If you plan to become a MySQL professional, you should really consider obtaining one or more MySQL Certifications. Each certification requires that you pass one or more exams containing about 70 multiple-choice questions. The present cost of each exam is $200 but is sometimes discounted. This exam is available through the Pearson VUE test centers located virtually across the globe.

What do you get for passing these tests? The first answer is professional recognition. While certification is no proof that you can really perform on the job, doing the hard, hard work of certifying can help you prepare for the real world. Let’s be frank. If you only know your stuff on paper, you won’t know what to do on the job. Before long you’ll be pounding the pavement. In a community like certified MySQL professionals the word spreads fast.

In this article we look at your choices for MySQL Certifications. Companion articles will discuss each of these certifications in more detail. The CMA (Certified MySQL Associate) is an entry-level certification, designed for people who are relatively new to using the MySQL database server. This certification covers basic SQL and basic database management system concepts. While this certification is not a prerequisite to the other MySQL certifications many people new to MySQL start with CMA certification before going to the more advanced certifications. It’s up to you.

The CMDEV (Certified MySQL Developer) is targeted at candidates who will be developing applications using MySQL as back-end storage. It is issued to those who pass both the Certified MySQL Developer-I and Certified MySQL Developer-II exams. You may pass either of these two exams first; they cover different but complementary material.

The CMDBA (Certified MySQL Database Administrator) is targeted at database administrators who are responsible for tuning, planning, and optimizing data layout for one or several servers and who do not write many applications. It is issued to those who pass both the Certified MySQL DBA-I and Certified MySQL DBA-II exams. You may pass either of these two exams first; they cover different but complementary material. The CMCDBA (Certified MySQL Cluster Database Administrator) requires first obtaining the CMDBA certification and then passing a single exam associated with a very specific aspect of MySQL technology. You can be a professional MySQL database administrator and never deal with the material covered by this exam.

Several tracks are available to prepare for any and all of these certifications. For example, Sun MySQL offers books and classes at every level. Take my advice, don’t commit to anything more expensive than a book until you download MySQL and spend some serious time trying it out. One thing is sure; if you want to pass the test you must run MySQL hour after hour, day after day. If you don’t like that do something else.