Carsten Pedersen is the MySQL Certification Manager and has led the development of the MySQL certification program since its inception. He has also taught several MySQL courses in a number of countries. He is a co-author of the MySQL Certification Study Guide.
By Carsten PedersenThe following is the foreword of the MySQL 5.0 Certification Study Guide. It outlines the changes that are being made in the MySQL certification program, and provides the reasons why those changes were made.
For the past many years, the MySQL® Relational Database Management System has been the most widely adopted Open Source database system in the world. With the release of MySQL version 5.0, adoption of MySQL into the enterprise sector of companies is certain to grow even faster than ever before. When the first edition of the MySQL Certification Study Guide was published in April 2004, we noted how MySQL adoption had grown to an estimated 4 million installations. At the time of writing, that estimate has risen to more than 8 million — and by the time you read this, who knows?
With that kind of adoption rate, the need for qualified personnel to write applications for, and to manage, MySQL installations increases dramatically. Not only will many more companies be moving to MySQL; many companies that already employ MySQL will be using it in larger and larger parts of their organizations, perhaps to support new functionality, perhaps to replace legacy systems.
Whether you are new to MySQL certification, know a little bit about it, or already hold the Core or Professional certification titles, you should know that many changes are taking place in the transition from the version 4.0/4.1 exams to the version 5.0 exams.
When we launched the MySQL Certification program in late 2002, two exams gave us ample opportunity to test on most, if not all, of the important bits of the MySQL universe. When MySQL 4.1 came out, a small — but significant — set of features was added: prepared statements, better character set support, subqueries, and more. The additional feature list of MySQL version 5.0 is much too long to mention here. Suffice to say, there is no way we could pack all of this into just two exams, and so we have had to revisit and revise the structure of the certification and the exams.
Another reason to revisit the exam structure are the changes that have evolved among MySQL users in the last few years. When the certification program was launched, a common situation in a company using MySQL was that those who wrote application programs were also the ones doing the database administration. This is of course still the case in many places, but as MySQL adoption grows, a trend of increasing specialization is becoming apparent. Today, there is often a more clear-cut split between those who do application development, and those who do database administration. All in all, this gave us another reason to look into the existing certification exam structure and consider whether it meets the needs of our users.
Finally, there was a small, but to many certification candidates very annoying, thing about the MySQL Certification program: The titles of “Core” and “Professional” do not really convey what the certified user does as part of his or her workday. Moreover, what do you call someone that is Core certified? It's not exactly easy to come up with a snappy title to go along with that. Those issues, too, have been addressed by the new exam layout.
So here is what all of those changes amount to for the MySQL version 5.0 exams:
There are still two levels of certification to pass, but they are now called Developer and Database Administrator (DBA) certifications.
The titles that belong with the two certification levels will be Certified MySQL Developer (CMDEV) and Certified MySQL Database Administrator (CMDBA), respectively.
For the 4.x exams, having the Core certification was a prerequisite to attaining the Professional certification. There is no longer such a prerequisite requirement.
There will be two exams per certification level. If you wish to attain both titles, you will need to pass four exams.
The MySQL Developer Certification ensures that the candidate knows and is able to make use of all the features of MySQL that are needed to develop and maintain applications that use MySQL for back-end storage.
The MySQL Database Administrator Certification attests that the person holding the certification knows how to maintain and optimize an installation of one or more MySQL servers, and perform administrative tasks such as monitoring the server, making backups, and so forth.
Passing a MySQL certification exam is no easy feat. That's not just me saying so; the statistics tell the story: 40 to 50 percent will fail an exam the first time they take it. So how do you better your chances of passing? This study guide gives you the basis for doing just that: By reading the main text, you get the needed background knowledge; by following the examples and doing the exercises, you get the understanding of what is going on inside MySQL whenever you perform a given action.
There is of course something that no amount of reading and exercise solving can give you, and that is the experience that allows you to extrapolate from knowledge and understanding and tackling situations that might at first seem unfamiliar. This you can get only by hands-on work with MySQL. To this end, MySQL AB (the company that develops MySQL and related products and services) offers several training programs that could be beneficial to you. More information on the MySQL training and certification programs may be found on the MySQL AB Web site (see http://www.mysql.com/training).
Thanks go to Lisa Scothern, Trudy Pelzer and Peter Gulutzan, each of whom made extensive reviews on the book's contents and provided a lot of valuable feedback.
Working with people like Stefan and Paul is always a great source of inspiration. And when the result is something like this book, the sense of enjoyment is certainly not lessened. As for you, dear reader, I hope you will feel some of the same enjoyment when you get to frame your new MySQL 5.0 certificate and hang it on the wall.
Good luck on your exams!