A Database Journal Guide to MySQL Certification: Part 1, Core Certification
By Ian Gilfillan
The value of certification
I recently arranged for
the developers at our company to get MySQL certified. From the employer's point
of view, it was not the piece of paper I was after. Rather, the improved
productivity that properly-trained MySQL users could provide. The benefits have
been noticeable. The number of badly written queries has decreased, saving
everyone time and effort. The developers feel more confident using MySQL, and
can use features they previously had not known existed.
There are two sources of
MySQL certification that I know about. One is the BrainbenchMySQL
3.23 certification, and the other one, much more well-known, and more
credible, is the official MySQL certification, which consists of two levels,
Core (for MySQL users) and Professional (for MySQL administrators). The
Brainbench one is rather outdated. Since the latest stable release, MySQL 4.1,
is two major versions away from 3.23, there is not much benefit to be gained
from the Brainbench certification. Also, Brainbench tests are seen as less
credible because they can be done online, without supervision, but this can
easily be overcome by an employer ensuring the test is done on their premises
(and Brainbench offers a free repeat test to employers if they wish to validate
an employees certification).
Nevertheless, the rest of
this article focuses on the official MySQL Core certification. What follows is
a reference for people studying for the Core certification, including a list of
topics covered in the Core exam, as well as resources from mainly the MySQL
site and Database Journal that you can use to enhance your studies.
MySQL Core Certification
The test covers MySQL
4.1, and tests the typical skills required by a MySQL usersomeone using MySQL,
such as a developer. In general, this includes data definition (creating,
modifying and deleting databases and tables) and data manipulation (inserting,
modifying, deleting and selecting data).
The complete list of exam
topics (as defined by MySQL in March 2005) follows, as well as links to
relevant Database Journal and other articles that can help you study this
MySQL AB (the MySQL company) and the MySQL database server (5%). This includes
the difference between MySQL and MySQL AB, core values of the company and how
it operates, the GNU and commercial licenses, mailing lists and the reference
Systems, MySQL distributions and other Software (10%). Includes major program
components used in MySQL, major OS families supported by MySQL, differences
between major distributions, client interfaces
Definition Language (20%). Includes general database and table properties,
storage engines, size limits, identifier syntax, creating and dropping
databases, creating, modifying and dropping tables and indexes, primary keys,
column types, AUTO_INCREMENT, string and number formats (including MySQL 4.1
TIMESTAMP), viewing table structures.
Statements (15%). Includes selecting columns, the WHERE condition, ORDER BY,
LIMIT, GROUP BY, HAVING, DISTINCT and UNION, as well as the MySQL 4.1-specific
GROUP_CONCAT() and GROUP BY ... WITH ROLLUP.
(10%). In particular, SQL expressions and functions, pattern matching with LIKE
and wildcards, the IN() function, case sensitivity, reserved words as
identifiers, NULLs and comments, prepared statements.
Exporting Data: (5%). This includes the LOAD DATA INFILE and SELECT INTO
OUTFILE statements, the privileges required for these statements, using files
on the server and client, limiting and ordering the results, and handling
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