Best Database Certifications for 2014
Savvy, talented and knowledgeable database professionals are always in demand. Here are some of the best certifications for DBAs, database developers, data analysis and architects, BI and data warehousing specialists and anyone else working with databases.
I've been working with and around database management systems since I was still in graduate school, when it was my privilege and pleasure to work on a very early object-oriented database prototype, and on an aerospace design database for NASA. Over the past three decades, I've seen a lot of database platforms come and go, but there's never been any question that database technology can be a crucial component for all kinds of applications and computing tasks.
Database certifications may not be as sexy or bleeding edge as cloud computing, storage, or computer forensics. But the reality is that there has been, is, and always will be a need for savvy, talented, and knowledgeable database professionals at all levels and in a number of related job roles.
To get a better grasp of the available database certifications, it's useful to group them around specific database-related job roles. In part, this reflects the maturity of database technology, and its integration into most aspects of commercial, scientific, and academic computing.
As you read about the various certification programs, keep these job roles in mind:
- Database Administrator (DBA): Responsible for installing, configuring, and maintaining a database management system (DBMS). Often tied to a specific platform such as Oracle, MySQL, DB2, SQL Server, and others.
- Database Developer: Works with generic and proprietary APIs to build applications that interact with DBMSs (also platform specific, as with DBA roles).
- Data Analyst/Designer (aka Database Architect): Researches data requirements for specific applications or users, and designs database structures and application capabilities to match.
- Data Mining/Business Intelligence (BI) Specialist: Specializes in dissecting, analyzing, and reporting on important data streams, such as customer data, supply chain data, transaction data and histories, and others.
- Data Warehousing Specialist: Specializes in assembling and analyzing data from multiple operational systems (orders, transactions, supply chain information, customer data, and so forth) to establish data history, analyze trends, generate reports and forecasts, and support general ad hoc queries.
About the Author
Ed Tittel is a 30-year-plus IT veteran who's worked as a programmer, technical manager, instructor, network consultant and technical evangelist for companies including Burroughs, Schlumberger, Novell, IBM/Tivoli and NetQoS. He has written for numerous publications and is the author of over 140 books with a special emphasis on information security, Web markup languages and development tools, and Windows operating systems.
Careful attention to the these database job roles implies two important kinds of information.
First, a good general background in relational database management systems, including an understanding of the Structured Query Language (SQL) is a basic prerequisite for all database professionals.
Second, although various efforts to standardize database technology exist, much of the whiz-bang capability that databases and database applications can deliver come from proprietary, vendor-specific technologies. Most serious, heavy-duty database skills and knowledge are tied to specific platforms, including various Oracle products (such as the open source MySQL environment), Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2 and other platforms, so-called NoSQL databases, and more.
That's why the majority of the top 5 items you're about to encounter relate directly to those very same, and very popular, platforms.