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Top 10 SQL Server DBA Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top sql server dba certifications available, including details on the exam requirements and benefits of each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 15 min read

Certifications are an important asset for a SQL Server DBA in the job market. Employers often look for certifications when reviewing resumes and interviewing potential candidates, as they demonstrate that the candidate has specialized knowledge and skills in a particular area. Additionally, having certifications can help the candidate stand out from other applicants and gives them an edge over those without certifications. Having certifications also shows employers that the candidate is committed to their profession and is willing to invest time and money into honing their skills. Furthermore, certifications can give employers more confidence when hiring a SQL Server DBA as they know that the candidate has met certain standards of performance.

The purpose of the article is to review certifications for SQL Server DBAs and explain how they can advance a DBA's career.

What are SQL Server DBA Certifications?

SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA) certification is a type of professional credential that demonstrates an individual's expertise in administering and maintaining Microsoft SQL Server databases. It also validates an individual's ability to design, install, configure and manage a SQL Server database system. With a SQL Server DBA certification, professionals can demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the field of database administration, as well as their commitment to staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends.

Having a SQL Server DBA certification can help individuals advance their careers by allowing them to stand out from other job applicants who do not hold such certifications. Additionally, employers may view certified professionals as more qualified for certain positions due to the credibility that comes with having earned a certification. Possessing this credential may also open doors for higher salaries or promotions within current organizations. Furthermore, having a DBA certification indicates that individuals are knowledgeable about best practices related to database administration which can help optimize performance and ensure data integrity.

Pro Tip: If you are considering a SQL Server DBA certification, make sure to research the different certifications available and choose one that best fits your experience and career goals. Be sure to also consider the cost of the certification, as well as any prerequisites required, such as previous experience in database administration or related technology.

Related: What does an SQL Server DBA do?

Top 10 SQL Server DBA Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to SQL Server DBAs today.

1. Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Management and Analytics

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE): Data Management and Analytics is a certification program that validates a professional’s skills in designing, building, and managing data solutions using Microsoft technologies. It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s ability to create business intelligence solutions, develop data warehouses, and manage enterprise data with Microsoft SQL Server.

The MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification requires passing four exams: 70-461: Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014; 70-462: Administering Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases; 70-463: Implementing a Data Warehouse with Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014; and 70-464: Developing Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 Databases.

It typically takes around 3 months of study to prepare for the exams. However, this timeline can vary depending on the individual's experience level. The best way to prepare for the MCSE is by taking online courses or attending instructor-led classes from an accredited training provider. Additionally, there are several books and other resources available online to help you study for the exam.

The cost of the MCSE: Data Management and Analytics certification varies depending on where you take your exams. Generally speaking, each exam costs around $150 USD per attempt. You may also need to pay additional fees for certifications such as retake fees or proctoring fees if applicable.

2. Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2016 Database Administration

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA): SQL Server 2016 Database Administration is a certification that validates an individual’s skills and knowledge in administering, configuring, and managing databases using Microsoft SQL Server 2016. The certification requires passing two exams: Exam 70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure and Exam 70-765: Provisioning SQL Databases.

It typically takes about 6 months to prepare for the MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Administration certification. To get certified, you will need to pass both of the required exams with a score of 700 or higher on each exam. You can find study materials, practice tests, and other resources online to help you prepare for the exams.

The cost of taking the two required exams is $165 each. So, the total cost of getting your MCSA: SQL Server 2016 Database Administration certification is $330.

3. Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP): SQL Server 2016 Database Administration

Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP): SQL Server 2016 Database Administration is a certification from Microsoft that validates the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in administering and managing databases on the SQL Server 2016 platform. This certification is designed for individuals who have experience with database administration, including installation, configuration, maintenance, performance tuning, security, backup and recovery.

How long does it take to get it?

The amount of time required to obtain this certification depends on your current level of experience with SQL Server 2016 Database Administration. Generally speaking, you should expect to spend at least 6-12 months studying and preparing for the exam.

How to get it?

To obtain this certification you must first pass Exam 70-764: Administering a SQL Database Infrastructure. This exam consists of 60-70 questions and must be completed within two hours. You can register for the exam through Prometric or Pearson VUE testing centers or online through Microsoft’s website.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the exam varies depending on where you take it, but generally ranges between $150-$200 USD.

4. Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional

Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) is a professional certification offered by Oracle Corporation. It is designed to validate the skills and knowledge of IT professionals in administering Oracle databases. The OCP certification requires candidates to pass two exams: one on database administration fundamentals, and one on a specific version of the Oracle Database software.

It usually takes between six months and one year to complete the requirements for the OCP certification, depending on the candidate's experience level and study habits. To get certified, candidates must first register with Oracle University and then take a training course from an authorized Oracle instructor. After completing the course, they must pass both exams with a score of 70% or higher.

The cost of getting certified depends on where you take your training course. Courses can range from $1,500-$2,500 USD per person depending on location and duration of the class. Additionally, there are exam fees associated with taking each exam that range from $150-$200 USD per exam.

5. Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional

Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional (OCP) is an Oracle certification program that validates a professional’s knowledge and skills in administering Oracle Database 12c. It is designed for IT professionals who have experience in the installation, configuration, and maintenance of Oracle Database 12c.

To become an OCP, you must complete two exams: the 1Z0-062: Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration exam and the 1Z0-063: Oracle Database 12c: Advanced Administration exam. The exams are administered by Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers.

The time it takes to get certified depends on how much time you can dedicate to studying for the exams. Generally speaking, it takes around 3 months to prepare for the exams if you study full-time.

In order to get certified, you must register with Oracle University and pay a fee of $245 per exam. The total cost of becoming an OCP is approximately $490 USD.

6. IBM Certified Database Administrator – DB2 10.1 Fundamentals

IBM Certified Database Administrator – DB2 10.1 Fundamentals is an entry-level certification that validates a candidate’s skills and knowledge in the administration of IBM DB2 10.1 databases. It is designed for database administrators who are responsible for the installation, configuration, maintenance, and performance of DB2 10.1 databases.

The certification exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. To obtain this certification, you must pass one exam: Exam C2090-013: IBM Certified Database Administrator – DB2 10.1 Fundamentals (Exam C2090-013). The cost of the exam is $200 USD.

To prepare for the exam, candidates should have a good understanding of database concepts, SQL syntax, and DB2 architecture and features. Additionally, they should be familiar with the installation process for DB2 10.1 on Linux/Unix/Windows operating systems as well as basic database administration tasks such as creating databases and tablespaces, configuring security settings, monitoring database performance, and backing up databases.

7. Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7

Red Hat Certified Engineer in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHCE) is a certification program that validates the skills and knowledge of experienced system administrators to deploy, configure, manage, and troubleshoot Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 systems. It is an industry-recognized credential that demonstrates proficiency in enterprise-level system administration tasks.

To become a RHCE, you must pass the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) exam as well as the RHCE exam. The RHCSA exam covers system administration basics such as user management, package installation and management, basic security settings, and more. The RHCE exam focuses on more advanced topics such as network configuration, storage management, virtualization technologies, and automation tools.

The RHCSA and RHCE exams are both performance-based exams that require hands-on experience with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 systems. The RHCSA exam takes approximately 2 hours to complete while the RHCE exam can take up to 4 hours depending on the complexity of the tasks included in the test.

You can take either or both exams at any authorized Red Hat Training Partner location or online through an approved proctoring service provider. The cost for each exam varies depending on where you take it but typically ranges from $400-$500 USD per exam.

8. Cloudera Certified Administrator for Apache Hadoop (CCAH)

Cloudera Certified Administrator for Apache Hadoop (CCAH) is a certification program offered by Cloudera, Inc. It is designed to validate an individual's skills and knowledge in administering Apache Hadoop clusters. The certification is based on the official Apache Hadoop Distribution from Cloudera.

The CCAH exam consists of 8-10 multiple choice questions and takes about 90 minutes to complete. To get the certification, one must pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher.

To prepare for the CCAH exam, it is recommended that individuals have hands-on experience in setting up, configuring and managing Apache Hadoop clusters. Additionally, it is also recommended that they have knowledge of related technologies such as HDFS, MapReduce, Hive, Pig, Oozie and Sqoop.

The cost of the CCAH exam varies depending on location and currency exchange rates but typically ranges from $295 - $400 USD per attempt.

9. MongoDB Certified DBA Associate

MongoDB Certified DBA Associate is a certification program offered by MongoDB, Inc. that tests and validates the skills and knowledge of database administrators who are responsible for managing MongoDB databases. The certification covers topics such as installation, configuration, security, data modeling, querying, indexing, replication, sharding, and performance tuning. It is designed to demonstrate an individual’s expertise in administering MongoDB databases.

The certification exam takes approximately 2 hours to complete and consists of 60 multiple choice questions. Candidates must score at least 70% on the exam to pass and receive their certification.

To get certified as a MongoDB Certified DBA Associate, candidates must register for the exam through the MongoDB University website. The cost of the exam is $150 USD. Once registered for the exam, candidates will have 90 days to take it before it expires.

10. CompTIA Database+ Certification

CompTIA Database+ certification is an industry-recognized credential that validates the knowledge and skills of database professionals. It is designed to help IT professionals demonstrate their ability to design, implement, manage, and troubleshoot databases in a variety of environments.

The CompTIA Database+ certification exam covers topics such as database security, data modeling and normalization, SQL queries and statements, and database administration. The exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions which must be completed within 90 minutes. To pass the exam, candidates must achieve a score of 750 or higher on a scale of 100-900.

To obtain the CompTIA Database+ certification, individuals must first complete the CompTIA A+ certification or have equivalent experience in the field. After completing this requirement, they can register for the CompTIA Database+ exam through Pearson VUE or Prometric testing centers.

The cost of the CompTIA Database+ exam varies depending on location but typically ranges from $250-$300 USD.

Do You Really Need a SQL Server DBA Certificate?

When it comes to deciding whether or not you need an SQL Server DBA certificate, the answer depends on your individual situation. If you are already a skilled database administrator, then a certification may not be necessary as you likely have all the knowledge and experience needed to excel in this field. However, if you are relatively new to database administration, then obtaining an SQL Server DBA certificate can be beneficial.

The main advantage of getting certified is that it can help prove your competency and knowledge of SQL Server databases. It demonstrates that you have taken the time to learn and understand the fundamentals of database administration and can apply them in a professional setting. Certification also shows employers that you are serious about your career and have invested in yourself by taking the time to invest in your education. This can give employers confidence in your abilities and make them more willing to hire you for positions requiring database administration skills.

In addition, having a certification can open up many different opportunities for career advancement. For example, employers may be more likely to promote those with certifications or provide additional training opportunities for those who possess one. Having a certification also makes it easier for potential employers to see what kind of qualifications you possess as they will show up on your resume or job application much like an academic degree would.

Ultimately, whether or not an SQL Server DBA certificate is necessary for you depends on your own individual situation and goals. If you are already an experienced database administrator then there may be no need for additional certifications; however if you are just starting out or looking to advance your career then obtaining one could be beneficial.

Related: SQL Server DBA Resume Examples

FAQs About SQL Server DBA Certifications

1. What are the requirements for obtaining a SQL Server DBA Certification?

Answer: The requirements vary depending on the type of certification you are applying for, but typically involve completing a course of study and passing an associated exam. Additionally, some certifications may require experience in working with databases and/or other related technologies.

2. What is the cost of getting a SQL Server DBA Certification?

Answer: The cost of certification varies depending on the type of certification you are pursuing and the provider offering it. Generally, prices range from $100 to $500 USD per certification.

3. Is there any benefit to getting certified as a SQL Server DBA?

Answer: Yes! Having a certification can help demonstrate your expertise to employers or provide you with additional credibility when applying for jobs or contracts. Additionally, some employers may offer salary increases or bonuses to employees who have earned certifications in their field.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a SQL Server DBA?

Answer: This depends on the type of certification and how quickly you can complete the necessary coursework and exams. Generally speaking, most courses can be completed within 6 months if studied full-time, although this timeframe may vary depending on individual circumstances.

5. Are there any online resources available to help me prepare for my SQL Server DBA Certification exam?

Answer: Yes! There are many online resources available that can help you prepare for your exam, such as practice tests, tutorials, study guides, and more. Additionally, many providers offer study materials specifically designed to help prepare for their own exams.