/fail status of the final submission via reply e-mail. If, after resubmitting the project the second time, the instructor believes that the work is not satisfactory, then the student will be considered to have failed the project, and the certificate will not be issued. The student’s only recourse is to re-enroll in and pay for the Capstone course again.
- If the student does not submit the project within 60 days, an additional 15 day grace period will be extended to the student only if the student submits an e-mail to the instructor before the end of the 60th day requesting an extension. However, if the student either does not submit the project by the end of the 15 day extension or does submit it to the instructor, but does not meet the minimum standards required for the project to pass, then the student will be considered as having failed the project and the certificate will not be issued. A second resubmission of the project is not allowed, and an extension of the 15 day grace period will not be extended for any reason. The student’s only recourse is to re-enroll in and pay for the Capstone course again.
- If the student would like an earlier evaluation than 60 days after the first class, they must contact the instructor to see if an earlier date can be arranged. Such arrangements will be on a case-by-case basis and, if an early evaluation is agreed to, it may need to take place via e-mail rather than in a face-to-face meeting. If an early evaluation takes place and the student does not successfully complete the project, an additional 15 day extension, starting from the date that the instructor informs the student of the failing grade, will be extended to the student. If, after resubmitting the project the second time, the instructor believes that the work is not satisfactory, then the student will be considered to have failed the project, and the certificate will not be issued. The student’s only recourse is to re-enroll in and pay for the Capstone course again.
Important Considerations Regarding the Capstone Project
- Once the student enrolls in the Capstone Project, it is expected that they have successfully learned the material presented in the required and elective classes. Therefore, the instructor will not supplement the Capstone Project with tutoring or instruction on previous coursework. Although we want to help students who are stuck, we also want to maintain the integrity of this Capstone Project. Therefore, the instructor of the Capstone Project will only provide general guidance and suggestions (up to four times per student) for improvement of the student’s project. It is not an opportunity to have the instructor debug the student’s code or to receive specific code feedback. Example instructor responses are as follows: “If you want to protect the data that can be accepted try to use one of the known constraints or keys,” or “Investigate the different types of SQL objects that can combine data.” Again, the purpose of an instructor answering students’ questions during the Capstone Project development is to give direction, not solutions. It will also not involve extensive code review or execution of the program.
- Each student may contact the instructor an unlimited number of times via e-mail during the Capstone Project development phase to ask questions to receive clarification on the project requirements.
- Milestone checkpoints are designed to help the student stay on track through the stages of project development so they can complete their project on time. Milestone checkpoints are not code review, and the instructor will not spend time checking over the student’s work. The milestones have no bearing on the project evaluation. For example, a student may meet all milestones yet not pass the project.
- The Capstone Project will not be evaluated in stages. The full project review is on the date of the second meeting which is scheduled for 60 days after the initial class. There is the possibility of an extension of 15 days as mentioned above. If a student wants an evaluation earlier than the 60 day evaluation, the student may contact the instructor to determine if an earlier evaluation is feasible. If so, the evaluation may be done via e-mail rather than in-person.
- If a student fails the initial project evaluation and resubmits their project, the instructor will only evaluate those areas that failed the initial evaluation and verify that those areas now meet the project specifications. This is not an additional full-project evaluation.
- A student who does not successfully pass the project may retake the Capstone course in the future; however the full class charge will be assessed at that time. The student will be required to create a new project, and will not be able to rework their previous project.
Database Administrator Capstone Project Evaluation Checklist