Best SQL Certifications: 2021 List

SQL (structured query language) is a programming language used for SQL database management or database administration. This coding language is ideal for retrieving, storing, and manipulating data inside any digital product such as an app or website.

SQL has become such an influential programming language in the tech industry that it is used in many areas including machine learning, database administration, and programming. That’s why getting an SQL certification is an excellent way to advance your career.

In this guide, we will look at what SQL is and how getting an SQL certification can help further your career. Check out the rest of our article for the list of the best SQL certifications in 2021.

Why Are SQL Certifications Important?

Having an SQL certification will validate your SQL skills on different platforms like Microsoft Azure and Oracle. SQL is a widely-used programming language, particularly for things like machine learning or database administration.

An SQL certification demonstrates your proficiency with SQL and related platforms to future employers. This will open up more job opportunities and career benefits such as salary increases and job promotions.

Professional Certification
vs Certificate Program

A professional certification is an accreditation provided by a reputable institution that validates competency in a specific field. Your skills will be assessed by things such as your previous experience in the field and a certification examination.

A certificate program is a training course designed to teach you about a certain subject. At the end of the program, you will receive a certificate of completion. This demonstrates you have successfully completed the course. However, a certificate does not assess or prove your level of competency in a certain area.

Professional Certification Certificate Program
Validates proficiency with a particular skill Validates the completion of a program
It is provided by a third-party validator It is provided by the training institution
Requires you to pass an exam Does not require you to pass an exam
An industry standard for measuring skills Not standardized

What’s Demand for SQL Skills Like in 2021?

SQL server databases are a key part of most data analysis and data science processes. That’s why the demand for SQL skills has grown exponentially over recent years. According to a recent analysis from Dataquest, SQL is the most in-demand skill for data analysis jobs in 2021. These statistics were sourced from Indeed’s employment data.

Many professions now require you to work with SQL on a daily basis, such as database administrators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), database administrators have a projected employment growth of 10 percent by 2029. Data science careers are expected to grow by 15 percent between 2019 and 2029, according to BLS.

The average projected growth statistic for all other careers is only four percent. This shows that professionals with SQL skills are in high demand and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

The Best SQL Certifications

The Best SQL Certifications

Respected institutions such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle all offer their own SQL learning paths and certifications. All of them have different certification requirements and difficulty levels. Below, we look at the best SQL database certifications in 2021 in detail.

Cost: $200
Validity: N/A

PostgreSQL is a SQL-based server used in data warehousing and data administration. If you want to work as a database manager, you need to be able to work with PostgreSQL. You need to have taken their Foundations of PostgreSQL course before enrolling in this certification exam.

To obtain the certification, you must pass the EDB PostgreSQL exam that consists of several multiple choice questions. After purchasing the exam, you can complete it anytime within six weeks. The exam lasts one hour.

Cost: $200
Validity: N/A

This is an entry-level database certification provided by IBM covering the most fundamental topics related to database administration. It measures your skills in SQL, database security, and transition isolation.

You should have experience with this programming language as well as with database management. A Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Data Science is recommended but not a prerequisite for taking the exam.

To earn certification you need to take a 63-question exam, which you must complete in under 90 minutes. You need to pass 43 of those 63 questions to receive the certification.

Cost: $99
Validity: One Year

This Microsoft SQL certification is an entry-level credential that validates your competency in using SQL in Microsoft Azure. You must be able to work with relational and non-relational data in the platform analytics workload and other core data concepts.

The exam is intended for beginners on the Microsoft Azure platform. However, you should make sure to prepare as much as you can so you can successfully pass the exam without complications. If you want to practice with real test examples, you can do so with Microsoft’s official practice test available on their online certification dashboard.

This certification is perfect if you want to pursue a career in software development, data analysis, data engineering, or database administration.

Cost: $245
Validity: 18 Months

MySQL is a database management system with built-in SQL that’s used in many applications such as data warehousing and ecommerce. The certification is ideal for those working or hoping to work as database managers.

This Oracle certification will help you showcase your skills using MySQL with the Oracle platform. This certification exam will evaluate your ability to manage data security, perform risk control, and store data.

Cost: $245
Validity: 18 Months

This is a great credential if you want to show off your SQL skills and your proficiency in database administration. This Oracle certification demonstrates your ability to work with SQL on the Oracle database server.

To obtain this certification, you need to pass the Oracle SQL certification exam, which includes multiple-choice questions and real-world challenges. It measures your competency with other areas such as data modeling, tables, conditional expressions, access control, data collection, and data retrieving.

How to Choose the Right Certification

To choose the ideal certification for you, keep a couple of factors in mind. Check the validity of the certification in the industry at the time of enrolling. You should also consider whether you meet the accreditation’s requirements for certification. It’s also important to reflect on what your expectations are after obtaining the credential.

Industry Validation

The most important factor to consider is whether the certification has industry validation. Not all certifications have the same level of validation in the industry. Check the provider’s reputation, the topics covered in the certification, and their acceptance rate in the job market.

Career Goals

Certification is ideal if you’re hoping to specialize in a particular field. Many SQL certifications are focused on particular areas like Microsoft Azure, Oracle, or MySQL. Make sure that the certification you’re testing for meets your career goals and what you are trying to achieve.


Some of the SQL certifications above are entry-level, so have very minimum requirements. However, if you’re going after a more advanced accreditation, you should make sure to meet those particular requirements. For example, some require a bachelor’s degree or several years of experience.

Resources to Prepare for
Your Certification Exam

Before applying for any certification, you should be as prepared as possible for the examination. Below we have compiled some of the most useful courses and resources that could help you in learning SQL and getting certified.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $115

This Udemy course is a training program designed to help you build the skills you need to pass the Microsoft Azure Data Certification exam. You will have more than 10 hours of training videos and two practice exams.

The certificate program covers topics like Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL, and Azure Synapse Analytics. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Type of Resource: Practice Exam
Cost: $20

This is a practice exam or the IBM Certified Database Administrator certification. You will have access to two practice tests with a total of 120 questions to evaluate your database administration skills, including SQL programming.

Practice tests are a great way to save you money because you’ll make sure you are fully prepared to pass the real certification exam in the first trial.

Type of Resource: Online Course
Cost: $145

This is another Udemy course that will give you the appropriate resources to prepare for the Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate certification. You will have 20 hours of training videos and lifetime access to more than 70 downloadable resources.

You will study concepts like data accessibility control, data manipulation, and managing schema objects. This resource doesn’t include a practice test but is a great way to study SQL fundamentals.

Should I Pursue a SQL Certification in 2021?

Getting an SQL certification in 2021 is an excellent way to increase your career opportunities and develop your portfolio. SQL is an in-demand skill for professions such as data science, database administration, and machine learning.

If you’re considering a career that requires SQL knowledge, you should invest in earning an SQL certification. Most of the certifications are valid for at least a year and aren’t very expensive. Not every job candidate has one, and it’s also a great way to set yourself apart from other competitors.

Find the right bootcamp for you
By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.
By continuing you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and you consent to receive offers and opportunities from Career Karma by telephone, text message, and email.