Database Certification — Should I Choose MySQL or Oracle?


Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun several years ago, it now offers certifications for both its flagship database, Oracle, and also for MySQL. If you are looking to get an ‘Oracle’ database certification, which of the two makes sense to pursue?  There is value in gaining database administrator or developer certifications in either the Oracle or MySQL databases. That said, there are significant differences in the directions that the two databases are likely to take your career.

MySQL is a free database. It is very commonly used as part of a Web site with a database back-end. Most Web hosting services offer MySQL as an option to anyone hosting on their site. MySQL works very well for database-driven websites using PHP or equivalent application programming interfaces. Because the database is freely available, it has a huge number of small to medium companies using it. That said, because most of them are using it specifically because it is a low-cost option, many of the companies that use it may not be interested in paying for a database administrator to maintain it. There are certainly positions available for MySQL database administrators, just a smaller percentage in proportion to the number of installations when compared to Oracle. That said, developers with MySQL and PHP knowledge are in significant demand to build and maintain the websites that use it as a backend.

The Oracle RDBMS is definitely not a free database. Licensing costs for large multi-processor clusters can be hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. For this and other reasons, the companies that use it tend to have enterprise-class databases. They expect to have a dedicated database administrator to ensure their data is secure and properly maintained. The total number of installs may be lower than that of MySQL, but a much higher percentage of those will have a dedicated administrator. Of the enterprise class databases, Oracle has the largest market share and there are almost always…

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