Database Certifications

Popular Database Certifications

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Popular database certifications are always in demand, whether it's Microsoft's MCSA and MCSE SQL certifications, Oracle's OCA, OCP, and OCM or MySql's CMA, CMDEV and CMDBA.

Are you a database professional seeking to polish your resume in the hopes of landing a better gig? Perhaps you're just getting started in database administration, and you'd like to establish your credentials in the field. Database vendors offer a variety of professional certification programs that can help you advance your career while gaining valuable technical skills. After all, even the most seasoned professional has yet to fully explore some nook or cranny of the field that's covered on a certification exam.

So, where do you start? Most database certs are vendor-specific, so you'll want to earn a certification from the company that puts out the software you're currently working with or would like to work with in the future. We'll take a brief look at the credentials available from the major vendors.


If you're an Oracle user, the Oracle Certified Professional program may be for you. There's one catch to this program, however. Before receiving any Oracle credential, all candidates must take at least one instructor-led course. If you just want to pick up the book, study and take the exam, you're out of luck here. Oracle's program includes three tiers of certification, beginning with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate (OCA), progressing through the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) and culminating with the Oracle Database Administrator Certified Master (OCM). Each certification is version-specific, so you'll need to update your certification each time a new version of Oracle rolls off the production line.


Microsoft is a dynamic player in the database certification space, offering a wide range of certifications.

If you're maintaining Microsoft Access databases for your organization, the simplest database credential is the Microsoft Office Specialist Access Track. It is a one-exam certification that covers basic knowledge of Microsoft Access 2013 or 2016.

For SQL Server, Microsoft offers three levels of database-specific certifications from entry, to associate to expert level.

Microsoft's popular database administrator certification MCDBA was retired in September 2012.

  • Entry: Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) for Database. The MTA is an introductory certification that introduces a wide range of fundamental concepts and is a pre-requisite for the associate level.
  • Associate: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) for either SQL 2016 or SQL Server 2012/2014. The MCSA takes your expertise further, covering on-premises and cloud-based systems. The SQL 2016 flavor includes three tracks: Database Development, Database Administration and Business Intelligence Development, each requiring two tests. For SQL Server 2012/2014, just one track is offered, and the certification requires three tests. Either version will qualify you for a position as a database developer.
  • Expert: Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE). It is the premier certification for database developers, analysts or administrators. It comes in two variations: a path focusing on database platforms and a second path for business intelligence professionals. The MCSA certification is a pre-requisite. This certification is in somewhat flux: the existing MCSE Data Platform track was retired on March 31, 2017, and replaced with the new MCSE Data Management and Analytics cert. 


IBM's offers two primary DB2 certifications: a basic Certified Database Administrator cert and an Advanced Database Administrator version. The basic level provides intermediate to advanced knowledge of day-to-day DB2 administration and includes two tests; the advanced level requires three tests and should qualify you to perform advanced database tasks such as performance tuning, security, and networking. 


Finally, if you're a MySQL user, you might find one of their four certifications useful in your career:

  • MySQL Database Administration Certification officially billed as the Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.6 Database Administrator (OCP) cert. Earning this certification will prove your ability to install and optimize MySQL Server, configure replication security, set up backups, and other basic tasks. This certification requires a single exam.
  • MySQL Developer Certification, or Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5.6 Developer (OCP) Certification. This cert ensures your ability to write applications with the MySQL database server, taking advantage of its performance monitoring and diagnostics, multi-threaded replications and new NoSQL interface, among other features. This cert also requires a single exam.

Once you've chosen a credential that's suitable for you, it's time to hit the books and/or take a course and get started on your way to professional certification!