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Dear CF members
I have passed the A+ last year and recently i am studying the N+ (chapter 8 at the moment). I really want to become a database administrator, what training or certifcations would I need? How difficult is it to be a database administrator? The reason is because database admin seem to relate more to computer science. I might be wrong but I want to be clear about which cert I need.
Thanks for any advice in advance.
Although most of the certification magazines/vendors suggest getting a cert is the only way, you have to remember these organizations have a vested interest. If possible try volunteering to do some DBA work. Learn the high-level strengths and weaknesses of various databases (i.e. Oracle; SQL) and what doors these might open. Time and time again as shown experience is the key...
For more information on database certs, here's an article that may help.
You want to be a DBA? Today that means knowing how to program SQL, at a minimum, design database structures, understand how recognize how data should fit into a database, etc... as well as how to administer a database server.
If you move into the open source world knowing Perl, C, etc... will come in handy as Postgres uses those languages for stored procedures.
I would say your best chance is to intern somewhere that will train you from the ground up if you don't have the educational background in math and computer science that most places look for. Certifications without experience in this area are a waste of time and money as no one is going to hire you as a DBA with no experience. This area is just too complex, too critical to a business' survival, for any business to trust a newbie at the controls of their database.
Sunn and Freddy are on the mark... you don't just hop into a DBA job from scratch without any IT experience. It's certainly worth shooting for down the line in your IT career. Usually, network admins or programmers decide that they want to become DBAs after having real-world exposure to databases.
I'd add here that at least you need to get a little hands-on experience with some databases. This will tell you whether aiming for DBA is *really* what you want.
Oracle (personal edition), MySQL and PostgreSQL are all available free for downloading.
thanks for the advice, the reason is i want to be become a dba is because i think my strength is on the programming side, having said that I still want to get the N+ because i think it's a good entry cert to have.
I have knowledge of C, C++, VB, HTML and Microsoft Access. I don't have any knowledge of any SQL.
i haven't dare to ask or write letters to any companiesto take me on to gain some work experience. The reason is because I havent got enough knowledge of SQL to enable to try it out in real world. I want to be sure that I got all the knowledge and able to apply it to real world. I realise that even volunteering they are asking for experience.
My educational background is up to a BTEC which isn't a great but its about computing and hope that would make some difference.
Having looked at most recruitment websites, most emplyeer wants a computer science degree or related for a programming or dba position. I am not confident enough to send my cv out because i dont think my educational background isn't great.
At the moment my age and finance won't allow me to study 3-4 years at a university full time so all i can do is self study. this fit in to my other commitments.
Hm - programming and DBA aren't really that close.
For small companies they might be combined, but in our organization the DBAs don't do programming and the programmers aren't DBAs.
Sure the DBAs know SQL, but their main strength is in administrating our big Oracle databases.
I agree with what freddy said. The role of the pure DBA is becomming rarer and rarer, nowadays programmers and sysadmins do a lot of DBA duties. Modern RDBMS do a much better job of self configuring and optimising. Only in fairly big companies for production critical systems are DBA positions still kept, even then often its a sysadmin a lot of the time, with maybe contract DBA's for initial set up.
As far as database creation and design this is normally performed by Analyst/Developers these days, with maybe a little tweaking here and there by a DBA.
Harry's advice of learning the basics first is good advice. If you know so little about being a DBA and SQL how do you know it would interest you ? Nearly all business computing or web development requires at least some knowlege of RDBMS's these days.
Its highly unlikely that you would have not encountered databases and SQL if you have done any significant work with these languages/technologies. In fact Access is a database, just a rather poor one.I have knowledge of C, C++, VB, HTML and Microsoft Access. I don't have any knowledge of any SQL.
Nowadays most people use Access as a form designer to sit on top of SQLServer, there are many editions of SQLServer including the free Express edition meaning the Access Jet DB engine will probably eventually be phased out.You may not know it, but if you've been using Access, you've also been using SQL. "No!" you may say. "I've never used anything called SQL." That's because Access does such a great job of using it for you. The thing to remember is that for every data-oriented request you make, Access converts it to SQL under the covers.
Thanks for all the reply and help, i appreaciate the advice given and last night I spent thinking which route I want to go, my conclusion is since DBA become rarer I would like to new programming instead because it seems a its got topics about SQL, Oracle etc...
Now I have decided programming is the path, is the N+ still a certificate I would need if I wish to become a programmer? the reason is because N+ seem to be more technical and I don't know whether i need it or not.
Thinking that a computer science degree more employable, is there any entry programming certificate I can obtain in order to obtain a job in near future?
From what I've read, the MCDBA is being phased out as it's specific to SQL Server 2000, so have a look at MCTS and the SQL Server Developer 2005 MCITP courses (the MCTS is the first stage before doing the MCITP; there's also a MCITP DBA course; I'm planning on doing both to cover my options).
SQL Server is a lot easier to break into than Oracle, so it would probably be a better investment. And don't worry about doing a Computer Science degree - you'd be much better off with technical certs!
The MCDBA has not been phased out yet, microsoft informs of expiry a year in advance, I expect they will announce its expiry this june, tis therefore leaves just over a year left to pass all the exams.
The MCDBA cert is on old technology and probably less well structured than the new cert track, however the cert does last for life and is somewhat catchier than the new MCITP title. The new MCITP certs expire after threee years I believe.
So you have two paths, take the old track and upgrade to MCITP or take the new track. Check the microsoft site to get it straight from the horses mouth.
It sounds like you've already started with a programmer slant, only you can determine if this is for you or if you would prefer something different, I'd advise learning as much as you can about what you find interesting and then making a decision. If you do what you love you will find a way to make money out of it later...
I should clarify what I meant... I was reading around on a lot of forums etc a few weeks ago and the feedback was generally that if you haven't started on the MCDBA yet, then don't, as the expectation is that MS will cease to support SS2k in 2008 (and also, fewer exams. And newer technology).
There were also suggestions that it could be better to do the MCITP as there are relatively fewer people qualified compared to all the people with MCDBAs.
(Sign up to sqlservercentral.com if you'd like to read more, there's about six threads alone on MCDBA vs MCITP )
My own opinion is that MCDBA is far more widely recognised and accepted than MCITP at present, as it's such a new qualification; also, use of SS2k is extremely widespread so it's still a useful system to train on. (If I'm still vaguely sane after my laundry list of certs to get through, then I'd like to do the MCDBA for those reasons).
The main reason for suggesting the MCITP is because of the developer stream, if that's what you decide you want to do.
Hope I didn't confuse
Thus, my recommendation is the same as it ever was: certify on the oldest technology, and upgrade forward. Eventually, you won't be able to get those older certifications anymore... then, you'll have it, and "they" won't. Who do you think will look more attractive to an employer: someone who has the SQL 2008 certification, the SQL 2008 and 2005 certifications, or the SQL 2008 and 2005 AND 2000 certifications?
I'm in a similar boat, these posts were a great help.
Are there any entry level generic SQL certs? As I'm really unsure where I'm going yet, and I'm thinking 6 months or so down the line after I get some experience.