CloseUp: MySQL Database Certification Program

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In early March 2003, MySQL AB of Sweden—the parent organization for the wildly popular MySQL open-source database engine—announced it would be launching a multi-tiered certification program for database professionals interested in establishing credentials on this platform. The overall program is called Certified MySQL 4 Professional. On May 7, the first credential—the MySQL Core Certification—went commercial. A second credential—the MySQL Professional Certification—is currently in beta. Thus, this program presents interested database professionals with opportunities to get involved, to become certified and even to pursue a “certification ladder” if they so choose.

The certification program’s sponsor, MySQL AB, also presents some compelling numbers that indicate that these credentials might have some market potential. On its Web site, MySQL AB reports that more than 4 million MySQL installations are up and running worldwide. It also estimates that there are “tens of thousands” of individuals active in the MySQL community of database professionals, including operators, administrators and developers. To quote from the press release that announced the program, the Certified MySQL 4 Professional program’s primary goal is to “enhance the professional credibility and marketability of all MySQL developers.” (For more information, visit

The initial program announcement includes four credentials in total. Only one is currently available, and three more are planned.

MySQL Core Certification
This entry-level certification permits MySQL professionals to demonstrate basic proficiency in SQL, data entry, database updates and maintenance, data extraction and reporting techniques and more. As a prerequisite for other MySQL credentials, it is also a stepping-stone to more senior certifications in the program. The commercial version of this exam is currently available and costs $200 through Pearson VUE ( See for more information.

MySQL Professional Certification
As the primary database professional credential in the program, the MySQL Professional certification covers key database operation and planning topics, including database management and installation, along with access and application security. Business continuity planning, backup and disaster prevention also receive strong emphasis, as do tools and techniques for optimizing MySQL databases. The beta version of this exam has been available since April 11; the commercial version is due some time in the third quarter of 2003. Obtaining MySQL Core Certification is a prerequisite for this exam, which will cost $250 once it’s available. See for more information.

Certified MySQL PHP Developer
Given the profound popularity of MySQL in tandem with the PHP scripting language, it’s no surprise that this combination also sets the focus for MySQL’s first planned developer certification. This credential seeks to confirm knowledge and skills for those who design, build or maintain Web sites or using MySQL and PHP. This program is expected to be available before the end of 2003, but no details have been divulged.

MySQL DBA Certification
The database administrator (DBA) credential for MySQL represents the most senior-level credential. As such, it’s aimed at knowledgeable, experienced MySQL professionals responsible for design and implementation of complex MySQL databases and for development and deployment of MySQL-based applications and services. This certification is targeted for release some time in 2004, but no details have been divulged about it either.

Given that the numbers for the MySQL installed bases and professional/developer populations, plus MySQL’s appeal for the growing class of business Linux users, this program has real marketplace potential. It’s not unreasonable to expect the certified population to cross the 5,000 mark by the end of 2003, and it may do better than that.

Those IT professionals who already use or know MySQL will find this program interesting and potentially valuable. In fact, any IT professional who is considering database certification should investigate its coverage and offerings. As a well-recognized product with a 4 million-plus installed base and thousands of interested, skilled MySQL professionals, the program may be of real value to those seeking ways to warrant their database knowledge and experience.

Ed Tittel is vice president of IT certification at and contributing editor for Certification Magazine. E-mail Ed with your questions and comments at


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