Best Database Certifications For 2015

Best Database Certifications For 2015

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.

Over the past three decades, we'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 computingstorage or computer forensics. But the reality is that there has been, is and always will be a need for knowledgeable database professionals at all levels and in a number of related job roles. And the emerging data scientist and data analyst roles are getting a lot of attention these days.

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.

Database Job Roles and Opportunities:

As you read about the various database 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).
  • Database Designer/Database Architect: Researches data requirements for specific applications or users, and designs database structures and application capabilities to match.
  • Data Analyst/Data Scientist: Responsible for analyzing data from multiple disparate sources to discover previously hidden insight, determine meaning behind the data and make business-specific recommendations.
  • 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.

Careful attention to 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, so-called NoSQL databases and more.

That's why the majority of the top five items you're about to encounter relate directly to those very same, and very popular platforms.

Do employers look for database certs? In Table 1, you'll find the results of an informal job search conducted on several high-traffic job boards to see which database certifications employers are looking for when hiring new employees. While the results vary from day to day (and job board to job board), this should provide you with some idea of which certifications employers were seeking when this article was written.

Table 1: Job Board Survey Results

IBM Info Management5317550
ICCP CDMP221163513
MCSA: SQL Server 201210225116216
MCSE Business Intelligence03134317
MCSE Data Platform02693915
MTA DB26414295
Oracle 11g279127572427898
Oracle 12c153352065

We hope you find our top five database certification picks for 2015 useful.

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