Written by Ian Baugaard
My certification journey began way back in 2002, two years after I finished my tertiary education and was driven largely by a desire to improve my skills and give me the ability to set myself apart from the crowd in the career market.
On a side note, the latter objective has (over time) become less important than the former. Nonetheless, the fact that I had achieved the Oracle 9i Database Certified Professional certification definitely played a role in me landing my dream job at the largest (and best) telecommunications company in South Africa.
As I went on upgrading my certification to 10g and then 11g, it became clear that the true value of certification was in expanding our horizons by showing just how little one really knows! Technology changes. It’s a fact of life and if we keep on doing things the way they’ve always been done, we stagnate and stop growing. Several features which were exposed during the preparation of the exams have subsequently been implemented in the workplace.
Finally I was left with the ultimate test, the Oracle Database Certified Master exam...a combination of skill, preparation and how well one copes under the pressured gaze of Father Time. There were all sorts of the horror stories lying in wait, from those who have long since disappeared because of NDA violations, but they just fuelled the fire. After two gruelling days, I awaited the final result for three weeks...nervous because I thought I had tried to be too smart for my own doing. My results were positive, much to my relief. It truly is the pinnacle certification for any Oracle Database professional and I cannot recommend it highly enough as a test of yourself and your abilities.
Over the next 18 months I continued the path to learn more and more about the various new features in Oracle Database 12c, focusing on RAC, Oracle GoldenGate and Dataguard. I will also say that I failed the latter examination on first attempt. I did not have the training material and built my own course from the online documentation as represented by the exam objectives. This was no excuse, as the current structure of examinations provide an excellent balance of what the documentation says and putting you in real-world scenarios where you have to apply yourself to the situation presented. And ultimately it presented me with another learning opportunity, which I dutifully grabbed and passed on the second attempt. And it doesn't stop there. The drive into the cloud is gaining momentum and along with Oracle Database 18c, there are many more unknown paths to venture down and learn from!
So in closing, certification most definitely has value. It’s so much more than the PDF produced upon completion. It’s an opportunity to learn and improve oneself and that is a journey we should all constantly be on. I'll end off with a quote from our former president Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Let's all change the world in our own small way...