Database administrators are responsible for the day to day management of database environments, including relational databases management systems, cloud databases, or those used for database-driven web applications. Database administration is a great career choice, with plenty of employment options and (typically) a great salary. The competition for DBA jobs can be fierce, however, and, as such, we recommend getting a database administrator certification. With that in mind, this tutorial highlights some of the best DBA certifications designed to enhance your career.
Looking to learn more about database administration prior to taking a DBA certification exam? Check out our list of the Best Courses for Database Administrators to get started.
What is a Database Administration (DBA) Certification?
A DBA certification is a certificate (paper of digital) a person earns that specifies the owner has acquired experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities related to the administration of a particular type of database system, as well as the ability to manage stored data. There are a slew of database administration certificates available and your choice of which to pursue will largely depend upon your current career or where you would like to see yourself in the future.
Odds are, you will want to pursue multiple DBA certifications in order to enhance your skills and employability (not to mention salary range). For instance, you may want to get certified in managing an MS SQL server and T-SQL (Transaction Structured Query Language) if you want to work in a shop that uses Microsoft-related technology.
There are several types of database administrator certifications to consider as well. As in the above example, some DBA certifications fall in the “proprietary” classification. Proprietary certifications relate to certs that are for specific database vendors, like Microsoft, IBM, or Oracle. Regular DBA certifications, however, will cover topics that are vendor-agnostic, such as SQL, database development, data modeling, or data analysis.
Each type of database certification has its pros and cons and the decision of which to choose will, again, depend on your career path and future goals.
Top DBA Certifications
Below you will find some of the top database administration certifications, listed in no particular order of importance.
Microsoft Certified Azure Database Administrator Associate Certification
The first certification on our list is from Microsoft and is dubbed the Microsoft Certified Azure Database Admin Associate certification. If you are a DBA that uses SQL and Microsoft Azure, this certificate is a must-have. It is a beginner/entry-level certification that consists of a single exam, during which you will need to exhibit the following competencies:
- How to use T-SQL for database administration
- How to build and use an HADR environment (High Availability and Disaster Recovery)
- How to allocate data resources
- How to automate common administrative tasks
If you would like to train for the test, Microsoft has a free training course to let you test your abilities. Those that pass the test receive a digital DBA certification and a Microsoft Certified badge for LinkedIn. The exam costs $165. You can sign-up for the certification exam by visiting its page: Microsoft Certified Azure Database Administrator Associate.
IBM Certified Database Administrator Certification
IBM DB2 is one of the top database systems in the world, regardless of whether you work in a Linux, Unix, or Windows-based environment. It is an intermediate-level database administration certification that validates admins who are capable of routine database administrative tasks, including how to create, update, and maintain databases and write basic SQL. Other requirements of the exam include being able to manage a database server, monitor activity, performance, and availability, as well as, secure a database system.
The certification is made up of two exams, which are each around 60 questions and 90 minutes apiece. Each exam will run $200 (or $400 in total) and are available via Pearson VUE. You can also learn more about the exam by visiting the IBM Certified Database Administrator Certification page.
Certified PostgreSQL DBA (CPSDBA)
For database admins that prefer the SQL flavor of PostgreSQL, the Certified PostgreSQL DBA (CPSDBA) certification is a must. While a bit on the costly side ($2395-2995) and time constrained – you have to complete a series of courses over a 4-day time period – the certification can help open many doors if you are looking for a job as a PostgreSQL DBA.
Day 1 of the certification covers systems architecture, installation and database clusters, and how to create and manage databases. Day 2 is all about database security, monitoring, User Tools and GUI, database configuration, tablespaces, backup, and recovery.
Day 3 tackles routine database maintenance, performance optimization, best practices for upgrading a database, and streaming replication. The program comes to a close on Day 4, which centers around Point-in-Time recovery, how to set up BART, how to load and move data, how to partition tables, and a miscellany of advanced database administration topics.
You can learn more by visiting the Certified PostgreSQL DBA page.
Oracle Certified Professional MySQL Database Administrator Certification
MySQL is one of the most widely used relational database management systems (RDBMS) in the world and is very popular among web developers and PHP programmers – among others. Most database admins will work with MySQL at some point in their career and that makes earning this particular DBA certification worth it.
To earn this MySQL certification, database administrators will need to pass an exam and showcase the following abilities:
- How to install a database server and configure it
- Demonstrate an understanding of database security protocols and security techniques
- Write and optimize MySQL statements and queries
- Employ high availability tactics
- Maintain databases and monitor database processes, as well as upscaling
Oracle offers a training course for this DBA certification through the Oracle University. The exam itself costs $245 and earns DBAs a certificate and online badge for social media platforms and LinkedIn.
You can learn more about this database administration certification, its free course, and take the exam by visiting the Oracle Certified Professional MySQL Database Administrator Certification page.