As I’m a goal oriented person, I tend to take certifications for new products that I’m having to use for work. The certification process gives me a learning structure that forces me not to skip over the things that are less interesting, and hopefully gives me a more rounded knowledge base.
I’ve recently (3 hours ago 😉 ) completed the MySQL 5.0 DBA certification. To use a footballing cliché it was very definitely a game of two halves. The first exam I found very tricky. Perhaps this was because I still had my Oracle head on, and the concept of multiple pluggable storage engines wasn’t sticking, but I really struggled to find the correct answers. The second exam I found much more understandable, lots of questions about EXPLAIN. Both of the MySQL exams are multiple choice format – however, there did seem to be a lot of ‘Select all that are correct’ questions.
I used this book http://www.mysql.com/certification/studyguides/study-guide-5.0.html to help me along with the incredibly detailed MySQL reference manual.