How to Get Certified for DB2

What you need to know about signup details, process information, and exam formats

With the exciting new design of IBM Data Management magazine, it’s appropriate to revisit certification for IBM® DB2® data management as well. Why certify? Consider both the tangible and intangible benefits. On the practical side, the Certification Magazine annual salary survey consistently shows that certified IT professionals make more than those who are not certified.

But there’s more to the decision than salary. Certification rounds out your DB2 knowledge and ensures that you’ve been exposed to the product’s many features. You’ll also have the satisfaction of increasing your on-the-job productivity.

Most database vendors have certification programs, but the DB2 certification program is unique in several respects. First, you obtain a DB2 certification for each and every exam you pass. This sharply contrasts to certifications for competing database products, where you must pass more than one exam to obtain a single cert. With DB2 you can pursue certification, stop after any exam you pass, and still have something valuable to show for your efforts.

Second, IBM provides tons of free information and study materials to help you learn about and prepare for the tests. I’ve listed some of these in the Resources section at the end of this column. Leverage these freebies and you’ll save money— while studying with materials prepared by those who know DB2 best.

All DB2 certification candidates start by taking the same test, #730, called “DB2 9 Family Fundamentals.” Once you pass this exam you have the option to take any of several exams to achieve higher-level certification (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: IBM DB2 certification exams

You sign up online to take any of the IBM certification exams through Prometric’s IBM test site ( Prometric runs testing centers in cities and towns across the nation.

The exams cost US$200 each, but IBM runs frequent promotions. When you visit the IBM Information Management training and certification Web page, you’ll see any current promotion prominently displayed. You can also certify for free while attending IBM’s Information On Demand conference or the International DB2 Users Group conference.

Each exam contains about 60 to 70 multiple-choice questions. You get credit for every question you answer correctly and must answer roughly 60 percent correctly to pass. You have 90 minutes to complete the exam. These numbers vary slightly by exam.

Next steps

I’ve listed some of the key IBM certification web sites in the Resources list. Peruse them and spend some quality time there; I’ve also written an article on IBM developerWorks called “DB2 9 Certification: Everything You Need to Know.” It covers all the bases and gives you a good overview of the entire process.