If you want to stay in the Microsoft world, look into the Microsoft database certifications just emerging from their latest crop of programs, especially the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP). If your interests lie more in the development side --database applications or scripting -- you'll also want to dig into the Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) credentials as well. Read all about them at Microsoft's Web site.
On the other hand, if your interests incline more toward Oracle, MySQL, DB2, or whatever, check out the vendor/sponsor certification programs that support those database platforms. Even if you don't get certified, digging into prep curriculum and materials will still help arm you to work in those areas.
This was first published in September 2006