Monday, March 30, 2009

DBA 5.1 exam contents, Part 2 of 3

The MyQl 5.1 DAB exam is series of tasks. The material was divided into a mandatory section and an optional section. The mandatory section is a test of core MySQL DBA skills and you must pass all five. The option section, to be detailed in the next post, is made up of ten tasks and the candidate must past at least five of them. This may sound simple but try cramming a full day of DBA work into two hours and you will have a good idea of what taking this new exam is like.

The Mandatory Tasks

  1. Account maintenance

    • Add, delete and modify accounts using the mysql database.

    • Assign privileges for a user on a table and column basis.

    • Reset passwords

    • Locate 'anonymous' accounts (where password AND user are both = '')

  2. Index management

    • Add, modify, and delete indexes.

  3. MyIsam table maintenance

    • Check MyIsam tables for problems and fix them.

  4. InnoDB table maintenance

    • Know how to restore an InnoDB table from a backup.
    • Use the binary log to recover lost data

  5. Backups

    • Be able to backup up entire databases or explicit tables.

    • Know options for separating data and SQL.

    • Be able to use options to drop tables, drop databases, save stored routines or triggers, and save files to specific locations.

This new exam is very straight forward but requires the candidate to demonstrate their skill. Next posting will cover the option section.

Monday, March 23, 2009

DBA 5.1 Exam Contents, Part 1 of 3

The MySQL DBA 5.1 Certification Exam is a big change from previous exams.

  1. No multiple choice, true/false questions
  2. Must be able to use MySQL
  3. You are given the answers (in most cases) and must change the database to meet expectations
  4. No study guide

The exam is divided into two sections -- mandatory and optional tasks. The mandatory tasks are core knowledge that every DBA should be able to perform even under heavy pressure, early in the morning, while suffering from sleep deprivation, or with a Dilbert style PHB looking over your shoulder. The optional tasks cover many different facets of MySQL.

Exam candidates will get their own MySQL instance with which to do their assignments. When they have completed all they can or time runs out, the instance is checked to see how well the DBA certification candidate was able to shape MySQL to what was desired. No more will you have to remember if the -p switch is for the port, password, or something else that begins with the letter 'p'.

Right now hands-on or performance based tests are on the bleeding edge of technology for testing companies (Pearson Vue, Prometric, Kryterion, etc.) are looking for robust and secure ways to offer these exams. So the DBA 5.1 Exam will have only limited availability until the exam vendors can support us. But the exam will be at the April MySQL Users Conference and part of MySQL for Database Administrator Classes.

If you are studying the MySQL 5.0 DBA material and are ready to take an exam, please do so! We will not be expiring these certifications and they are still a good judge of your knowledge of MySQL.

So why change the format at this time? How many times have you heard that a certification is not worth the paper it is written on? Funny the same folks do not say the same thing about car drivers licenses or pilot licenses. The reason is that for those certification there is a major component of hands-on testing. The folks who earn the MySQl DBA 5.1 Certification can really administer a database.

Employers will know that a job candidate with a MySQL 5.1 Certification has proven their proficiency with a real database under demanding circumstances. This certification is earned by hard work and not rote memorization.

I will miss the study guides and have found both editions to be valuable references. MySQl Certification will no longer have a hand in the process of creating the study guides and the previous authors are extremely busy. And with hands-on exams we can tell you want you need to do to pass the exam and that you will see in parts 2 and 3 of this blog.

How to become a better MySQL Developer

How do you get better with MySQL if you are in a small shop (or you are the shop)? Reading the code of other folks only goes so far if you can not ask them about the details. The more advanced books on MySQL are great but sometimes your environment does not allow you to follow their examples. Time and experience will help eventually but what if you need or want to get better in a hurry?

The MySQL Developer Techniques class is a new offering from MySQL Training is designed to 'want to utilize advanced SQL features to create queries that will result in better results and improved performance of their database queries'. I can guarantee that the curriculum crew have put a lot of effort into developing this class to make sure you really get the best value for your money.

This is a three day class lead by an instructor and includes many hands-on labs. I get emails from folks who have passed the Developer Certification but are seeking better performance out of their databases and themselves. So if you are looking to improve your skills, I highly recommend this course.

Friday, March 13, 2009

DBA 5.1 Exam

The first public offering of the MySQL DBA 5.1 Exam was given in Atlanta this week. After completing the week long MySQL for Database Administrators, an intrepid group agreed to be 'guinea pigs' and take the daunting exam.

The photo shows the test candidates working hard. Thanks to instructor Ian Wrigley and the students for taking up the challenge of this initial exam offering.

Previous MySQL exams are multiple choice while the DBA 5.1 exam is a performance based test. This means they had to login to a virtual server, administer several databases, and fix problems on a running MySQL instance.

Look for more updates on the DBA 5.1 exams (and others) here soon.