Thoughts on the DB2 9 Fundamentals exam

03 August 2007 » DB2, IBM

This past Tuesday I took the DB2 9 Fundamentals certification exam that I set my sights on a couple of months back. The exam covers the basic topics in DB2 installation, administration and database usage. Successful candidates earn “IBM Certified Database Associate” status.

I hadn’t planned to have a go at it so soon, but I discovered the hard way that I only had until the end of July to both redeem my particular exam voucher and take the test. When buying or receiving vouchers in the past, the two dates have been separate. For example, one normally must redeem a voucher by a certain date, but can slot the exam itself for some period after that deadline.

No matter, I did pass, but I have to admit the test was more challenging than I expected.

Study materials
I split my preparation between Roger Sanders’ DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide and the DB2 9 Fundamentals certification 730 prep series on IBM developerWorks written by various DB2 subject matter experts.

Both resources overlap in their coverage of the exam objectives, but the developerWorks tutorials and other articles on the site cover XQuery and the XML topics in more detail whereas the book provides sample questions and a comprehensive mock exam.

Besides being a solid guide to the material, the study guide’s binding held up very well during the course of several trips to the beach, repeated cat bites, and rough rides in the back of my truck. :)

What I gained
Despite the rush to study before I had to take the exam, I retained a lot of knowledge and plan to apply what I learned to some existing database applications.

I would liken the preparation for this type of exam to something I did earlier this summer; spend a couple hours with my vehicle’s owner’s manual. I’ve been driving that truck for 2 years, but I discovered a few things I never knew before that made general usage better. For example, how to use cruise control properly, monitor tire pressure, and fine tune the alarm.

In particular, I shored up my knowledge of the following DB2 topics, and plan to take advantage of them in the coming weeks.

  • Isolation levels and lock characteristics. I’m looking forward to tuning our existing applications by specifying appropriate concurrecy tweaks where I can to improve performance.
  • UNION, INTERSECT, EXCEPT set operators. I vaguely recall these from a generic introduction to SQL course I took a few years ago. With more experience under my belt, I think I can really take advantage of these types of queries now now.
  • User defined types (UDTs). This could be an interesting way to apply Object-Oriented Analysis and Design concepts to the database, since one can map a business concept like MONEY to the native type DECIMAL(6, 2).

The Iowa Choral Directors Association
One gripe I do have that doesn’t have anything to do with the test per se is that the short form of the title attained via certification is hard to pin down.

“ICDA” is ambiguous with the more advanced administrator certification – IBM Certified Database Administrator – which is particularly odd given how thoroughly IBM embraces acronyms. Googling the term to find folks who hold the qualification leads to some interesting results…

My next steps
I intend to follow through with the IBM Certified Application Developer (PDF) path, which means preparing for the DB2 9 Application Developer exam.

As IBM’s Program Manager for Information Management points out, there isn’t a dedicated book for this exam, but she does offer some suggestions for other study materials.

Along with those, I’m planning to crack open the DB2 8 Application Development Certification Guide that I’ve been hanging onto for about 3 years. As before, developerWorks tutorials should come in handy.

  

3 Responses to 'Thoughts on the DB2 9 Fundamentals exam'

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  1. Vijiram said,

    19 October 2007 at 2:59 am

    Hi,
    I am preparing for the Db2 V9 fundamentals exam – 730.
    As i have very less experience in working with Db2 i am trying to hone my skills based on the tutorials and the study guide. I have been reading the IBM tutorials for some time.
    please suggest a better way to learn for the exam and let me know on what are the key areas i should be looking for in the exam.
    It would be of great help to me.
    Also let me know how to prepare for the exam to improve my chances of passing the test.

    thanks
    Vijiram

  2. Sushanth said,

    16 May 2008 at 8:18 am

    Hi,
    I am plannin on doing db2 9 fundamental exam 730. Can i know how much is the examination fee…

  3. Pavan said,

    04 September 2008 at 6:28 am

    Hi-

    They charged me Rs.3,300( 75$ ) for Db2 9 Fundamentals..

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