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Database Certification Roundup

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There are essentially three ways to divide the database certification market: what is offered by Oracle (which encompasses those from Sun), what is offered by Microsoft, and everything else. In this article, IT expert Emmett Dulaney walks us through today's industry standard database administration (DBA) titles.

There are essentially three ways to divide the database certification market: what is offered by Oracle (which encompasses those from Sun), what is offered by Microsoft, and everything else. We will take a look at the various certifications that fall beneath each of these entries and some of the more relevant facets of each.


When it comes to database certifications, Oracle offers a plethora of designations to confirm knowledge and expertise in installing, running, and repairing its database offerings. As of September 2010, and in coordination with Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, the Oracle Certification Program now includes all existing Java, Solaris, MySQL and OpenOffice certifications. While these certifications have been re-branded under the Oracle name, candidates in the process of studying for their corresponding certification exams are assured that the content and objectives of each exam remains unchanged.

Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Associate—With its second release in September 2009, 11g is the latest version of the Oracle database. The certification path for 11g administrators must be completed in sequential order and begins with the entry-level Certified Associate. In order to be awarded certification, all candidates must pass the Oracle Database 11g: Administration I exam, which covers the basic topics of creating and managing the database, as well as configuring and using the Oracle Network and Shared Server architecture. Additionally, the exam delves into security and recovery of data.

On top of this exam, Certified Associate candidates must also pass one of three elective exams—Introduction to Oracle 9i SQL, Oracle Database SQL Expert, or Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I—to complete their certification. The mandatory Administration I exam consists of 70 multiple-choice questions and costs $195. The three elective exams each contain 50-70 questions and cost $125-195.

Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional—After receiving Associate status, candidates can progress to Oracle’s Certified Professional designation. This level’s exam, Administration II, places a heavier emphasis on the intricacies of data backup and recovery. Candidates are expected to be proficient in using the Oracle Recovery Manager (RMAN) to create multiple forms of backups and perform recovery procedures in the event of critical data loss. The exam contains 78 multiple-choice questions and costs $195.

Moving beyond the exam portion of Professional-level certification, candidates are also required to complete an instructor-led, hands-on course presented in either online or in-class format. As of September 2010, 25 courses and workshops are available to fulfill the requirement, with subject matter including SQL, data warehousing, and RAC and grid infrastructure administration. Candidates looking to enroll in courses should visit Oracle’s website to locate Oracle Authorized Education Centers and schedules of instructor-led online classes.

Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Master—The top tier of 11g certification is Certified Master, which has not been rolled out globally as of September 2010. The certification will require completion of two hands-on courses (drawing from the same course list as the Certified Professional tier) and a two-day performance based exam. Oracle currently lists the exam at a cost of $2000 and plans to announce dates for its global release soon. Candidates working toward Certified Master status may begin completing required courses now and complete the exam upon its release.

To view the complete requirements for every level of Database 11g certification, head to http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=198&p_org_id=&lang=.

Oracle Database Previous Version Certifications—Individuals currently working at companies running older versions of Oracle products may want to receive certification specifically targeted at these databases. Currently, a three-tier certification path—from Associate to Professional to Master—is available for Oracle Database 10g. Candidates will find the exam and course requirements of this hierarchy very similar to that of 11g. For Database 9i, only Associate and Professional-level certification is available.

Database administrators that have achieved certification on previous versions of the Oracle database can upgrade their designation to 11g standards by completing the 11g Certified Master Upgrade Exam. The performance-based assessment has candidates work through hands-on evaluations that test familiarity with the skill sets necessary to manage the new features found in 11g. The exam costs $1000.

To find more information on previous versions of Oracle certification and upgrade options, check out http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=143.

Oracle Specialty Certifications—In addition to the standard certification paths, professionals can also receive a number of specialty certifications focusing on specific aspects of database administration. Currently, special designations for expertise in implementation, security, performance tuning, data warehousing, and Oracle’s Exadata storage servers are available. Many of these specialty certifications are new offerings from Oracle and are currently transitioning from Beta exams to official versions.

A complete list of specialty certifications can be found here http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=342

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