My journey learning Postgres began approximately 2 weeks ago, I am out of work and want to keep my skills relevant so decided to learn Postgres. I had no idea where to start or how to learn this database that is db engines database of the year 2023.
How does anyone start that journey I didn’t really know any Postgres people to ask so obviously Google was my first port of call. Straight away the name of Enterprise DB aka EDB came up, I’d heard of them before and even attended one of their presentations on an overview a long time ago but a far distant memory.
What is amazing is that EDB offer their commercial branding of Postgres, but also cater for vanilla community Postgres, but the big plus point for anyone that didn’t know including me is their training courses are free, they have courses for EDB Postgres, Community Postgres and you guessed it their cloud offering of Postgres called Big Animal.
Now with regard to certification they also offered certifications in EDB Postgres and Community Postgres, this costs $200 to $250, which is a bit steep but given the training material including videos, labs and slides are all free it a cost that is justifiable I believe.
At this point I knew nothing about Postgres, but as you undertake the course Postgres Essentials v16, you appreciate that Postgres is a community run project and certifications don’t really exist as such apart for the offering from EDB.
The course does add some elements briefly about about EDBs commercial offerings and their management tooling but in the whole stays true to the core Community Postgres. Now my background is as an Oracle DBA so databases were not a new concept to me, that said the course I believe could be taken by anyone to get a very good grounding in Postgres and relational databases in general.
When I study I like to not just read and learn but also try things out and the labs which also had answers provided are brilliant for this.
I had Postgres v16 up and running in no time, with all the management tooling such as pgAdmin working. I would add I was absolutely amazed at the speed and ease with which one could install the software and provision a database cluster.
I think someone could install the required RPMs and create a database in under 1 minute. What an amazing product an enterprise worthy database that can be installed and database created in minutes. Not just that Postgres is a free database, though I appreciate that most companies would want a support contract in place from one of the many companies that offer this or a managed cloud services where support is inclusive, that said I think it could be very compelling for a company to run postgresql in dev/test and support it themselves for those small simple non exotic applications its free!
The PostgreSQL essential course is broken down in to modules, which cover the the below topics:
- Introduction to Postgres
- Postgres Architecture Overview
- Installing Postgres
- command line tool psql
- Database Clusters
- Configuration Changes
- Data Dictionary
- Database, Schema and Users
- Security Concepts
- Database Monitoring
- Introduction to SQL
- Backup and Recovery
- Database Maintenance
One topic that was not covered was High Availability and Replication, I mention this as questions did come up in the exam around this area. That said I was fairly aware of these concepts as in parallel I was reading up on Postgres and walking through examples in PostgreSQL 16 Administration Cookbook
(I’ll probably write a review for this book later when I get time, but I also read this book and undertook many of the examples prior to taking the exam)
Now to the exam it self, this left me a bit perplexed as there is not much information on what the exam format, objectives, scoring criteria would be other than pre-requisites to having undertaken the free PostgreSQL v16 Essential course, which I had done. That said as above the exam also had some question on Replication and HA which were not covered in the course, But there are some slides on these in the course material which I had skimmed read, but was not expecting to be in the exam.
So in short the course does cover the exam, but some of the material provided in the slide deck which is not covered on the online course may also appear in the exam such as replication.
To book the exam you use the same EDB website where the course was taken. Once booked you will receive a link which can take upto 24 hours (took about 12 hours for me) to take the exam within a 6 week window. Once you have the link you can start the exam at any time within that 6 week period.
The actual exam consist of 50 questions with 50 minutes to complete, so you have 1 minute per question. The question format is multiple choice, where you either have to pick the only correct answer OR select all the correct answers from the choices shown. As per normal for IT exams you can flag questions to review and also step back and forth through the questions. The pass mark is 80% so you get up to 10 questions wrong and still pass, but 80% is probably in line with most exams.
Lastly the exam is unproctored, so there is no monitoring on camera of what you are doing, in essence its an open book exam, as long as you have taken reasonable notes and have a good understanding from the course that should be enough to pass within the allotted time. Just taking a step back this format does really make sense in the real world we all live by google, chatGPT, asking a friend why should exams be different (I believe some Microsoft exams are now open book as well so its not unique to EDB). Key for me was learning Postgres but as someone who does not have that commercial experience I wanted to have the certification as well to show to potential employers and there is a feel good factor to passing an exam.
You get the exam results almost immediately after finishing the exam and guess what I passed as well so I am now Postgres v16 certified, but I also think I have a very decent grounding in Postgres and thankyou EDB for helping me and hopefully many others get to know what I believe is an amazing Enterprise Grade database.
I believe the Tuesday after passing you will receive the digital badge from Credly which can proudly be displayed on linkedin.
What next, you can also take the Advanced PostgreSQL course and exams, I have also completed the Advanced Postgres course (I’m not working I have free time and think Postgres is a great product!) but I’m in 2 minds if to take the advanced exam, mainly due to $200 fee even though I appreciate the course is free for that as well.
Checkout my diagram I made based on my learning journey so far
If you fancy testing your Postgres knowledge please also try the Postgres quiz I created, this is nothing to do with the EDB’s PostgreSQL v16 essentials exam, but is based on my own material as I learn and research, I created all the questions myself from scratch and will keep updating the questions as I learn new Postgres concepts, it helps me to remember. There are 100s of questions there already!
The Postgres Mascot is an elephant why? As an elephant never forgets, its that Durability….
I think Primigenius DB would be a good name for a Postgres fork in hommage to that elephant.