A Database Journal Guide to MySQL 5 Certification

Introduction

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.

Conclusion

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!

Other resources

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Ian Gilfillan

Ian Gilfillan
Ian Gilfillan
Ian Gilfillan lives in Cape Town, South Africa. He is the author of the book 'Mastering MySQL 4', published by Sybex, and has been working with MySQL since 1997. These days he develops mainly in PHP and MySQL, although confesses to starting out with BASIC and COBOL, way back when, and still has a soft spot for Perl. He developed South Africa's first online grocery store, and has developed and taught internet development and other technical courses for various institutions. He has majors in Programming and Information Systems, as well as English and Philosophy. For 5 years he was Lead Developer and IT Manager for Independent Online, South Africa's premier news portal. However, he has now 'retired' from fulltime work, and is hoping that his next book will be more in the style of William Blake and Allen Ginsberg.

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