A Guide to Database Server Certifications

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about database server certifications, what it means to be a certified developer, and how to qualify for popular certifications.

[Featured image] A person with red hair wearing a white jacket, blue top, and glasses sits in front of a laptop, studying for database server certification.

Database administrators play a vital role in 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 whilst 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 standardise database platforms; however, most current certifications are designed for a particular platform.

Why complete a server certification?

Having a server certification is significant in increasing your desirability to employers. By showing a high competency level in the platform preferred by an employer, 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.

Why are there different certifications?

You find different certifications because there isn’t one industry-standard database platform. Companies choose which platform to utilise, potentially requiring you to learn a platform you have never used. The most popular database server platforms used globally are Oracle, MySQL, and SQL Server.

Which certification should you pursue?

The good news is that no individual certification is better than the other since there isn’t an industry-standard platform. This means you can choose a certificate based on your preference, career goals, and skill set.

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 learn which platform they use or the certifications they expect by reading through their job postings. 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

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.

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, optimising, backing up, and recovering.

2. 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. This certification shows you have Db2 competencies in planning, security, operations, data concurrency, application design, and working with SQL, XML, and database objects.

3. 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

  • Server administration

  • Application administration

  • Sharding

  • Indecing and performance

Certified Developer proficiencies: 

  • CRUD

  • Indexing and performance

  • Aggregation

  • Replication

  • Sharding

  • Data modeling

4.. 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 optimise  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 the 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. Some of the most popular cloud certifications are:

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Professional

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • Google Associate Cloud Engineer

  • CompTIA Cloud+

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

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. 

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 recognising what role you would like, it’s easier to acquire the necessary skills and education. Some typical 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 should have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. A database architect, however, will typically 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, start with general IT roles such as help desk support. You can then begin to gain a working knowledge of database administration. Another path would be starting with database administration early in your career. It will likely require two to four years once you become a database administrator to become proficient in the role.

Complete professional certificates to demonstrate competence.

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

Build a CV to demonstrate competence.

Your CV gives potential employers an overview of your competence and accomplishments. Start by including your education, work experience, and professional certificates. You should also highlight key projects you've worked on to demonstrate your skills. This can be helpful if you're just starting out and don't have an extensive work history.

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. 


Skills badges are ways to verify your knowledge in targeted areas. It’s less intensive than a course and quickly shows the skills you have mastered and are working towards.

Get started

Online courses can help you begin and strengthen your skills, to either deepen your expertise in database servers or enter the field. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate offered by Google on Coursera is a great way to prepare you for certifications and enhance your resume. Some of the skills you can gain include network protocols, cloud computing, and encryption algorithms and techniques.

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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.