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Surveying the Database Certification Landscape

Table 1 presents a list of certifications that I situate within the proper domain of database certification, per se. Following the table, I provide some additional analysis, competitive rankings, and information that individuals considering such certifications should consider when choosing one such program over another.






Table 1: Database Certifications Proper

Organization

Name

URL

Brainbench

Numerous related exams*
- DB2 Administration (OS390)
- DB2 Administration (UDB)
- Oracle Designer 6i

www.brainbench.com/xml/bb
/common/testcenter/alltests.xml

Compaq

 

 

 

Master Accredited Systems Engineer (MASE)

 

 

Oracle on Tru64 UNIX: http://h10017.www1.hp.com/certification/
ap/mase_oracle_unix.html

Oracle on Windows: http://h10017.www1.hp.com/certification/
ap/mase_oracle.html

SQL Server: http://h10017.www1.hp.com/certification/
ap/mase_sqlserver.html

Crystal Decisions

Authorized Crystal Engineer (ACE)

www.crystaldecisions.com
/services/elearning
/overview.asp

IBM

 

 

IBM Certified Specialist

http://www-1.ibm.com/certify/
certs/rolesi.shtml#CS

IBM Certified Solutions Expert

http://www-1.ibm.com/certify/
certs/rolesi.shtml#CSE

IBM Certified Advanced Technical Expert

http://www-1.ibm.com/certify/certs/
rolesi.shtml#CATE

IBM Certified Database Administrator

http://www-1.ibm.com/certify/certs/dbdbudb81.shtml
rolesi.shtml#CATE

Learning Tree

 

 

Access Certified Professional

www.learningtree.com/us
/cert/progs/7024.htm

Oracle9i DBA Certified Professional

http://www.learningtree.com/us/cert/progs/7076.htm

Oracle8i DBA Certified Professional

www.learningtree.com/us
/cert/progs/7030.htm

SQL Server 2000 DBA Certified Professional

www.learningtree.com/us
/cert/progs/7043.htm

Microsoft

Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA)

www.microsoft.com/traincert
/mcp/mcdba/default.asp

MySQL

 

 

MySQL 4 Core Certification

http://www.mysql.com/certification/
candguide/sec-core.html#sec-core

Certified MySQL 4 Professional

http://www.mysql.com/certification/
candguide/sec-prof.html#sec-prof

Oracle

Oracle Database Administrator (DBA)

Oracle8: www.oracle.com/education/certification/
index.html?dba8i_ccp.html

Oracle9i CCP Upgrade Path: http://www.oracle.com/education/certification/
index.html?dba9i_upgrade.html

Oracle9i: www.oracle.com/education/certification
/index.html?dba9i_track.html

Sybase

Sybase Certified Adaptive Server Administrator

http://www.sybase.com/education/profcert/
adaptive_server_administrator

Sybase Replication Server Administrator

http://www.sybase.com/education/profcert/
rep_server_administrator/version_125

Teradata

 

 

Teradata Certified Professional

http://global.ncreducation.com
/teradata/certlevels.htm

Teradata Certified Implementation Specialist

http://global.ncreducation.com
/teradata/certlevels.htm

Teradata Certified SQL Specialist

http://global.ncreducation.com
/teradata/certlevels.htm

Teradata Certified Administrator

http://global.ncreducation.com
/teradata/certlevels.htm

Teradata Certified Designer

http://global.ncreducation.com
/teradata/certlevels.htm

U2test

Various general and platform exams

www.u2test.com


*The list in this table is not inclusive. Visit the Web site for more details.

When it comes to database certifications in general, be they what I call proper database certifications or boundary database certifications, there's no denying the importance of the underlying database product or platform when it comes to selecting particular credentials. In plain English, this means that where you work now—or where you want to work in the future—will normally dictate the kind of database certifications you seek. Conversely, once you obtain such certifications, where you work in the future will often be a function of which organizations use the database platform or platforms in which you've obtained certification.

The sole exceptions to this invariable rule appear in various exams (and related certifications) that organizations such as Brainbench and U2test offer to the public. You can take exams from either organization at modest prices to verify your general working knowledge of database design, relational database concepts and operation, the ANSI standard SQL, and other applicable database technologies, languages, and general-purpose tools. Of course, the relevance of such certification to particular platforms is limited, so what this really means is that if you're interested in database certification, you can use the offerings from either organization to get yourself started in the database field as you learn and absorb basic, generally applicable information. But sooner or later, you will have to specialize, at which point the credentials from one or another of the organizations listed in Tables 1 and 2 will become relevant.

This also means that market dynamics tend to govern the distribution of the certified population across the various offerings. Simply put, this means the most popular database platform—namely Oracle—has the largest population of certified individuals. Other certified population sizes also reflect the uptake of their respective products and platforms in companies and organizations. With the recent introduction of certifications for the Open Source product MySQL in the second quarter of 2003, another large population of database professionals gets access to certification credentials, and may give Oracle a run for its current domination of this sector.

One concluding note before I move on to discuss boundary database certifications: Learning Tree is an interesting player in this field, because it offers alternatives to vendor-sponsored certifications for various platforms, as shown in Table 1. Although they apparently can make a viable business out of an alternative or aftermarket certification, I suspect the numbers of individuals they certify in their programs is less than 10% of the numbers that official programs certify. For database credentials, the vendor is a key element in the equation; this also argues that official vendor or sponsor approval for a certification becomes important.

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