Becoming an Oracle expert
Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson
Also, see these important related notes on
becoming an Oracle guru, how to get an
DBA job, how Oracle DBA jobs will be
different in the
year 2020 and Oracle
DBA job duties. Also, many folks ask
how much is a college degree worth?
What is the benefit of purchasing a
Oracle Database: SQL
Certified Expert certificate?
The term "expert" is used with abandon in the database
industry and many people complain that there cannot possible be so many
"experts" in Oracle technology. I disagree.
Can you be an Expert without experience?
The word "expert" shares its roots with the word "experience", and I
don't think that the OCE exam requires evidence of work experience. Back in
Oracle7 days, the Chauncey Oracle7 Certified DBA program required a signed
statement from your employer, to warrant that the candidate had enough
experience to be considered an "expert" in Oracle database administration.
The brilliant cartoonist Wiley Miller makes this point that you cannot be
an expert without experience in his award-winning comic strip Non Sequitur:
Oracle is the world's most robust and flexible database,
yet the complexity of Oracle is not rocket science and anyone with a decade of
real-word Oracle experience is likely to be an Oracle expert.
examine what it takes to rightfully call yourself an Oracle expert.
The criteria for the title of "Oracle Expert"
In my humble opinion, it's difficult not to become an
Oracle expert after a decade of full-time experience. However, it's the
nature of the experience that matters most:
Real-world experience - The path to true Oracle
expertise is paved with working on real-world, mission-critical Oracle
databases. No amount of at-home experimentation can compare with the
learning from working on a real production database. Many aspiring
Oracle experts will work for free for non-profit charities in order to get
Quality experience - There is a wide variation
in the quality of experience in the Oracle workplace. Not all
experience is created equal, and a challenging high-performance database job
will provide far more expertise exposure than baby-sitting a stable
Broad experience - A broad base with many
different types of Oracle database is essential for developing expert
status. I've been in shops with over 20 DBA's, where job duties are
highly segmented and Oracle professionals are relegated to "niche" work,
like security administration, or full-time patch application. On the
other hand, a single DBA is more likely to get a broader range of
experience. The best place to get experience is as an Oracle
consultant where you are exposed to dozens of novel databases each year.
A well-rounded Oracle DBA will have experience in many areas including OLTP,
OLAP and batch databases.
We see these general types of Oracle databases, and an
Oracle expert should have exposure to these types of Oracle databases:
What type of Oracle expert are you?
Today, Oracle technology has become so broad that we see
areas of expertise emerging. We also see these common "types" of specialty
Oracle DBA's, each with their own specialized areas of expertise. Again,
10 years of real-world full-time experience is enough to fully master these
Oracle replication expert - Experience with
multi-master replication, Data Guard and Streams can make you an expert at
Oracle RAC expert - Experience deploying
production OPS and RAC database is all it takes to garner Oracle RAC expert
Oracle tuning expert - Many large Oracle shops
have DBA's who specialize in performance optimization, instance tuning and
Oracle warehouse expert - These Oracle DBA
experts have experience with VLDB administration (partitioning), Oracle OLAP
tools (Discoverer, Oracle warehouse Builder (OWB), and Oracle Data Mining
Oracle apps DBA expert - These Oracle DBA's
handle the Oracle Application Server, Oracle 11i eBusiness suite, and the
In sum, becoming an Oracle expert requires three things,
real-world experience, broad experience and quality experience.
What about OCP certification?
I don't believe that OCP or OCM certification, by itself,
makes anyone an Oracle expert. I've worked with dozens of "newly-minted"
OCP holders, many of whom take the OCP test to advance from a position as an
Oracle developer of programmer. The OCP only measures rote memorization
skills, and many brand-new Oracle DBA's are not capable of managing a real-world
Oracle database without hands-on experience.
Next, see my notes on
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