Oracle Certification and the Hands-On Course Requirement (Part 1)
By Harold Green on Jul 07, 2009
One of the largest topics of conversation for the Oracle Certification Program is related to the hands-on course requirement in place for some of our certification tracks. So, I thought that I’d address a few of the most common questions and talk about the benefits of this requirement.
Why does Oracle have a hands-on course requirement?
Oracle’s hands-on course requirement was implemented in order to raise the bar for new candidates entering the Oracle Certification programs. In an era where complaints that “paper certifications” were devaluing some certification programs’ offerings, Oracle made the tough decision in 2002 that mandatory training would be required for most tracks. All new entrants after November 2002 would be required to attend an Oracle course, interact with an Oracle trainer, and participate in the in-class labs.
As time has gone on, we have continued to share about our position in how a significant part of the value of certification lies in the process of becoming certified (i.e. training, studying, practicing, etc.) Our course requirement plays a critical role in this process and can be highly valuable. This sentiment, more often than not, has been echoed by many certified individuals themselves.
The idea of requiring course attendance is not new. Universities, high schools and grammar schools require attendance. Additionally, many smaller application-oriented I.T. programs require their candidates to attend training; good examples are PeopleSoft and Siebel (now owned by Oracle).
What Is The Value To The Candidates?
A big value of the hands-on course requirement to the credential-holders is that Oracle has eliminated a large group of people that I unkindly refer to as “bottom-feeders” – those individuals and groups (identified by Oracle back in 2002) whose sole goal was to exploit the brand-recognition of the Oracle credentials without really doing the work to become certified. This includes cheaters, those taking advantage of proxy-testing, and those taking real short-cuts to become certified in many different company programs - practices that became evident during the tech-bubble. These people’s actions tend to damage the credentials that many people have legitimately earned. “Bottom feeders” - for the most part - are not willing to spend the time, effort and money to attend an Oracle course.
By cutting off the majority of these “bottom feeders,” Oracle’s certification program saw an immediate decline in volume, yet we knew that the overall value of the credential would be improved both short-term and especially long-term. This is one of many difficult actions that Oracle took to increase the value of its offerings. Others included the addition of scenario-based questions to our certification exams and the OCM certification path . The Oracle Certification Program has seen significant growth - 18 straight quarters and counting - an indication that people continue to reap the benefits and seek the value in holding these quality Oracle credentials.
We'll share more in our upcoming post "Oracle Certification and the Hands-On Course Requirement (Part 2)."
Director, Oracle Certification