Professionals who hold SQL certifications have specific technical skills in programming and are qualified to manage data held in a relational database management system (RDBMS). Getting an SQL certification provides evidence of subject matter expertise in several areas for stream processing in an RDSMS using SQL.
Several organizations offer SQL certifications that are worthwhile for database administrators who work with various SQL databases, so the right certification path will depend on the vendor you want to work with and your career goals.
Top SQL Certifications
The top five SQL certifications include:
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
- Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate
- IBM Certified Database Associate
- EDB PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification
- Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator Certification
Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals
The Microsoft Certified: Azure Data Fundamentals certification is designed for entry-level candidates who started their careers with data in the cloud. Microsoft’s certification in Azure Data Fundamentals validates that the candidates have knowledge of core data concepts—they know how to work with relational and nonrelational data on Azure and how the databases work with PostgreSQL and MySQL.
The certification tests candidates’ skills in working with data on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Around 30 percent of the certification exam focuses on working with relational data using Azure SQL.
The Certified Azure Data Fundamentals credential is best for entry-level candidates who are new to the cloud or just starting with Azure. It’s also a smart choice for professionals who need to validate foundational knowledge of core data concepts including relational data, non-relational data, big data, and analytics.
To receive this certification, candidates have to take the DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals exam. The exam duration is 45 minutes, and the passing score is 700. The cost of the exam is US$99, though the price can vary based on the country or region in which the exam is proctored.
The DP-900: Microsoft Azure Data Fundamentals exam certifies that the candidate can accomplish the following tasks:
- Describe core data concepts
- Identify considerations for relational data on Azure
- Describe considerations for working with non-relational data on Azure
- Describe an analytics workload on Azure
The exam is available in different languages including English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic, and Italian. Microsoft offers free and paid Learning Path courses for this exam and official practice tests are available starting at US$99.
Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate
The Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate credential is designed for beginner and associate-level data professionals or general software developers. Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate verifies that the candidate knows basic SQL concepts, especially using it to work with the Oracle Database server.
The certification tests candidates’ skills with SQL, data modeling, and using SQL to create and manipulate tables in an Oracle Database. This certification is designed to prove the candidate has a working knowledge of SQL statements as well as tables and indexes, data modeling, and normalization.
Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate is best for candidates who have a working knowledge of general computing concepts and have experience working with command line interfaces.
To receive this certification, candidates have to take the Oracle Database SQL 1Z0-071 exam. There are 78 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within the 120-minute duration, and the passing score is 63 percent. The exam duration costs US$245.
In addition to proving an understanding of essential database concepts, the Oracle Database SQL 1Z0-071 exam tests candidates on the following skills:
- Retrieving, restricting, and sorting data
- Using conversion functions and conditional expressions
- Managing multiple tables and controlling access
The Oracle University Learning Path for this credential includes training, plus a practice exam. To prepare for passing the exam Oracle offers training and hands-on experience in the learning subscription.
IBM Certified Database Associate
The IBM Certified Database Associate certification is also designed for beginner and associate-level candidates who started their careers with data. IBM Certified Database Associates have an understanding of the Informix or Db2 relational database management systems.
The certification certifies candidates’ professional skills with Db2 and advanced skills in database design, operation, and security. This certification is designed for the users of any product in the DB2 for LUW family, and it signals that the individual has demonstrated knowledge of the fundamental concepts of the platform through either hands-on experience or formal and informal education.
IBM Certified Database Associates should have an in-depth knowledge of the basic and intermediate requirements for day-to-day database administration:
- A basic knowledge of SQL
- An understanding of which additional products are available with Db2
- A working knowledge of database and object creation
- A basic knowledge of database security and transaction isolation
A new IBM Certified Database Associate exam is released on an annual cadence to reflect the most recent version of the Db2 platform. However, the exam structure and details largely remain consistent from one year to the next.
The exam duration is 90 minutes for a total of 63 questions. Candidates must answer 43 questions (68 percent) to pass the exam. The exam costs US$200.
In general, the Certified Database Associate exam certifies that the candidate can accomplish the following tasks:
- Working with SQL and XML
- Connecting to DB2 servers and other data planning concepts
- Writing database definition language SQL statements
- Knowledge of tables and other application design concepts
This exam is available in English and Japanese. IBM training offers courses and study materials to help candidates prepare to take the exam. An online assessment is available to help candidates gauge their preparedness before taking the exam.
EDB PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification
EnterpriseDB offers the EDB PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification for beginner and associate-level candidates who started their careers with data and PostgreSQL. EDB PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification validates that the candidates have the knowledge to set up, deploy, maintain and monitor high-performance databases for enterprise applications using open source PostgreSQL.
PostgreSQL is one of the highly available and powerful open-source object-relational database systems. The certification assesses candidates’ skills in the fundamental areas necessary to maintain and manage PostgreSQL servers as well as its related applications in an enterprise environment, including how to backup/restore and perform routine maintenance.
EDB’s PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification is for candidates who are responsible for administering and maintaining EDB Postgres Advanced Servers and need to prove that they understand the primary features. The certification is best for candidates who have:
- Experience in database administration and knowledge of RDBMS concepts
- A basic understanding of SQL
- Experience with Linux operating system distributions
To receive this certification, candidates have to take the exam for PostgreSQL 12 Associate Certification. Candidates have one attempt to pass the multiple-choice, hour-long certification exam, and a 70% or above score is considered passing. Candidates can take it anytime within six weeks of purchase and the cost of the exam is $245.
The exam verifies that the candidate can accomplish the following tasks:
- Maintaining and managing a PostgreSQL server
- EDB Postgres Advanced Server-related applications
- PostgreSQL installation and configuration
- User permission management
To prepare for passing the exam candidates are encouraged to complete the Foundations of PostgreSQL course before pursuing this certification.
Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator Certification
The MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator Certification is designed for professional-level data professionals or MySQL database administrators. This credential validates that the candidate has sufficient knowledge of MySQL, an RDBMS developed by Oracle.
The certification signifies that candidates have mastered how to maintain a stable system, optimize query performance, implement backup and recovery strategies, and configure a replication topology. The certification also covers administration concepts like installation, monitoring, and security as well as query optimization and performance.
Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator Certification is worthwhile for candidates who can:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the MySQL architecture
- Perform key administration tasks like installing and configuring a MySQL database
- Monitor MySQL, manage users, and implement MySQL security
To receive this certification, candidates have to take the MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator 1Z0-888 exam. There are 75 multiple-choice questions to complete within the 120-minute time frame, and candidates must answer at least 58 percent of the questions correctly to pass the exam. The cost of the exam is $245.
The MySQL 5.7 Database Administrator 1Z0-888 exam evaluates candidates on the following functions:
- Installing, starting, and stopping MySQL
- Understanding MySQL architecture and managing users
- Identifying security risks and other security aspects of MySQL
The Oracle University Learning Path for this credential includes training and a practice exam.
Benefits of SQL certification
There are several benefits to becoming SQL certified, including career advancement, skill validation, and earning potential increase.
Advance your career
Pursuing a certification is one of the best ways to signify to your employer that you’re ready for the next step in your career. SQL certifications are designed to test your skills with key database administration responsibilities, and the certification you choose will help you increase your knowledge in a particular area with a specific vendor platform.
Validate your skills
SQL certifications are widely accepted around the world by organizations that use SQL databases, servers, and services. Employers want to hire professionals with SQL certifications so they can maximize the potential of their data, so obtaining one of these certifications will quickly separate you from other candidates in a competitive job market.
Increase your earning potential
In the long term, receiving an SQL certification is a major milestone that can pave the way toward higher-paying jobs. Not only do specialized certifications like SQL make your resume stand out in a crowded pool of candidates when looking for a new role, but it also provides a strong foothold when asking for a raise or negotiating a salary.
Is an SQL certification right for you?
SQL certifications aren’t required for every job that needs knowledge of SQL, and employers may prioritize experience over credentials. However, these certifications are still a worthwhile way to demonstrate your skills to job recruiters or hiring managers.
SQL-related certifications can help you prepare for several database professional roles, such as database engineer, SQL developer, MySQL database administrator, senior database administrator, manager, data analyst, and security analyst.
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