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Posted Jun 27, 2006

A Database Journal Guide to MySQL 5 Certification

By Ian Gilfillan


Last year I wrote a two-part series entitled the Database Journal Guide to MySQL certification. Part one covered the core certification, and part two the professional certification. Those two articles covered the MySQL 4 certification. Although it is still possible to achieve MySQL 4 certification, MySQL development has been rapid over the last year, and MySQL 5 is now the latest stable version. MySQL AB has released their MySQL 5 certification as beta, and many developers and DBA's are choosing the newer certification. Consequently, it is time this month for a Database Journal Guide to MySQL 5 Certification.

Developer and DBA

MySQL has changed the exam structure. Rather than having a simple hierarchical structure, with a core exam aimed at developers, and a professional exam aimed at DBA's, with it only being possible to sit for the professional after obtaining the core, there is now a separate DBA and a Developer stream. If a candidate already has the MySQL 4 core certification, they can take a single upgrade exam to achieve the MySQL 5 Developer certification. If a candidate has the MySQL Professional Certification, they can take a single upgrade exam to achieve MySQL 5 DBA certification.

Everyone else though has to sit through two exams to obtain either certification. There are the Developer 1 and Developer 2 exams, and the DBA 1 and DBA 2 exams. There is no forced hierarchy though, and the exams can be taken in any order, although logically the concepts tested in the second exam follow on from those tested in the first exam. This month's article focuses on the MySQL Developer Stream.

Why certify?

In brief, the benefits to the employee are that they are more attractive to an employer. As someone who hires staff, I can say that it is often little things that make the difference on that resume, and certified developer/DBA does stand out. Perhaps the true benefit for all parties is that the process of studying for the certification results in a greater understanding of MySQL. Developers I know who have taken the certification have commented that they feel more comfortable doing their MySQL-related work after studying for the test. An employee feels more confident working with MySQL, and an employer more confident that their staff can do the job required. With the separation of the two certifications into two streams, there is less pressure for a developer to do the more impressive-sounding professional certification, when really the developer stream may be more suitable. Developers are no less professional than DBA's, but their needs differ.

MySQL Developer 1

This section, and the next, summarize all topics covered in the MySQL 5 developer exams (as of June 2006), as well as links to relevant resources. The percentage figure indicates how much of the total exam is devoted to that particular topic.

MySQL Developer 2

There is no need to take the MySQL Developer 2 exam after MySQL Developer 1 - the exams can be taken in either order. However, Developer 2's topics are more advanced, and when learning MySQL should only be tackled after grasping the topics covered in Developer 1.


If you have sufficient practical experience in using MySQL, and with such a host of online and offline resources, there is no reason you can't succeed in achieving MySQL certification the first time. Even if you decide not to take the test, preparing for it can be a useful way to improve your skills. Good luck!

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» See All Articles by Columnist Ian Gilfillan

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