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.
IDUG DB2-L Listserver
IBM developerWorks - DB2 Portal
IDUG – 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
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.
a) Consider buying one of the Certification Study Guides to refresh and deepen your skills:
b) Take a free tutorial.
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
To quote an article I read on sqlservercentral.com:* Schedule at least 1 free day (vacation day, etc.) off of work the day before you are scheduled to take your exam. This will give you time to relax, rest, and refresh your memory on any subjects you feel less that 100% on.
* Go to the bathroom before the exam and try not to drink or eat right before it. Some places allow you to have bathroom breaks during exams, some don't. Regardless of your local testing center's policy, it's hard to think when your bladder is full, so you might as well take care of business before you have to concentrate on the important stuff.
* Take your time during the exam. Yes, you have a time limit, but if you don't learn to read the questions before you answer them, then you might miss the most important detail (such as the "is not" portion of the question).
* Scenario based question groups. Briefly read the scenario, but don't get stuck on the details until you get to the questions. Scenario based questions often have the scenario in a separate window or a pop-up window that you can refer back to when you're answering the actual questions. This will save you time during the exam and keep you from focusing on the wrong details.
* (and the most important) Relax! It only feels like it's the End of the World. Once it's over, you'll feel so much better. And if you passed, then it's time for some serious celebrating!
I hope this helps you find a way to prepare to take one or more DB2 exams. I'd be happy to hear from you if any of these tips helped you on your journey towards being certified. If you have other questions that I should answer, throw them at me!
Have a great day!