A Guide to Database Server Certifications

Written by Coursera Staff • 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 person with pink hair wearing a white jacket, blue top, and glasses is sitting in front of a laptop, studying for their database server certification.

As the amount of data collected increases, so does the need for quality database administrators. They are vital to modern businesses and organizations that generate high volumes of data. Database certification programs can increase your employability as a database administrator while expanding your skill level and practical experience. You can learn about certification options, benefits, and use cases in the following guide.  

What are database server certifications?

Database server certifications are tests that result in career credentials when passed. They 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. 

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. The global cloud computing market is expected to have a 20 percent average annual growth rate between 2023 and 2030 [1]. 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

Why complete a server certification?

Certification exams can be an excellent way to demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers. By showing a high competency level in the platform an employer uses, you can gain an advantage over other applicants. Professional certifications can also help support professional development, like promotions or salary increases.

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 certification paths?

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). Additionally, certification options vary by experience level. 

Read more: How to Get IT Certifications in 5 Steps

How to choose a server certification

No one certification is better than the other since there isn’t a single industry-standard platform. The most beneficial certification for you depends on your career path and even the specific company you work for (or want to work for). For those who work in multisystem environments, a combination of certifications could be the best choice.  

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

Research job postings for insight.

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:

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

Gain the general competencies.

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 commonly used database servers. The list below outlines their respective certifications and levels of expertise.

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.  

How to become a data science professional

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. Refer back to the list above of common server roles to start gathering information.

Meet education requirements.

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, one option is to start with general IT roles, such as help desk support. You can then begin to gain a working knowledge of core concepts like network security and systems management. 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

Build your resume.

Technology is a constantly evolving industry, and employer trends suggest an increased emphasis on continued education. Education and work experience create a strong foundation for your resume. Pursuing continuing education like online courses and certifications can help you advertise yourself as a competent and valuable candidate.

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

Online coursework

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

Certificates from universities and industry leaders

Certificates are typically available for each type of server. They are granted after meeting the necessary prerequisites and passing an exam. Examples of certificates you can pursue online include Oracle SQL Databases Specialization by LearnQuest and Learn SQL Basics for Data Science Specialization by UC Davis.

Start earning a certificate today on Coursera

Online courses can help you strengthen your skills, deepen your expertise, or enter the field. For beginners, consider IBM’s Introduction to Relational Databases. You’ll be introduced to various industry-standard relational databases such as IBM DB2 and MySQL, and earn a shareable certificate upon completion.

Article sources

  1. Fortune Business Insights. "Cloud Computing Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/cloud-computing-market-102697." Accessed June 8, 2023.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.