· Apr 22

Beta testers needed for our upcoming InterSystems IRIS SQL Specialist certification exam

Hello IRIS Community,

InterSystems Certification is developing a certification exam for InterSystems IRIS SQL specialists, and if you match the exam candidate description given below, we would like you to beta test the exam. The exam will be available for beta testing on June 9 - 12, 2024 at InterSystems Global Summit 2024, but only for Summit registrants (visit this page to learn more about Certification at GS24). Beta testing will open for all other interested beta testers on June 24, 2024. However, interested beta testers should sign up now by emailing (please let us know if you will be beta testing at Global Summit or in our online proctored environment). The beta testing must be completed by August 2, 2024.

What are my responsibilities as a beta tester?

You will be assigned the exam and will need to take it by August 2, 2024. The exam will be administered in an online proctored environment (live-proctored during Summit), free of charge (the standard fee of $150 per exam is waived for all beta testers), and then the InterSystems Certification team will perform a careful statistical analysis of all beta test data to set a passing score for the exam. The analysis of the beta test results will take 6-8 weeks, and after the passing score is established, you will receive an email notification from InterSystems Certification informing you of the results. If your score on the exam is at or above the passing score, you will have earned the certification! 

Note: Beta test scores are completely confidential.

Exam Details

Exam title: InterSystems IRIS SQL Specialist

Candidate description: An IT professional who uses InterSystems IRIS SQL to:

  • design InterSystems IRIS SQL applications,
  • manage InterSystems IRIS SQL operations,
  • and load and efficiently query datasets in InterSystems IRIS SQL.

Number of questions: 47

Time allotted to take exam: 2 hours

Recommended preparation: Review the content found in the table below before taking the exam


Recommended practical experience:

  • Basic experience with standard ANSI SQL
  • 1 to 2 years of experience with designing and managing InterSystems IRIS SQL applications or expertise in other SQL platforms and has 1 year experience with managing InterSystems IRIS SQL applications.

Exam practice questions

set of practice questions is provided here to familiarize candidates with question formats and approaches.

Exam format

The questions are presented in two formats: multiple choice and multiple response. Access to InterSystems IRIS Documentation will be available during the exam. 

DISCLAIMER: Please note this exam has a 2-hour time limit. While InterSystems documentation will be available during the exam, candidates will not have time to search the documentation for every question. Thus, completing the recommended preparation before taking the exam, and searching the documentation only when absolutely necessary during the exam, are both strongly encouraged!

System requirements for beta testing (note that laptops will be provided and configured to meet these requirements at Global Summit)

  • Working camera & microphone
  • Dual-core CPU
  • At least 2 GB available of RAM memory
  • At least 500 MB of available disk space
  • Minimum internet speed:
    • Download - 500kb/s
    • Upload - 500kb/s

Exam topics and content

The exam contains questions that cover the areas for the stated role as shown in the exam topics chart immediately below.



Knowledge, skills, and abilities

1. Designs InterSystems IRIS SQL applications


1. Designs a SQL schema

  1. Identifies role of bitmap extent index
  2. Determines use cases for indexes
  3. Distinguishes use cases for different index types​
  4. Distinguishes primary, unique, and ID keys
  5. Identifies properties for foreign key relationships
  6. Identifies behavior of referential actions for update and delete
  7. Identifies tradeoffs for adding ever more indexes
  8. Identifies use cases for composite indexes


2. Designs advanced schemas

  1. Distinguishes the differences between date/time data types


3. Loads data

  1. Uses LOAD DATA command
  2. Uses SQL diagnostics tables (%SQL_Diag)
  3. Identifies options for exporting data (physical vs logical)

4. Writes business logic

  1. Defines stored procedures
  2. Defines triggers
  3. Identifies language options for writing business logic

5. Develops object/relational applications

  1. Recalls default object/relational mapping
  2. Recalls SQL best practices when defining classes

6. Deploys SQL applications

  1. Lists mechanisms for deploying SQL applications
  2. Determines what needs to be part of a deployment

2. Uses InterSystems IRIS SQL

1. Manages InterSystems IRIS query processing

  1. List considerations made by the optimizer
  2. Differentiates syntax and runtime errors
  3. Uses Statement Index to find statement metadata
  4. Distinguishes between the use of parameters and constants in a query


2. Interprets query plans

  1. Identifies ways to view query plans for a statement
  2. Identifies Full Table Scans in a query plan
  3. Identifies the use of indexes in a query plan
  4. Distinguishes between loops and lookups in a query plan
  5. Distinguishes modules called once vs repeatedly in a query plan
  6. Recalls role of table statistics in query planning
  7. Uses hints to troubleshoot query planning
  8. Identifies opportunities for indexes, based on a query plan
  9. Recalls the meaning of estimated cost


3. Uses InterSystems IRIS SQL in applications

  1. Defines InterSystems IRIS connections
  2. Identifies prepare/execute steps
  3. Recalls how proper use of parameters can guard against SQL injection
  4. Leverages explicit transaction controls effectively


4. Uses InterSystems IRIS-specific SQL capabilities

  1. Uses SelectMode appropriately
  2. Uses arrow syntax for implicit joining


5. Uses transactions effectively

  1. Determines appropriate transaction boundaries
  2. Uses CommitMode appropriately
  3. Recalls impact of large or long-running transactions

2. Manages InterSystems IRIS SQL operations

1. Manages SQL operations

  1. Uses SQL Process view to monitor SQL activity (2022.2+)
  2. Gathers table statistics
  3. Uses the runtime stats in the Statement Index to find statements with optimization opportunities


2. Manages SQL Security

  1. Assigns SQL privileges to users and roles
  2. Differentiates SQL privilege checking and application security
  3. Identifies impact of enabling SQL auditing

3. Uses PTools for advanced performance analysis

  1. Distinguishes between performance metrics "time spent", "global references" and "commands executed"

Interested in participating? Email now!

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