To Certify or Not to Certify: Part 2

Obviously you all know that I think certification is great. It can be an important career-building tool for people who take the process seriously (see my previous blog entry). However it’s my strong feeling that certification alone is only a part of the equation in building your career. There are other very important factors that you should consider if you want to advance and expand your career. Some suggestions are:

  • Broaden your job experience - Volunteer for a tough new project at work or volunteer to manage your local junior soccer team’s website. Pursue things that expand your experience and help you meet (and impress) new people.
  • Get additional training - You might need to take training in conjunction with your certification, but if possible don’t stop there. There are many opportunities for additional training - advanced courses, self-study CDs, online courses, white papers, etc.
  • Increase your product experience - Download the latest version of the product, install it locally and become familiar with it. Don’t forget to review any accompanying documentation or white papers.
  • Finish your university, college or technical degree (if possible) - If you are close, why not finish it up?
  • Build your reference base - To get a good job or promotion, you need people who are willing to vouch for you. Work hard to build trust with your peers, bosses and associates. As a part of this effort, focus on improving your communication skills.

Getting certified is a great way to build your career. Going through the certification process will help you increase your knowledge, expand your skill-set and boost your confidence. However certification alone is not enough. You should include some of the items above to help expand your career even further. You never know - it might just put you on the fast track!

Note to Hiring Managers: Just as candidate should not stake their careers solely on certification, you should not hire someone just because they are certified. Certification is an important factor and should play a role in your hiring process, but you should also base your hiring decisions on experience, education/training and communication skills (among other things). Most importantly you should follow up carefully with the candidate’s references. By looking at the whole package and verifying the details with multiple references you will improve your chances of hiring the right candidate.

Paul

Paul Sorensen | Director, Oracle Certification

Comments:

Hi Paul, In addition to your words, I believe that Oracle certification is one of the best ways to demonstrate our knowledge and skills in Oracle database systems and related products, because it demonstrates that we have a good understanding of our job role and the Oracle products used in that role. I totally agree that just get a certification without have real world hands on experience, can be useless. Cheers Legatti

Posted by Eduardo Legatti on July 23, 2008 at 03:10 AM PDT #

"I believe that Oracle certification is one of the best ways to demonstrate our knowledge and skills in Oracle database systems and related products" I am certified 7 and 10g OCP and can assert to this ssement with a vibrant 'no'. Unless you consider that a DBA task is only to install soft and backup db, then a small 'yes'. All good DBA I ever met had good knowledge of SQL and PL/SQL. But PL/SQL and SQL are gone from the DBA certification track. How can you pretend to dignose correctly a DB if you cannot assert the heavy load is due or not ? 90% of all performances problems are SQL related but SQL is not examined seriously in the exam.

Posted by Polarski bernard on July 24, 2008 at 06:08 PM PDT #

Hi Polarski, Thanks for your comment. Related to your comment above, you should be pleased to know that the new 11g database track includes a SQL requirement (which can be met by taking the any of the following SQL exams: 1Z0-007, 1Z0-047, or 1Z0-051). Additionally, we are also modifying the 10g track to include a SQL requirement. Read about the details at this link: http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=231. Thanks, Paul Sorensen

Posted by Paul Sorensen on July 25, 2008 at 12:00 AM PDT #

Hi Polarski, I agree with you. I believe that SQL is the first thing that any DBA must to know. Well, when I got OCP, the SQL exam was mandatory... When I said that just get a certification without have real world hands on experience could be useless, I meant that just learn by heart technical manuals may be sufficient to get good understanding and basic/advanced concepts, but practice these concepts in a real environment is very important for any professional who wants to acquire skill and experience ... By the way, what do you think about OCM certification? Cheers Legatti

Posted by Eduardo Legatti on July 28, 2008 at 09:51 PM PDT #

Hi All, I am preparing for 1Z0-047 Oracle Database SQL Expert and using materials in Oracle® Database SQL Language Reference 11g Release 1 (11.1) will be sufficient for this exam. Thanks in Advance, Kris

Posted by kris on August 03, 2008 at 09:54 AM PDT #

Hi Paul, This is excellent news. I guess it is very important for OCP/OCAs on DBA track to get certified on SQL. As DBAs always need SQL as their primary tool to troubleshoot DBA situations. I am glad OU is doing this. regards Sandeep

Posted by Sandeep Padhye on September 17, 2008 at 09:10 PM PDT #

I agree that SQL is essential for all DBAs- I learned SQL before I was a DBA and as a working DBA and consultant, I must have a solid knowledge of the SQL language to be productive.

Posted by Ben Prusinski on November 12, 2008 at 06:35 AM PST #

I think that a good DBA ever need to know SQL, operational system, hardware infrastructure and so on. I'm very pleasure with oracle initiative to create new certifications that certify particular DBA knowlogment like RAC and Performance. I hope soon there are more OCE to other particular DBA knowlogment like RMAN, Partitioning, Audit Vault, database vault, Dataguard, Data warehouse, Streams, etc.

Posted by Dandi on January 20, 2009 at 09:52 AM PST #

I have felt for a long time that, if Oracle University were serious about serving their customers, they would overhaul the certification program quite drastically. And before I get started, I highly respect that you have made this blog available. The following is critical of the current program, and I make no apologies for that. But please do not take it personally (unless you feel that you should). First and foremost, get rid of the requirement for "instructor-led training" for certification. Yes, I realize that aspect is intended to reinforce the "hands-on" element of the OCP, which is why I would also love to see the OCP become the OCA. The OCM is extremely hands-on, and I see absolutely no need for such a requirement for that particular exam. Especially since the practicum is already $2000. There should be another level above and beyond OCM, something reserved for those who really know their stuff. I am teaching a class at a community college right now; I cannot tell you how disappointed the students are to have learned that they have to attend a $3500 (or is it more now?) 5-day class in some big city, even if they do pass the test. How is that helpful? I am new to the curriculum (actually, new as a teacher, period), and I have been led to understand that the whole intent of the 4-course, year-long training program is geared specifically towards certification. Alas, the community college is not a training partner, so I had to burst that bubble. By why the ridiculously expensive requirements? Having been through the Oracle Certification system, the only real good thing that the current paradigm offers is that it filters out those who do not have the money, or not too foolish to spend the money. In summary: - eliminate course requirements for all certifications - rename OCP to OCA - rename OCM to OCP - generate new OCM certification That is, only if Oracle were serious about serving their customer base, instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel for cash. =)

Posted by Charles Schultz on January 22, 2009 at 10:39 PM PST #

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