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What should you study?

Books that specifically target certification are your best bet. Their coverage matches what you'll face on the exams. Other DB2 books can be useful in pursuing your goal as well, but concentrate your effort on those designed to help you certify. Table 3 lists DB2 certification books and other worthy tomes. You can find enlightening reviews by those those who have used the books for exam preparation posted on websites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble online , and you can purchase the books there as well. IBM's website also offers a certification booklist.

My personal recommendation is the DB2 V8 certification guides written by Roger Sanders. Each book covers one DB2 exam and includes "practice questions" to hone your exam-readiness. The books hew strictly to what you need to know for the exams: they don't waste your time with extraneous material, and they don't leave anything out you need to know (full disclosure – I have no financial interest in these books but have acted as an unpaid reviewer and wrote a foreward to one).

Table 3. DB2 version 8 certification books

For Exams Title Authors ISBN
700 DB2 UDB V8.1 Certification Exam 700 Study Guide Roger Sanders 0131424653
700, 701 DB2 UDB V8.1 for Linux, Unix, and Windows Database Administration Certification Guide Baklarz and Wong 0130463612
701 DB2 UDB V8.1 Certification Exams 701 and 706 Study Guide Roger Sanders 0131840487
703 DB2 UDB V8.1 Application Development Certification Guide Martineau et al 0130463914
702 DB2 UDB for OS/390 Version 7.1 Certification Guide (Version 8 release in 1st quarter 2004) Yevich and Lawsonl 0130650765
705 Business Intelligence for the Enterprise Mike Biere 0131413031
704 Advanced DBA Certification Guide and Reference for DB2 UDB V8.1 for Linux, Unix and Windows Snow et al 0130463884
706 This book also covers the Upgrade Exam -- DB2 UDB V8.1 Certification Exams 701 and 706 Study Guide Roger Sanders 0131424653
Other Worthwhile DB2 Books....
-- DB2 Version 8: The Official Guide Zikopoulos et al 0131401580
-- DB2 UDB V8 Handbook for Windows and UNIX/Linux Philip Gunning 0130661112
-- Teach Yourself DB2 UDB in 21 Days (covers Version 8) Susan Visser and Bill Wong 0672325829
-- DB2 Developer's Guide Craig Mullins 0672311682
-- DB2: The Complete Reference (covers Version 7) Zikopoulos et al 0072133449
-- DB2: The Complete Reference (covers Version 7) Zikopoulos et al 0072133449
512 DB2 Fundamentals Certification for Dummies (covers Version 7) Zikopoulos et al 0764508415
512, 513 DB2 Administration All-in-One Exam Guide (covers Version 7) Roger Sanders 0072133759

Whichever certification guidebook you choose, you increase your chances of passing by supplementing them with complementary study resources. Here are some suggestions.

IBM offers two free courses that you install and learn from on your PC. Both are GUI-based and interactive. The first is oriented to the DB2 developer cert (exams 700 and 703), the second towards the Linux/Unix/Windows DBA tests (exams 700 and 701). Download both from IBM at http://www7b.software.ibm.com/dmdd/trainingcertification.html. These courses are excellent.

IBM also offers a series of six free interactive online tutorials that prepare you for exam 700, downloadable from http://www7b.software.ibm.com/dmdd/trainingcertification.html, or directly from http://www7b.software.ibm.com/dmdd/library/tutorials/db2cert/db2cert_V8_tut.html. These are great background if you're new to DB2.

It is essential that you take "practice tests," mock-ups of the real thing with similar questions. You need to be test-ready. IBM offers a free online test for each certification exam. Take any of them via the web from http://www7b.software.ibm.com/dmdd/trainingcertification.html or http://certify.torolab.ibm.com/ice/displayPage/en. You must have Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape Communicator 4.7 or above to take these practice exams. The other source for practice questions are the certification books by Roger Sanders mentioned earlier.

The DB2 Developer Domain has free DB2 tutorials, technical articles, and sections where you can "ask the experts" and even "meet the experts." Bookmark this site in your browser as a top choice for learning DB2.

You'll need hands-on experience with DB2 to pass the exams. Get it at work, or install DB2 UDB V8 on your home PC running Windows or Linux. You can directly download DB2 UDB for free from IBM's DB2 Developer Domain (just click on the IBM support and downloads tab at the top of the webpage). Many of the certification books for the core tests include a CD-ROM with a trial copy of DB2 UDB V8 for Windows PCs. The trial versions shipped in the books have a special trial period of 180 days. The trial version that is downloaded is 90-days. You can always reinstall the program if your certification effort takes longer.

If you need any of the DB2 manuals, all come with the product and are accessible when you install the database from the CD-ROM. Or you can download any manual for free from IBM in PDF format. You can also obtain IBM redbooks on advanced topics by free download from http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/, specifically DB2 redbooks.These web sites allow you to order hardcopies, if you so choose.

Do you need classroom training? My feeling is that IT pros experienced in the area in which they are testing do not need it to pass. But those new to their testing topic should consider it. The DB2 exams are difficult enough that it's very unlikely you'll pass from book learning alone. IBM's training site can help you decide.

IBM posts the official test objectives, suggested resources, and training information, and short self-assessment exams. Review all of them to ensure your progress is on target.

The most effective certification effort encompasses three essentials:

  • Book study
  • Practice tests
  • Hands-on DB2 experience.
The sources above give you everything you need to cover these bases.
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