There were a few days of silence in my weblog - but for a good reason. Yesterday I've passed my MySQL Core Exam - and there are plans for more :-). My goal is to end up with the new Developer and Administrator Certificates for MySQL 5.0, as well as some other certificates (PHP, Java).
As it happens, I also received my new MySQL 5.0 Study Guide yesterday. I've read a lot about the MySQL certifications on the MySQL website and in the forum, so I'd like to take this opportunity to sum up the most important details that I've learned about the ways to get certified.
There are two certification levels based on MySQL 4.1 that are currently offered - there's a Core Exam which covers the topics that a developer needs to know and a Professional Exam which is mostly about administration of a MySQL server. The Core Certificate is a requirement that someone can take the Professional Exam.
I've read that the new MySQL 5 certificates will be available about 2 or 3 months after MySQL 5 becomes a Production Release. There will be 2 exams for each of the Developer Exam and the Administration exam. As soon as somebody has successfully taken both exams for either the Developer Exam or the Administration Exam, he will be entitled as CMDEV which is a 'Certified MySQL Developer' or a CMADM which is a 'Certified MySQL Administrator'. At the beginning, the 5.0 exams will be offered as Beta exams - probably with a price discount. Therefore, it might take some time until the candidate knows whether he has passed or failed on the exam.
There will also be upgrade exams from the 4.x exams to the 5.x exams, which might also come at a discount price. I don't know all the details about them, but as far as I know at the moment, there might be one upgrade exam from Core Certificate to CMDEV and another from Professional Certificate to CMADM. For the MySQL 5 exams, it will not be necessary to take the exams in any particular order, as it was required for the 4.x exams.
So if I take my personal example (having already passed the Core exam and planning for both new 5.0 exams), there are 2 ways to achieve this goal. I can either take the Professional Exam and then upgrade both exams to the new 5.0 exams, or I can wait until the 5.0 exams are out and then take the 2 Administration exams and upgrade my Core Certificate to the new Developer Certificate. Both ways end up with 3 more exams.
The most important benefit for me is the following. Even if you know a lot about the technices (e.g. MySQL, but also others) and have good skills on these, it's still very hard to proof your skills to other people - mainly to people who are not developers themselves. It's very hard to convince your customers, but also employers, if you apply for a new job, that you have good skills. There are many competitors around and there are many who pretend that they are good on their job, even though they are only good in selling themselves. Often, these guys get a job more easily than somebody who has better skills.
But with certificates, there's a big advantage against those people who are good in selling, but not as good in developing.