Although the technology press gushes about battles between Oracle and Microsoft, IBM quietly maintains a significant chunk of the enterprise database market with its DB2 platform. One of the very first database servers to use Structured Query Language, or SQL, DB2 has been in active use since 1983. IBM's acquisition of Informix brought that company's object-oriented enhancements to DB2 under one roof in 2001, and a new version of DB2 released in 2010 underscored the need for enterprise IT professionals to invest in routine DB2 training.
DB2 Training Objectives
Like other database platforms built upon SQL, DB2 requires administrators and programmers to understand basic database concepts, such as:
- Mastering query language.
- Deployment, partitioning, and recovery.
- Measuring and improving database performance.
- Replicating and scaling large databases.
DB2 courses emphasize the unique components and challenges of running an IBM database, such as converting data from Oracle or Microsoft SQL servers and leveraging DB2 stored procedures.
Job Paths for Graduates of DB2 Training Programs
Relative to other IT certifications, the DB2 certification has lost some of its overall value over the past few years, according to industry analysts at Foote Partners. Many experienced IT professionals have graduated from roles as DB2 specialists to pursue certifications like Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL.
However, that shift has created a talent vacuum at companies that have built long-term strategies around IBM's InfoSphere platform. Those organizations now rely on consistent DB2 training to ensure that IT teams can maintain existing applications and deploy new projects. Employers reward DB2 experts for their dedication with average salaries 7 to 10 percent higher than compensation packages for Oracle and Microsoft database technicians, according to an IBM customer survey.
In addition, many hiring managers view DB2 courses as part of a valuable database management suite that also includes broad SQL training. In one study, 71 percent of enterprise CIOs told researchers from Robert Half Technology that they expected to hire more IT professionals with broad database skills. Ideal candidates for DB2 training include professionals from other fields at companies with active IBM deployments. Prospective database engineers can blend their subject matter expertise with technical skills gained from IT training programs, positioning themselves for long term technology careers.
DB2 Certification Exams
Since the release of DB2 version 10, IBM has maintained three levels of certification for database professionals:
- IBM Certified Database Associate
- IBM Certified Database Administrator
- IBM Certified Advanced Database Administrator
IBM has streamlined the process for DBAs already certified on previous DB2 versions to upgrade their credentials. With a single test, usually completed after some refresher training, database administrators can certify for the latest DB2 edition.
DB2 Training Styles
For some prospective database administrators with experience on other SQL platforms, preparing for DB2 certification requires little more than studying a book and passing an exam. Most aspiring IBM DBAs prefer to enroll in structured DB2 courses that emphasize the platform's unique features. Classroom-based training helps students learn to collaborate on project management and database deployment tasks in real time, while online courses help participants build skills without disrupting work and family schedules.
According to IBM developer representatives, few IT professionals achieve DB2 certification without hands-on experience. The best DB2 training programs offer aspiring DBAs access to live servers and projects that mimic the production challenges professionals face in large organizations.