About Passing the DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Examination

Ahem.  Your attention please, for a moment, if you’re interested in DB2 DBA Certifications as a z/OS DBA.  I’m posting this to talk specifically about the DB2 9 Fundamentals exam.


If you’re interested in getting an IBM z/OS DBA certification, you have to pass either the Prometric DB2 V8 Family Fundamentals exam (no longer offered) or the Prometric DB2 V9 Fundamentals exam; then you have to pass the z/OS-specific exam; see .  (If you’re lucky, you get to take them for free with an IDUG admission.) 


The fundamentals tests don’t have a lot of material from the z/OS or iOS worlds.  YOU CAN’T PASS THE FUNDAMENTALS EXAM WITHOUT KNOWING QUITE A BIT ABOUT NON-z/OS DB2 ENVIRONMENTS.  If you don’t believe me, dig up a sample test at IBM or go take one of the Prometric online evaluation tests at   (I know this isn’t news to some of you but I’m addressing the whole audience here.)




I passed the DB2 9 Fundamentals exam a couple of hours ago, after intermittent study over the past year; three things contributed to my success:


1)         Knowledge of SQL from my previous career.  There are quite a few SQL questions (but you can’t pass if that’s all you know).

2)         Having a copy of DB2 Express-C installed on my Windows laptop so that I could actually use some of the things we got tested on ( .

3)         This was critical: Buying and reading (almost) all of Roger Sanders’ DB2 9 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide, and taking most of the tests in it. is the link to the Amazon hardcopy purchase; it’s available as Kindle from Amazon (I don’t recommend buying it this way if you’ve got one of the small Kindles, but an iPad might work and a Kindle DX should be okay for this.)


Reading the guide and writing some of the code on the DB2 Express-C instance helped me grasp firmly what I was reading; if you don’t have other UDB/LUW experience, you definitely want to do this.


The Sanders guide was, to say it again, critical.  The material is tough, and the author does not attempt to simplify.  He breaks things down by subject area and puts sample test questions after each chapter, allowing the student to do focused review.


Having taken the test, I can tell you that the _reason_ Sanders doesn’t make it simple is that the _Test_ expects you to know a lot of stuff, in detail.  There are several questions on XML, so you need to know all the basics about how XML is stored (internally, within the column, and externally, as a datatype)… there are questions about which edition/piece of DB2 UDB you have to use for particular hardware configurations, and to accomplish particular tasks.  (You will see all of this in the published sample tests in the book; I’m not giving away any trade secrets here.)  You can pass the test without knowing all of the details on everything about DB2 and UDB, but you need to know quite a bit about quite a few topics.  Again:  the Sanders book was the source of most of my knowledge other than SQL basics, and I passed.  If you can still study fairly hard technical stuff, you can do this too.


I also want to emphasize that it matters to have most of this material either well-learned or AT LEAST fairly fresh in your mind before taking the exam.  (In fact, in a last minute review of a couple of chapters this morning, I learned/relearned things that led to correct answers to either three or four of the 64 test questions.)  If you’re not sure if you’ll pass, take one of the “evaluation” exams before registering for the $200 “real” test.


Finally; there are more expensive certifications out there, but if you’re not in a tearing hurry, why not wait until the next conference you attend?  You can take the test for free at IDUG and IOD, if I recall correctly; and this year, there was a special promoted by IBM (Only from March through May, sorry), where if you passed the evaluation form of an exam, they emailed you a voucher good for 50% off ($100!!) the cost of the equivalent “real” test.


Hope this helps y’all.


--Phil Sevetson

IBM-Certified DB2 z/OS and OS/390 DBA (DB2 V7, V8)

IBM-Certified DB2 Associate (DB2 9)

IBM Information Champion

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