MongoDB Has a Funny Name and a Couple of Hot Certifications


Let's talk about database administration.


Database inside of laptop concept

For starters, can you think of a field with more job security? There's hardly a business left that doesn't at least dabble in databases, and the holdouts can't last. And it's not an entry-level position by any stretch — even a smaller database requires substantial training to maintain, and with bigger databases, where more automation is required, a highly-skilled DBA is indispensable.


This, of course, means pay is on the aggressive side of decent. According to one recent report, the 2013 median salary for a DBA was more than $78k and climbing steadily toward $80k. So, probably over $80k now. Just saying. But your job is good, too.


This type of growth might explain how the MongoDB Certified DBA showed up on's Certification Hot List 2015. The list measures the recent market-value shift of various IT certifications, and the Mongo Certified DBA has gained an astonishing 14.3 percent in the last 6 months alone. It also has the same name as the home planet of Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon, which I'm pretty sure requires licensees to pay an extra 5 percent. (Ha, ha: The name is actually derived from the word "humongous.")


Regardless of its namesake, MongoDB is open-source NoSQL document database software. Originally produced by 10gen as part of a PaaS product, it was made open source under a hybrid Apache and GNU Affero General Public License in 2009, with 10gen offering paid support. Since then Mongo DB has been adopted by big dogs like Viacom, Craigslist, and the New York Times, to name a few.


Its aggressive increase in popularity is probably the other reason its corresponding DBA certification made the list: MongoDB is now the most popular NoSQL system on the market. Even with the MongoDB Certified DBA being a relatively new certification, MongoDB has the clout to back it up. Anyone pursuing the cert could expect a variety of open positions as well as skill marketability for the foreseeable future. Also, they would have a certification with "Mongo" in the name.


(OK, I'm over it. Just ignore me.)


The exam itself costs $150 and can be taken online via remote proctor, so have your webcam ready. MongoDB offers two certifications, the DBA and the MongoDB Certified Developer Associate, both of which are open for registration now and will be administered between April 21 and 28. Mongo has a full list of requirements and training materials available on their website, but for a quick summary of the basics: the DBA exam covers run-time configuration, processes, scaling, backup and recovery, monitoring, and performance tuning specific to Mongo DB. There are no pre-requisites for the exam, though Mongo recommends advance training and offers public and private classes.


If you're less than enthralled by the MongoDB cert but still interested in the field, there are other respectable (though more difficult to attain) certifications that almost guarantee good returns in terms of employment and salary. For instance, reports that an Oracle Database Administrator can expect to make around $105K per year — and considering the popularity of Oracle Database products among Fortune 500 companies, it shouldn't be too difficult to find a position.


The associated certification, offered by Oracle, is the Oracle Database 11g Certification. (Although just this week, Oracle announced the full release of its 12c administration cert.) This one comprises two steps. First, choose from three multiple-choice exams offered by PearsonVue and pass; second, register for the Certification exam and take it. Total cost will be somewhere between $370 and $490, depending on which of the three elective exams you choose (and not counting the optional workshop).


Just by way of warning, we note that there's going to be more competition for positions, more expectation of additional experience or training, and less opportunity for growth. Also there's no "Mongo" in the name. Proceed at your own risk.


Would you like more insight into the history of hacking? Check out Calvin's other articles about historical hackery:
About the Author
David Telford

David Telford is a short-attention-span renaissance man and university student. His current project is the card game MatchTags, which you can find on Facebook and Kickstarter.