How do I get certified in MySQL 5.0?

This post was first written in November 2011, and outlines how to attain the MySQL 5.0 Developer Certification from Oracle. In March 2014, Oracle updated the certification process for MySQL 5.6. You can read more about the MySQL 5.6 Developer Certification here.

Updated 17 May 2014

The old MySQL 5.0 Developer exams (1Z0-871 and 1Z0-872) have now been retired and replaced with a single MySQL 5.6 Developer exam – 1Z0-882Check out this blog post for more information on the new exam.

Note that anyone who is currently a certified MySQL Developer will retain their certification, but going forward anyone hoping to become certified will have to study for the new exam and will need additional study materials – the old Certification Study Guide listed below will no doubt help for some aspects of the new exam, but it won’t cover all the topics required.

What is MySQL?

MySQL LogoMySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS). Many hosting companies provide MySQL databases as part of their standard web hosting packages, and this has led to MySQL being widely used as the back-end database for many open-source web applications such as Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and phpBB. SQL is Structured Query Language, the programming language used to create, retrieve, update and manage the data in the MySQL database. SQL (or variants of SQL) is supported by a number of different RDBMS including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL and Oracle. So, if you have a good knowledge of MySQL you can easily apply those skills to other SQL systems. Sun Microsystems bought the MySQL AB company in 2008, and Sun in turn was purchased by Oracle in 2010. This means that MySQL is officially an Oracle “product” but it is still freely available to download under an open-source license. One side effect of these acquisitions is that the MySQL certification process is now integrated into the Oracle Certified Professional program.

Why bother getting MySQL Certification?

This is often the first question prospective students ask me – why bother with certification? In the current economic climate (especially in Ireland) it is increasingly difficult to get a job. Having an IT certification certainly helps your CV stand out when it lands on the desk of a recruiter. Oftentimes recruiters are inundated with applications, and they need a quick method to sort CVs into those who’ll be called for interview and those who won’t. Obviously, relevant experience tends to be considered more significant than certification, but if you don’t currently have that experience, then having an IT certification implies that you have a certain level of competence, which might just help your application make it into the “call for interview” pile. Even for those of you with relevant experience, attaining an IT certification will formalise your competence in a given subject and should help you get one step closer to being interviewed. And, once certified, you get a lovely certificate 🙂

Ok, but how do I get MySQL certified?

Still reading? Ok, to get certified as a MySQL 5.0 Developer you need to pass two exams:

  1. 1Z0-871 MySQL 5 Developer Certified Professional Exam, Part I
  2. 1Z0-872 MySQL 5 Developer Certified Professional Exam, Part II

Each exam is computer-based (administered by PearsonVue), consists of 70 questions and takes 90 minutes. To pass, you need a score of more than 60%. For each question you’ll be shown a number of possible answers and you have to select one (or sometimes multiple) correct answers. There are no simulations and therefore you don’t have to type any SQL code. Each exam currently costs EUR154.00 + VAT. Note that should you fail an exam, you’ll have to wait 14 days before attempting a re-sit.

How do I prepare for the MySQL developer exams?

MySQL 5.0 Certification Study GuideIn my opinion, the best way to prepare for the exams is by reading the official MySQL 5.0 Certification Study Guide. This is written by the same team who write the exam questions and the book contains all the theory you need to pass the exams. The book also comes with a DVD containing sample exam questions. Note that this book contains 42 chapters, organised into four sections as follows:

  1. Chapters 1-11 cover the topics for the first MySQL Developer exam
  2. Chapters 12-22 cover the topics for the second MySQL Developer exam
  3. Chapters 23-32 cover the topics for the first MySQL Database Administrator (DBA) exam
  4. Chapters 33-42 cover the topics for the second MySQL DBA exam

If you’d like to attain MySQL Certified DBA status, then by all means keep reading after chapter 22, but I’m only going to deal with the developer exams here. My advice would be to work through the book, trying out the examples to get your head around the theory. If you’re like me, I only really understand things by trying things out, and the best way to do that is by typing the SQL code into the MySQL command prompt. Sure, you could use a graphical interface to MySQL such as MySQL Workbench, or phpMyAdmin, but you’ll learn a lot more via the command prompt and generating lots of beeps with errors in your SQL. Once you have a good grasp of the theory then try the sample exam questions, and keep repeating the exam questions until you’re consistently getting around 80% of them correct. If you find yourself getting the same questions incorrect again and again, then go back to the book and review the theory once more. If you’re consistently getting high scores in the sample questions, then it’s time to book an exam via PearsonVue. This book is quite technical and assumes a certain level of experience in IT technologies. Even for an experienced developer such as myself (I had quite a bit of Microsoft SQL Server experience before reading it), the book is still pretty heavy-going. Head First SQLSo if you’re a relative novice at database development, I would advise starting off with a more gentler introduction to SQL. The book we’ve been using is called Head First SQL. The Head First series of books try to teach technical subjects in a light-hearted way which aims to make the subject matter easy to understand, and easy to remember. In Head First SQL, the examples consist of databases for mixing cocktails, tracking clowns (no, really) and dating websites. Experienced developers will probably find the Head First series a bit too simplistic, and maybe even down right annoying (they have this habit of showing you the wrong way of doing something before telling you the right way), but they are excellent books for novices.

How long does it take to get MySQL Certified?

Consider a piece of string. How long is it? In all seriousness, the length of time it takes to get certified depends on:

  1. Your existing level of expertise in database systems
  2. How much time you can devote to studying

If you feel you need to work through the Head First SQL book to get a basic understanding of SQL – then I would allow 2-3 weeks to get through the book content and trying out the example exercises. Once you have a basic understanding of SQL, you should be able to complete the MySQL Study Guide in approximately 2 weeks of full-time study, but give yourself plenty of time to work through the sample questions before sitting the exam. I ended up doing each chapters sample questions about 4 times each, before I sat the exam – luckily I passed them both first time! Best of luck with your exams!

Note – I’ve now disabled comments on this post. I’ll blog about the new 5.6 Developer exam here.


  • Bhavi

    It offered such a great help as I can't afford to pay for training..
    But I have certain queries
    does the 1Z0-870 exam necessary..??

  • Bhavi

    well I bought an old book from my friend but he doesn't have the disk which included sample questions..can I get some practice questions from you..??

  • These questions are really healpful. Even I dont have a CD for preparation. Thank you very much.

    • marc

      Hi Hima, thanks for your comment – I’ve been very neglectful with this blog, there’s a new blog coming soon and I hope to give a lot more info on MySQL and PHP.

  • Marcus

    Hey Mark , 
    I hope the topic is still of actuallity and interest for you as i have a few questions.
    I have almost finished Head First SQL and it did help , i had some basic high level knowledge so there ware times when it was a bit anoying . Anyway i feel the book is a great introduction but i think i need something where i can practice more , some kind of book with alote of examples and practical exercises and less theory to "sharpen my teeth " so to speak. Can you recommand any book of this sort for MySQL before i can start reading trough MySQL Certification Study Guide book?
    I know i can always mess around in the MySQL workbench but having a book with examples and more important exercises gives me a lot of motivation that i cant find on my own trying to try out stuff…
    Also i m interested in the Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL 5 Database Administrator , if you can recommand any book before going to the MySQL Certification Study Guide book would be great , anyway i plan to pass the Oracle Certified Professional, MySQL Developer before even starting that.
    My last question would be what path would you advice for continued expertise in SQL after MySQL ( i started with MySQL because i got the chance to attend a small course focused on it and not other SQL "flavor") but i would imagine MS SQL server and Oracle are more adviced in the long run and for a career in databases.

    • marc

      Hi Marcus,
      Thanks for the comment! Yep, I hear you, Head First SQL can be annoying at times – they have a habit of showing you the wrong way to do something before showing you the correct way – that’s fine for the first couple of examples, but definitely becomes annoying. But, for less experienced people, the Head First series are pretty good as a gentle introduction.

      If you’re looking for a more advanced MySQL book, I always turn to O’Reilly books… check out this one – the MySQL Cookbook – it’s written by Paul DuBois, the same author as the MySQL Certification Study Guide, so imagine it would be pretty good.

      If you want to sharpen your teeth with some real-world examples, your best bet would be to build a real project in MySQL – maybe there’s a brilliant web app idea lurking in your head? Or a local business that needs a database app? Or a charity? With any of this stuff, you only truly learn by doing – so get out there and try building something!

      As for DBA exams, I’m afraid I can’t help you too much. As a web developer, I’ve no real experience of the DBA role, but you could ask your question on some of the MySQL Forums perhaps?

      And finally, for career advancement, you are correct – aiming for the commercial enterprise databases such as Oracle and MS SQL Server is the way to go, and what you learn in MySQL can be transferred across to those products. But I’d not write off MySQL too quickly – there’s a huge install base out there in hosting companies, and of course Facebook use their own custom MySQL build, so plenty of work in the MySQL space.

      Best of luck!

  • Dan Cullen

    Hi Marc Like yourself I deliver course in I.T. mainly FAS funded, I have wanted to learn MySQL as i really enjoy Databases and understand them, i intend to get certified and was glad to read the helpful information that you provided  Do you run courses yourself ? Dan  

    • marc

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for your comment – feeling guilty as I’ve not looked at this blog in ages – pesky clients keeping me busy!

      All the courses I deliver are as a freelance trainer working on behalf of one of the big training companies like BT Training Solutions, PFH, Global Knowledge etc. I wouldn’t have the facilities to run a course by myself (and to be fair I wouldn’t want the headache!).

      If you’re interested in MySQL and have a good IT background, then you should be able to prep for the exams yourself – that’s what I did back in the day with my Microsoft .NET Developer exams. Get the MySQL Certification Study Guide, work through the chapters and repeat the practice questions on the DVD until you’re consistently getting about 80%.

      Best of luck!

  • Dan Cullen

    HI Marc
    Thanks for the Reply, thats the plan I am going with and will work from there.

  • Daniel

    Hi Marc  the book you referenced above was published in 2005 is this still relevant for the exam?

    • marc

      Hi Daniel,

      Yep, as far as I’m aware despite being published in 2006, the book is still the de facto study guide for the exam.

      One of the problems with the book is that it’s based on v5.0 of MySQL – whereas the current version of the software is v5.6.10. So you can get caught out – trying examples from the book and finding that your MySQL installation doesn’t quite behave that way. Any time you spot something like that, it’s probably down to you running a more modern version of MySQL. My book is littered with scribbles in the margin: “this changed in MySQL 5.1” etc.

      I did contact Oracle Education about 6 months ago to see if they were planning to update the book and/or the exams, but they said they had no plans to do so. I guess that with Sun buying MySQL, and Oracle subsequently buying Sun, that the old MySQL exams are the least of their worries.

      Hope this helps,


    • Daniel

      Thanks Marc     can I ask you somethign else,  does this book cover the next exam which is the database administrator exam and do you have to sit the my certified associate exam before you can move on to do the two database administrator exams?  Hope this makes sense and thanks for helping

    • marc

      Hi Daniel,

      Yep the book covers the DBA exams. The book is split into 4 quarters – the first 2 quarters cover the Developer exam, the second 2 quarters cover the DBA exams. There's theory and practice questions for both. I've not done the DBA exams, so I can't comment on how good (or bad) the book is for those exams.

      The Associate exam is completely separate – it's not a pre-requisite for the Developer or the DBA exams. My impression is that the Associate exam is quite basic, and covers some topics from the Developer exam, and some from the DBA exam. Check out the Exam Topics here.

      If anyone out there has done the Associate exam – drop me a line and let me know how it went, I'm curious!

      If I were you, I'd skip the Associate exam and go straight for either DBA or Developer, depending on the career path you'd like to take. I never had any real interest in the DBA side of things!

      Best of luck,


  • Daniel

    Thank you again    One last question sorry to be a pain,    you mentioned some compatability issues with the new version and the info in the book,   I have downloaded the installer for the 5.0 version so I dont have this issue,  do you see any problem with this with regards to the amounht I will learn?  will I be missing a lot by using an older version?  I am very new to this so dont know If I will be able to work out how to fix something if the book has old info. 

    • marc

      Hi Daniel,

      I guess it depends on your priorities – if you just want to get certified, then stick with MySQL 5.0, but if you want to learn MySQL for real-world scenarios, then go for the latest version.

      When I’m teaching MySQL, we usually install WAMPServer, which comes with MySQL 5.5.24. Then we go through the book, trying the examples and the practice questions in the mysql client. If we find anything that doesn’t work quite as the book suggests, we do some research (Google is your friend!) to find out if that’s changed in a more recent version of MySQL.

      In my opinion this is the best way to learn, since in the real world, you’ll often come up against version problems – “why does my code not work when I deploy it to the hosting company’s database server? Ah…. they’re running a different version of MySQL!!”

    • Daniel

      Marc you have been so helpfull I am ready to start my journey,  my last and final question is regarding instillation,  can I just use the Installer on the MYSQL Download site will this give me everything I need?  The reason I ask is the book goes into great detail about everything yet the self installer is very simple,   is using this a cheat?

    • marc

      Hi Daniel,

      Again it depends on where you want to go with MySQL.

      Since I’m (mainly) a web developer, I’m always looking to hook up PHP to MySQL (to run WordPress, Drupal or write custom PHP scripts), so a package that contains Apache, MySQL and PHP makes life easy for me – look at WampServer on Windows, or MAMP on OSX. There’s also XAMPP, but the last time I looked at it (admittedly about 3 years ago) I found it trickier to install.

      If you do want a “pure” MySQL installation, then sure, go to and download the latest kit. But there are no installation questions on the Developer exams (the DBA exams do mention a little on the configuration, but not really the installation).

      Again from my perspective, I usually end up deploying my applications on a shared server in a hosting company, so I never need to worry about installing MySQL in the real world.

    • Daniel

      Thanks,  I am going down the DBA roure rather than developer so I guess that will contain questions re instillation?  Thanks for all your help

    • marc

      Hi Daniel,

      Yep, seeing as you’re looking at becoming a DBA, then try and do a pure MySQL install. At least you have the fallback of WAMP/MAMP/XAMPP should the install give you problems.


  • marc

    Thanks for all your comments on this post and apologies that I've not had the chance to update the blog with more material for the MySQL 5.0 Developer Exams, but I have just added in a note about the new MySQL 5.6 Developer Exam – see above.

  • Pingback: What you get when you get MySQL Certification? | Howtoprotect's Blog

  • Pusir

    Hi I want to know… is this certification valuable in the market.., which certification is best.? whats the scope ?
    whats the future?
    which certification is best?

    • marc

      Hi Pusir,

      Is this certification valuable in the market? 

      As far as I'm concerned, yes. Having an IT certification such as MySQL Developer implies that you have a certain level of competency in MySQL. However, it's not the only measure of competency, and it's probably not even the best measure of competency. I would always value real-world experience ahead of certifications.

      The problem with most job application processes is that it's very difficult for recruiters to work out who they should call for interview, so they tend to scan CVs looking for people who "tick the boxes". Having an IT cert like MySQL Developer can often make your CV stand out, so that you get called for interview. Once in the interview, then it's up to you to prove you know what you're talking about 🙂

      Which certification is best?

      Well that depends (my favourite answer to any question). In my view, the best certification is the one you are interested in. There's no point in your getting a cert in MySQL if you prefer Microsoft SQL Server. Other factors come into play too. What are employers in your area looking for? Are they Microsoft houses? If so, they're probably going to look for Microsoft SQL Server certifications. Or maybe they prefer Oracle? 

      That said, there are plenty of big businesses out there using MySQL (you've heard of Facebook, right?) and the skills you learn in the MySQL Cert can also be applied to other SQL databases – Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle included. It's a bit like learning Spanish, and then deciding to learn Italian – there's a lot of common words and grammar, but a lot of new stuff to learn too. 

      And if you're a self-employed web developer like me, building websites using Drupal, WordPress, PHP etc, then chances are you're going to be using MySQL a lot.

      What's the scope? What's the future?

      Check out the Oracle Education blog here


  • Gopal

    Hi Marc,
    Thanks a lot for the informative blog.
    Can you please suggest book/ reading material for the new version of exam (ORACLE CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL, MYSQL 5.6 DEVELOPER).
    Thanks !

    • marc

      Hi Gopal,

      Great question, and one that I've asked over on the MySQL Forums. So far I've yet to see an official book for the new Developer exam. There is hope though, since there is a new book for the DBA exam, so I would guess that a new Developer book is in the pipeline.

      There is a Developer Handbook that cover MySQL 5.6 (and also Oracle 11g) but it doesn't appear to include anything specific on the Developer exam. That might be worth getting if you have a urgent need to prep for the new exam.

      If anyone else finds a good book to prep for the new exam, leave a comment here – thanks!

    • Gopal

      Thanks for the information and prompt response !  🙂

  • I have couple of questions. Is just studying the study guide sufficient enough for passing the exam, or should I study the online manual too? Is most or all of the material on the exam covered in the study guide?

    • marc

      Hi Kira,
      Sorry for the delay in replying. As you’ve probably discovered, the certification process has now changed for MySQL 5.6, and as yet there is no official study guide for the 5.6 Developer Exam. In my opinion, you’ll have to use the 5.0 Certification Study Guide, plus the online manual and any other resources you might find. I’m hoping to write a few blog posts about my experiences in preparing for the 5.6 Developer exam.

  • erick

    Hi Marc
    I am going to present the 5.6 developer exam
    but I can't find material, I'm already studying the mysql 5.0 certification guide
    but I don't have the practise questions?
    could you help me to find them or anything can help.

    • marc

      Hi Erick,

      I’m in the same boat as you. I’m studying for the 5.6 Developer Exam, but as yet there’s no official study guide for MySQL 5.6.

      So I’m using the old MySQL 5.0 guide, plus Paul DuBois’ new MySQL book, and filling in any remaining gaps from the 5.6 manual and various blogs/websites. I’m hoping to blog about my exam preparation here.

      Best of luck with the exam, let me know how you get on, and if you find any good resources out there.

  • geeta

    hi marc i am new to edmonton. i am from india. i have done mca(masters in computer application) from india. now i want to upgrade my studies. i want to do certfication course of mysql developer. plz suggest me.

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