Monday, October 27, 2008

Japanese Exams are Back!

The MySQL 5.0 Developer and DBA exams are back. One of our engineers, Toru Sugihara, has done an amazing job of going through the exams and greatly improving the translation. They will be available at Pearson VUE test centers starting the 28th of October. Gambatte!

The 2008 MySQL Conference Call for Papers is open until November 5th. Please contribute if you have something you want to share with the community. But is there anything you want to see from the MySQL Certification Team? Some of the material about MySQL certs has been done heavily in the years past but is it time to revive it? A half hour session about certification stats? A BOAF on building the MySQL Certified Community? Extended certification test hours? Tutorials on the new hands-on exams?

Let us known what you need and we will do our best.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Prompt prompts

Ever wonder how long that MySQL statement took to run? Or what pace those scripts you run from cron take to run at night? You can change the prompt on the MySQL command-line tool to show user name, time, current database or many other useful facts.

>mysql foo
mysql> prompt \R:\m:\s>
PROMPT set to '\R:\m:\s>'
14:11:16>SHOW TABLES;
| foo |
| bar |
2 rows in set (0.01 sec)


I find this quiet handy in scripts that I run late at night. It is also good when running a complex statement that will consume clock time so that I can tell when it finished. Not exactly awe inspiring but a quite handy 'trick'.

Details are here half way down the page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Starting on the next edition of the MySQL Developer Certification exam

The work on the next editions of MySQL Certification Exams is going well. My current focus is on the Developer exam. There is a little bit of overlap between the current Developer and DBA exams ('What is MySQL AB?') that need to be pruned. Most MySQL customers seem to have a lot of functional overlap between people titled Developers and DBAs. So what do you ask of an individual that quantifies their ability to develop software that accesses MySQL databases? Not their DBA skills or their joint Developer/DBA skills but just their developer skills.

The book used in the MySQL for Developers class is an amazing document. It covers many subjects in detail from basic SQL to query optimization. I am carefully picking my way through in search of prime exam material. This is what military analysts call a 'target rich environment' where there are so many things on which to test a candidate that covering them all in depth would require an all day test.

So I turn to the MySQL community and ask 'What should be on a Developer's Certification exam?'

What can be left out?

What can not be left out?

What skills do you require when you add another developer to your staff?

And those of you with a MySQL 5.0 Developer Certification, what essentials have you learned that you can pass on to others?

Fans of Adbobe Flex in the Dallas area need to check out TexFlex08 this Friday, October 13th. Details are at

The next exams from MyQL will be performance based test or 'hands on' exams. Texts on sett up such exams are rare but at the recent CEdMA Conference, Judith Hale's Performance-Based Certification : How to Design a Valid, Defensible, and Cost Effective Program was recommended. I was able to obtain a copy and have just started the book. So far it lives up to the expectation. So anyone interested in the subject should shop around as it can be found at a bargain price.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

September's results

MySQL Certification had another great month in September. It was our biggest month with a MySQL Users Conference (where the cost of each exam is deeply discounted). A total of 159 exams were taken and that is a 10 percent increase.

Total certifications earned was another non-UC record with 68. That was made up of 14 Developers, 27 DBAs, 7 Cluster DBAs, and 20 Associates. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard to earn these certifications.

Those of you wishing to take the exams in Japanese should keeping checking the website for a new, much improved translation that will be ready by the Japanese UC. Domo arigato, Toru-san!

And be sure to list your MySQL Certifications on your resumes and social networking pages. I had a long talk with an online recruiting company about the best way to find certified MySQL Developers and DBAa. The demand for individuals is there but writing the filters to sweep their data warehouses is tricky (I did that in a previous job). These recruiters are being slammed for requests as more compnaies use MySQL.

So make sure you spell MySQL as 'MySQL' and list you certification spelled out and with the initials (CMDEV, DMDBA, CMCDBA, CMA, Core, or Professional) to help them find you!

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Certification Exams , 'gifts' question, and your success story

One of the frustrations of of working in Certification is that so little time is spent creating exam questions. There are million other things from expense reports to mandatory training that need to be take care of before delving back into things like InnoDB buffer pools or scaling Falcon databases. The good news is that new exam questions are ready for the next generation of DBA Certification and I will soon be begging the folks who helped me in the past for one last look before we shrink wrap the exams.

I attended the CEdMA Conference this week and was able to network with other certification folks. One of the items of discussion was what goes into a certification package. In tight economic times, training and certification departments need to cut costs. Many certification entities are simply sending out PDF certificates via email. Others are concerned about rising costs for shipping t-shirts, pens, wallet-sized cards, certificates, and other 'gifts'.

I would love to get some feedback on what you want to physically receive when you earn your certification. Do you want the printed certificate or would a PDF suffice? Does the wallet-sized card with your certification information useful? What about the 'throwing disk', pen, beach-ball, t-shirt, or other 'gifts'? Please do not be shy as we need your feedback!

Do you have a success story you would care to share about how you used MySQL? We are always looking for good success stories. This year MySQL training is participating in a week long training session for Sun System Engineers. And we wish to share what you have done with MySQL to help them understand how our products are used out there in the real world.

So please brag about your work!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MySQL Training

Last week I had the great opportunity to sit in on a DBA class session taught by George Trujillo. I know that most of the folks administrating and programming MySQL databases are self taught. Learning by the 'RFTM' has benefits but many lessons come directly from the education institution know as The School of Hard Knocks. And some knocks are much harder and larger than other.

Self-teaching is a valuable way to learn but a lot depends on the quality of the materials you can discover. The MySQL DBA class is well structured so that concepts are presented in easy to understand portions and build on each other to cover the information. It really beats trying to read the online documentation at three in the morning.

I was shocked and somewhat jealous that in a few minutes the lucky students in the Dallas class were carefully guided by George on the subject MySQL grants and privileges. My early DBA work was always in 'get it working and worry about how it works later' mode. This often left me struggling at odd hours trying to figure out why X worked for A but not for B, usually with B breathing over my shoulder and griping about a deadline. Learning the hard way is just that -- hard. The information that George so easily communicated to the class would have saved me hours.

The class manual is a thick book filled with information, drills, and best practices. Combined with George's dynamic teaching style, the lucky students were receiving a big boost in become better DBAs. Believe me, this beats getting X working for B late at night while B doubts your ability and parentage.

George introduced me to the class and had a small break to allow the students to ask questions about MySQL Certification. From the quality of their questions, it was obvious that this DBA class was giving them the skills and knowledge they would need to be very good MySQL DBAs.

So check out the MySQL Training pages and see if there is a class near you. The classes are carefully crafted and well taught. The time and money spent on these classes will pay dividends later hen you do not have to flounder around looking for the correct man page or blog entry.