If you or someone you know is looking to learn DB2, I recommend these two books:
Beginning DB2: From Novice to Professional (Expert's Voice) by Grant Allen
Understanding DB2(R): Learning Visually with Examples (2nd Edition) by Raul F. Chong, Xiaomei Wang, Michael Dang, Dwaine R. Snow
Both of these books are excellent choices if you are trained on a competitive database and wish to quickly transfer your skills to DB2.
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Yesterday I was a last minute attendee / booth girl for the BMODUG event that was taking place down the road from my office. I met up with many people I already knew (Tim Johnson, Yvonne Kulker, Joe Borges, Susan Lawson and Melanie Stopfer), but also met quite a few new people. I strongly encouraged the new people to take a look at my blog, so I'll do a short recap today.
At the booth, I was handing out DB2 Gaming DVDs. For those who were not able to get a copy here is the site ibm.com/software/data/education/games.html where you can learn more about the games and also where you can download what you need to play or share the games. Happy Gaming!
I also had a few copies of a DVD that was created last year that contained a bunch of IBM Redbooks. Although it is nice to have a DVD with all this content, it is best to get the IBM Redbooks from the website as you can be sure that the content is most current.
Pearson Education Canada supplied the postcards that provided a Canadian website for you to purchase IBM Press books. The offer is for a 35% discount. Books that you might want to consider from this site are: IBM Press in Canada.
Understanding DB2(R): Learning Visually with Examples (2nd Edition) The book is the best way to learn (or relearn) DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows. The book is filled with case studies, study questions, and well-written details on everything you'll need to know. Some competitively trained people who have read this book have told me that this is exactly what they needed to take the fear out of switching to DB2!
DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows: DBA Guide, Reference, and Exam Prep, 6th Edition This is the one book that all DBAs should have on their bookshelf. This book was written by George Baklarz and Paul Zikopoulos, two very well-known DB2 experts who know how to write a good book! The book is the best guide and reference that you can own and will surely be one of the most used books on your bookshelf.
Enterprise Master Data Management: An SOA Approach to Managing Core Information I mentioned this book to a few people yesterday. This is beyond a database topic... but is really insightful as to how data can be managed effectively throughout an industry... I read the book in draft form about a year ago and am surprised with the amount that I've been able to retain. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a place to go beyond data.
I helped a few people with some certification questions that I have... and since today is testing day, I hope everyone does well on their exams! The best places on the web to go to are:
1) To help you decide where to start, see the certification roadmaps: ibm.com/software/data/education/cert-roadmaps.html.
2) For a breakdown of the exam objectives and the recommended study materials, see ibm.com/software/data/education/certprep.html
Many people were interested in the information I was giving about the ILO classes that are now available. ILO = instructor-led online and means that you sit at your desk at home or work and take part in an actual class via your computer (headphones and mic absolutely essential). You interact with the instructor and the other classmates as you would if you were sitting in a class with them, but you do it without needing to travel! There are 70 different ILO classes now available, some are short and take place in the evening, but others are full day classes. For all information, see: Instructor-Led Online Training. See also a recent blog entry that I wrote.
And finally, community! You are all community, so consider joining one of the groups on ChannelDB2.com:
DB2 in Books
I've listed every published book in this discussion group and I encourage you to use this as a way to reach the authors or to find related information such as events that the authors are taking part in, podcasts or webinars that are related to the book topic, and so on....
DB2 for Linux, UNIX, Windows
This is a place where you can find information about anything related to DB2 for LUW. Feel free to add discussions for areas that are not yet created. I've created a few discussions that you might find useful, including information about the latest ILO courses or current promotions that are being offered.
DB2 for z/OS
Same as the one above, only content is specific to the z platform.
I just started this group to be a collection of the many things that are happening at the IOD conference. With so much information being sent on a daily basis in regards to the conference, isn't it nice to have one spot that collects that information? And better yet, this is a place where you can share your thoughts on events that are taking place at the conference.
What do you think? Worth checking out? I hope so. When you're a member, make me a friend! A girl can never have too many friends!
A new ILO course has just been added. This one is an SQL workshop that is spread over 4 half-days in two weeks. ILO courses are the IBM courses that you take without traveling by joining a remote instructor via your computer.
Here are some details:
SQL Workshop - Multi Week Instructor Led Online
On completion of this course, you should be able to:
* Code SQL statements to retrieve data from a DB2 or Informix table, including the SELECT, FROM, WHERE, GROUP BY, HAVING and ORDER BY clauses* Code inner joins and non-correlated subqueries* Use SQL arithmetic operations* Use scalar and column functions* Use UNION and UNION ALL* INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE rows* Code simple CREATE TABLE and CREATE VIEW statements
The DB2 books that you may wish to have to complement this course are:
* Understanding DB2(R): Learning Visually with Examples (2nd Edition)* DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows: DBA Guide, Reference, and Exam Prep (6th Edition)
If you are interested in passing the DB2 9 Family Fundamentals certification exam (Test 730), you should notice that about 23% of the exam covers SQL knowledge. The book DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide by Roger Sanders corresponds to the exam objectives and therefore covers the SQL that you need to pass the exam.
An interesting way to get a start on learning SQL is through the DB2 Games. Here are some details that I found on Kate Dawson's blog:
If you are a beginner, choose the IBM DB2 Detective GameIf you like watching crime investigation shows, this might just be the perfect game for you. Using a crime investigation theme, you will enforce your DB2 9 and SQL skills while learning relational database concepts and how they can be applied to real-life problems. I’ve played this game and highly recommend it.
If you have some existing DB2 skills, choose the IBM DB2 Business GameTry a “run your own business” scenario and put your DB2 and SQL skills to the test with the Business Game. Your company’s future depends on a key report needed to secure funds for a critical upgrade… can you put your DB2 skills into action and beat the game? Play now and find out.
Whenever I ask people who are SQL experts, they tell me that they rely heavily on these books:
* Graeme Birchall's DB2 SQL Cookbook* The SQL Reference for Cross-Platform Development* Product Docs for DB2 LUW* Product Docs for DB2 z/OS
When at conferences, I've noticed that the following books are popular:* Joe Celko's SQL for Smarties: Advanced SQL Programming Third Edition* SQL Demystified* SQL: The Complete Reference, Second Edition* SQL In A Nutshell, 2nd Edition* SQL Queries for Mere Mortals(R): A Hands-On Guide to Data Manipulation in SQL (2nd Edition)* SQL Pocket Guide
In writing this blog I realize how many resources are available for SQL. Clearly that means that it is a very important topic.... and one that you can continue to improve in.
I just realized that I haven't blogged about our certification program in some time. I dusted off a blog entry I did last year, updated it, and voila, here it is:
DB2 has six current certification exams that each lead to a different certification role. The most common certification is IBM Certified Database Administrator. Here are the exams that cover DB2 9 content:
* Exam 730 - DB2 9 Fundamentals * Exam 731 - DB2 9 DBA for Linux, Unix, and Windows* Exam 732 - DB2 9 DBA for z/OS* Exam 733 - DB2 9 Application Developer * Exam 734 - DB2 9 Advanced DBA for Linux UNIX and Windows* Exam 736 - DB2 9 Database Administrator for Linux UNIX and Windows Upgrade
Each exam has a time limit of 90 minutes, except the upgrade exam which has a time limit of 60 minutes. The number of questions and the cutscore for each exam varies. For example, exam 730 has 64 questions and you must score 59 percent or higher to pass it.
To become certified as a Database Administrator, you must pass both exams 730 and 731. Exam 730 covers basic DB2 concepts like SQL, installation, packaging, security, and concurrency. Exam 731 is much more detailed and focuses on the job tasks that a database administrator does in his or her daily job.
Certification Tips Common questions about certification go something like this: Do I have to get certified?, Is it worth anything?, and How do I get it? I've put together answers to these questions along with some other advice that I hope you find useful.
Do I need a DBA Certification to get a job as a DBA?
Not always as it depends on a number of factors. If you've worked as a DBA before or have a degree in an IT related field, and have experience using DB2, you may not need to get certified. I'd recommend it anyway, as regardless of what you already know, you'll learn something new during the process of earning a certification that may be tremendously valuable to you or your company If you have an older certification, upgrading to the most current level is an easy way to ensure that you stay on the top of your game.
If your employer requires you to be certified, or a job you are trying to get lists certification as a requirement, then for sure you'll need to earn the required certifications.
If you have little experience using DB2 or if you have a degree in a non-IT field and you're trying to break into the database arena, it's generally a good idea to get a few DB2 Certifications so employers take you a little more seriously. For self-study, also check out the free tutorials that IBM provides for most of the exams. The tutorials are broken into hour long segments of information based on the exam objectives. If have a great deal of experience, this may be all you need to prepare for the exam. To see the full set of exam prep tutorials that are available, see ibm.com/software/data/education/selfstudy.html.
Classroom education is an excellent way to learn, but may be difficult to justify for some people due to costs. If you find that you learn most effectively through classroom education, encourage your employer to pay for them. Don't forget to look into ILO training as this type of training gives you all the benefits of classroom education, but eliminates the travel costs. The best place to start to determine the classroom education that best fits your needs is with the training roadmaps: ibm.com/software/data/education/roadmaps.html.
Is there an easier way to get certified, that doesn't include studying?
Not many things of value don't require an effort. There are sites on the web that claim to have the actual certification exam for you to buy and memorize in order to pass the exam. These are created by a previous applicant who shares knowledge of the questions on a certification exam with a third party. There is no noble purpose of this information sharing. It is cheating, pure and simple. IBM has a non-disclosure agreement that they make every exam applicant agree to before they allow you to take the test. Any person who creates or gives out questions or answers from a certification exam is in violation of the NDA and if you get caught "dumping", you're likely to have your certs revoked, at a minimum! And, if you get caught using someone else's dump, you'll get your certs revoked and will never be able to get certified through IBM again.
Further more, there's the credibility issue of this information. Most dumps are littered with errors, spelling and otherwise. There are a lot of companies out there that sell brain dumps, but just because you pay for their version of sims / exams, doesn't make it legal. Be very careful of cheap exam sims because they tend to be brain dumps. If you have any questions about the validity of a company's product, ask other people in the DB2 Forums or go to IBM directly. As mentioned earlier, DB2 exams are experience based, so lots of practice using the product in as many areas as possible, may allow you to pass the exam without studying.
If I take the assessment exams repeatedly, will I eventually see all the questions on the certification exam?In the past, IBM offered free assessment exams to all candidates. It seems that several people were taking these exams multiple times in a possible attempt to memorize all of the questions. The bad news for these people is that the set of questions on the assessment exams is different than the set on the certification exams. Also, memorizing the questions and answers will not help you learn the material at all! I suggest that you take at least one assessment test to see how ready you are, but only AFTER you have read the exam objectives and had either experience or training. By the way, the assessment exams now cost $10 per take, so that will help you limit the number of assessment exams you decide to take. Here is the site that will get you to the assessment exams: ibm.com/software/data/education/cert/assessment.html.
Can I gain experience by reading DB2 Forums and Blogs?
Absolutely! There are several DBAs who firmly believe helping out on the various forums have helped us gain a deeper understanding of subjects that were on the exams. So, contribute to those forums. You're not only helping other people, you're helping yourself as well! Most likely you'll find members of the DB2 development team actively taking part in the forums as well.
Here are the sites that I recommend, at the least:Planet DB2 - a blog aggregator that combines DB2 blogs from around the world.IBM developerWorks - DB2 PortalIDUG – International DB2 User’s Group
Is it true that the DB2 Fundamentals Exam (700 or 730) caters to an LUW audience?
Not at all. The DB2 Fundamentals Exam contains only questions that are true for each and every platform! In fact, I've noticed that people whose primary area of experience is with DB2 for z/OS find this exam pretty easy.
Recommended Learning Path for Certification:
Here is the recommended path I suggest you take to prepare for a DB2 exam:
1) Choose the exam you want to take based on your job role. The DBA and AppDev certifications first require that you are certified as a Database Associate. To help you decide where to start, see the certification roadmaps: ibm.com/software/data/education/cert-roadmaps.html
2) Read through the exam objectives. Every question on the exam relates directly to one or more of the exam objectives. For a breakdown of the exam objectives and the recommended study materials, see ibm.com/software/data/education/certprep.html
3) If you are experienced with DB2 and feel that you are prepared to pass based on what you saw in the exam objectives, take an assessment exam. You'll get a report after taking the assessment exam that can help you pinpoint your weaknesses.
4) If you are NOT experienced with DB2, download a free version of DB2 Express-C and give it a try!
5) Decide on how you best want to increase your skills, and test your level of skill achieved by taking an assessment exam: ibm.com/software/data/education/cert/assessment.html.
a) Consider buying one of the Certification Study Guides to refresh and deepen your skills: ibm.com/software/data/education/bookstore/
b) Take a free tutorial: ibm.com/software/data/education/selfstudy.html.
c) Take an education class from IBM or one of its partners.
6) Feel ready? Book your test! Testing centers are located around the world. Find a location closest to your office or home: www.prometric.com/ibm. If this is your first time taking a certification exam, review the steps on this site: ibm.com/certify/process/t_proc.shtml
Which book is best?
DB2 9 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows: DBA Guide, Reference, and Exam Prep (6th Edition) by George Baklarz and Paul ZikopoulosWhat can you find in this book? Well, 1136 pages, for starters! As you can tell from the sheer size of the book is that you'll find much more than exam prep details! In fact, I would suggest that you continue to buy / read the Exam Study Guides by Roger Sanders to prepare for DB2 Certification Exams, but buy this book as your way to learn what you need to know, beyond the exams.
For exam prep, the best books are these:DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide by Roger SandersDB2 9 Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 731 by Roger Sanders DB2 9 Database Administration Upgrade Certification Study Guide for Exam 736 by Roger Sanders. You can find these books for sale at online book retails across the world.DB2 9 for z/OS Database Administration Certification Study Guide for Exam 732 by Susan Lawson and Dan Luksetich
You can find these books for sale at online book retails across the world.
PS: Check out Kate's blog entry with details about the upgrade exam: www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/katedawson[Read More]
Were you one of the very happy readers of the first edition of this book? If you check this book out on amazon.com... you'll see that the first edition of the book had 17 extremely positive reviews of the book. People liked the way the material was presented in a graphical, visual way... the case studies.... and the review questions. On top of that, the authors know there stuff and spend much of their working life talking to customers and helping them understand how to use the product and the benefits each feature is likely to bring.
From the publisher:
Understanding DB2, Second EditionBy Raul F. Chong, Xiaomei Wang, Michael Dang, Dwaine R. Snow
IBM DB2 9 and DB2 9.5 provide breakthrough capabilities forproviding Information on Demand, implementing Web servicesand Service Oriented Architecture, and streamlininginformation management. Understanding DB2: Learning Visuallywith Examples, Second Edition, is the easiest way to masterthe latest versions of DB2 and apply their full power toyour business challenges.
Written by four IBM DB2 experts, this book introduces keyconcepts with dozens of examples drawn from the authors'experience working with DB2 in enterprise environments.Thoroughly updated for DB2 9.5, it covers new innovationsranging from manageability to performance and XML support toAPI integration. Each concept is presented witheasy-to-understand screenshots, diagrams, charts, andtables. This book is for everyone who works with DB2:database administrators, system administrators, developers,and consultants. With hundreds of well-designed reviewquestions and answers, it will also help professionalsprepare for the IBM DB2 Certification Exams 730, 731, or736.
Special Offer: Use the Coupon Code for this bookdescription to receive a 35% discount (coupon codes are casesensitive). Plus, FREE shipping in the US for every order.Coupon Code: CHONG0183
THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to the author team! Another fantastic job![Read More]
The best book to buy right now for a beginner's look at DB2 is the Understanding DB2 book. The one that is available today is for V8.2, but it covers everything that you need to know about DB2 in a very easy to understand way. I like the way the authors added a mini case study at the end of each chapter to solidify the material covered in the chapter. There are also 5 or more study questions at the end of each chapter that can also help ensure that you've grasped the concepts.
The subtitle of the book is "Learning Visually with Examples" and the authors did a fine job of including many diagrams and screen captures throughout the book to make learning a bit more interesting. Check out the positive reader feedback that is posted on the amazon.com site linked above.
Also, I've had feedback from people who were trained on our databases or platforms (Oracle or DB2 for z/OS) and mentioned that they found it amazingly easy to transfer their skills to DB2 Linux, UNIX, Windows with the help of the book.
The newest version of this book comes out in the next month, Understanding DB2 Second Edition so you may want to wait till it is available, or you can buy the 8.2 version now at a reduced price. The best place for a European to buy this book is from Pearson Education EMEA Bookstore where this book is now available for £27.94; free shipping in Europe.
Another site worth checking is our IBM Information Management Bookstore where we have information about a deal where you can get 35% off all IBM Press books ordered before the end of December. Free shipping in the US.
I blogged about IBM DB2 Gaming last month, and when at the IDUG Athens conference last week, I handed out many DVDs that contain these games. I hope all those who received a DVD find it useful.
One of the suggestions I made to the attendees last week is that the games can be suitable for a teenaged audience. I was part of the pilot team and personally taught a classroom full of high-school students using the DB2 Detective Game. I was very pleased to see the awe in the students at the end of the session with comments like "oh, that's a database!" or "SQL is REALLY powerful". I hope you have similar experiences with either teenagers or new employees. Please let me know your experiences.
IBM DB2 Detective GameIBM DB2 Business Game