Database administrators continue to grow beyond the commodity status they developed in the early 2000s, now earning the opportunity to shape strategy at many large companies. Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA) training helps MBAs learn how to convert their tactics into code, while helping DBAs support long-term platform migrations.
How MCDBA training enhances career value
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, database administrators often enjoy annual salaries above $66,000 and can expect consistently strong job prospects over the next 10 years. However, government statistics back up research by private analysts at Foote Partners, showing that database administrator certification on its own doesn't automatically lead to instant career success. Salary surveys indicate that the highest paid DBAs blend their experience from other job roles with the kinds of skills developed during MCDBA certification programs.
For instance, a business professional with an MBA can use MCDBA training to understand the mechanics of the systems he or she uses to track a company's information. Acting as a project manager or as a liaison between engineers and end users can result in significantly higher compensation than a peer would earn in a strictly administrative role.
Earning the database administrator certification
According to Microsoft, MCDBA certification targets professionals with one year or more of experience working with SQL Server and requires passing four separate exams:
- Microsoft SQL Server Administration exam.
- SQL Server Design exam.
- Microsoft Windows 2000 Server or Windows Server 2003 exam.
- One elective exam from a list chosen by Microsoft's education team, usually involving .NET or network infrastructure.
As experienced DBA professionals have noted in trade magazines like InfoWorld and SQL Magazine, Microsoft has retired many of the required exams for the MCDBA certification. Professionals switching careers into an information technology specialty may only have the option to pursue a vendor-neutral database administrator certification program. However, seasoned networking and infrastructure experts with previous Windows credentials can use the MCDBA certification to formalize their database skills.
Advantages of MCDBA certification
Though most database vendors share common elements of the Structured Query Language in use since the 1970s, each software company adds its own refinements and enhancements over time. These "forks" result in database platforms that can feel familiar to administrators moving from one vendor to another, but still require specific training and experience. Microsoft released versions of its SQL Server in 2005 and 2008, while competitors like Oracle released their own versions of SQL platforms in the years since. Still, many of Microsoft's enterprise customers remain committed to platforms for years, if not decades.
Microsoft Certified Database Administrator training offers the biggest benefits to IT professionals in companies that require support for custom MS-SQL installations. Many of these companies understand that they can prolong the useful lives of their databases by leveraging today's faster hardware and cheap memory upgrades. Therefore, databases running on platforms dating to 2000 and 2005 are common in enterprise environments. After a glut of MCDBA professionals hit the market in 2005 and 2006, the certification continues to grow in value at companies that rely on legacy support or that want to prepare for migration to a newer platform.