A Guide to Database Server Certifications

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Discover common database servers, certifications offered, the importance of server certifications for job growth and how to become a database professional.

[Featured image] A woman, with red hair wearing a white jacket, blue top, and glasses. She is sitting in front of her laptop studying for her database server certification.

Database administrators are vital to companies that store and work with high volumes of data. As the amount of data collected increases, so does the need for quality database administrators. Database server certifications can increase your employability while expanding your knowledge and skills. The first step in acquiring a certification is to decide which one to obtain, followed by enrolling and passing the required exam.

What are database server certifications?

Database server certifications are tests that confirm your knowledge of a specific proprietary platform. Efforts have been made to standardize database platforms; however, most current certifications are designed for a particular platform.

Why complete a server certification?

Having a server certification is significant to increasing your desirability to employers. By showing a high competency level in the platform an employer uses, you can gain an advantage over other applicants. A server certification can also help grow your role in a company through promotions or raises.

Certification levels

When deciding which certification to pursue, it’s important to note that database platforms can have multiple certifications. Oracle, for example, offers Oracle DB Certified Associate, Oracle DB Certified Professional, and Oracle DB Certified Master. Each certification increases total competency and can allow for continued growth. Once you decide which platform to become certified in, it’s important to note the levels of certifications to find the one that best fits your goals.

Read more: IT Certification Roadmap: A Guide

Why are there different certifications?

There are different certifications because there isn’t one industry-standard database platform. Companies choose which platform to utilize, potentially requiring you to learn a platform you have not used before. Common platforms are MySQL (Oracle), SQL Server (Microsoft), and DB2 (IBM). 

Read more: How to Get IT Certifications in 5 Steps

Which certification should you pursue?

Not one certification is better than the other since there isn’t an industry-standard platform. This decides which certificate to choose more personal to your career needs and your current skill set. 

Read more: Are Certifications Worth It? When to Get Certified in Your IT Career

Consider the job role and look at job advertisements.

The first step to finding the right certificate for you is to research the requirements of your current and future employers. You can find which platform they use by reading through their job postings or LinkedIn. Some jobs that use database servers in their roles are:

  • Database administrator (DBA)

  • Database designer/database architect

  • Data analyst/data scientist

  • Data mining/business intelligence (BI) specialist

  • Data warehousing specialist

Most job listings will include skill requirements showing the platform they expect proficiency. 

Certified competencies that most jobs require

To enhance your employability to a wider range of employers, you may benefit from having competencies in relational database management systems with knowledge of structured query language (SQL). These are industry standards that are needed in any database role.

Read more: 5 SQL Certifications for Your Data Career

Oracle, MySQL, IBM Db2, Cassandra, and MongoDB are the most used database server. They each come with their certifications and levels of mastery.

1. Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 8.0 Database Administrator

For this certificate, there are no prerequisites, and the only requirement is to pass an exam. This is a starting point for getting and advancing your certifications. Earning this certification shows that you understand MySQL architecture and can perform necessary functions with MySQL databases, such as installation, configuration, securing, monitoring, optimizing, backing up, and recovering.

2. Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Professional

Oracle makes up 97 percent of Global Fortune 500 companies' database platforms, making it a strong certification to obtain. In this certification, you learn using labs and hands-on activities to deepen your skill set. You will also learn the 12c’s re-engineered cloud capabilities, keeping you updated on the technology. 

Before you get this certification, you must already have obtained an Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate certificate. Then you may take a related course followed by an exam.

3. IBM Certified Database Administrator – Db2 12 for z/OS Fundamentals

This is an entry-level exam for people with Db2 12 for z/OS knowledge through hands-on experience or formal education. To qualify, you must obtain a C1000-122, Db2 12 for z/OS DBA Fundamentals certificate and in-depth knowledge of SQL and database creation and security. Earning this certification shows you have Db2 competencies in planning, security, operations, data concurrency, application design, and working with SQL, XML, and database objects.

4. MongoDB: Certified DBA, Certified Developer

Mongo offers two certifications, Certified Database Administrator and Certified Developer. Both certifications require a general coding knowledge base with proficiencies in database concepts, system programming, JavaScript, and software development. 

Certified DBA proficiencies:

  • Philosophy and features

  • CRUD

  • Indexing and performance

  • Server administration

  • Replication

  • Sharding

  • Application administration

Certified Developer proficiencies:

  • CRUD

  • Indexing and performance

  • Aggregation

  • Replication

  • Sharding

  • Data modeling


5. Apache Cassandra: Certified Developer, Certified Administrator, Certified K8ssandra 

Apache Cassandra is a free, open-source database management system that offers multiple certificates to develop and grow your skill set and compensation. The Developer Certification shows you’re proficient in managing data with Apache Cassandra. 

The Administrator Certification indicates that you can install, configure, manage, and optimize Apache Cassandra clusters. 

K8ssandra Certification shows you can advance from database administration to site reliability engineering (SRE) with skills in Docker, Kubernetes, Sidecar, K8ssandra, and more.  

What are cloud certifications?

The difference between cloud and databases is that databases are stored on hard drives while the cloud uses the internet for data storage. In recent years, the demand for cloud computing professionals has increased and is forecasted to continue. Hands-on experience is vital; however,  certification can supplement your skills and experiences. Five main cloud certifications are:

  • AWS Solutions Architect - Professional

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • Google Associate Cloud Engineer

  • IBM Certified Technical Advocate - Cloud v3

  • Cloud Security Alliance: Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge

To determine the right cloud certification for you, it’s important to research which platform is used in the industry you’re looking to work in. 

Read more: 5 Cloud Certifications to Start Your Cloud Career

How to become a server professional

Not everyone comes into the field with knowledge and work experience in database servers. You can enter the database server field a few ways and be successful.

Start with the end in mind.

Before taking any other step, it’s crucial to determine your end goal. By researching and recognizing what role you would like, it’s easier to acquire the necessary skills and education. Some common roles as a server professional:

  • Database administrator (DBA)

  • Database designer/database architect

  • Data analyst/data scientist

  • Database developer

  • Data warehousing specialist

  • Business intelligence specialist

Get the required education.

The level of education needed depends on the role you’re looking to pursue. A database administrator can be hired with a GED and relevant work experience, although a bachelor's degree can increase pay and job opportunities. A database architect, however, will require a bachelor's degree in a relevant subject such as information technology or computer science.

Gain relevant work experience.

To gain relevant work experience is to start with general IT roles, such as help desk support. You can then begin to gain working knowledge of database administration. Another path would be to start with database administration from the start of your career. It will likely require two to four years once you become a database administrator to become proficient in the role.

Read more: 10 Entry-Level IT Jobs and What You Can Do to Get Hired

Complete professional certificates to demonstrate competence.

Along with relevant work experience, server certifications can prove your knowledge and worth as an employee. While it’s not always a requirement, certifications are tangible ways to show you have high competency in a specific server or server skill. 

Read more: Are Certifications Worth It? When to Get Certified in Your IT Career

Build a resume to demonstrate competence.

Education, work experience, and professional certificates are a strong foundation to build your resume. By having all three, you advertise yourself as a competent and valuable candidate. Certifications can help enhance resumes with less relevant work experience by showing employers you are committed to continued education.

What are alternatives to demonstrate database server competence? 

Employer trends show an increased emphasis on continuous learning in your field. Technology is a constantly evolving industry, and there are a few ways to keep up your knowledge. 


Courses allow you to learn new skills and deepen your working knowledge. You can choose from many courses, from introduction to mastery. These courses show employers your willingness to continue your education and further your knowledge in the field.


Certificates are available for each specific server and level of mastery within that server. The certificate is granted after completing the necessary prerequisites and passing an exam. Examples of certificates you can pursue on Coursera include Oracle SQL Databases Specialization by LearnQuest and Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization by UC Davis.



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