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from the Oracle Certification Program.

  • August 28, 2018

The Secret to Choosing the Best Oracle DBA Certification for You

Brandye Barrington
Sr. Program Manager

Have you tried navigating the Oracle Certification labyrinth lately? If so, you may have come away with your head spinning! While there are many offerings in many layers of technology for a wide and diverse audience, it may be difficult knowing where to start. 

The Oracle Certification program began with Oracle Database 7.3. Candidates chose either the Database Administrator or the Developer track. Much has changed in a couple of decades! The program is now anchored by both our core Oracle Database and our Java certifications, but hundreds of implementation certifications have also been added.

This is good news for non-database professionals who wish to certify on one of the numerous Oracle technologies outside of Database, but this makes it more difficult for some to choose the correct certification track. 

Matthew Morris, experienced DBA and developer, multiple Oracle certification holder, and respected author and blogger published an article on GoCertify.com in 2015 that stands the test of time by helping candidates navigate this winding river of Oracle Certification options - More than Just Database: A Beginner's Guide to Oracle Certification. While some of the credentials and exams referenced by the article may be outdated, the content stands the test of time.

If your certification interest is laser focused on Oracle Database, we can help. Check the decision-making diagram above.

Scroll further down for more in depth information on each step in the decision making process, and to see where you can go after you've earned the OCA and OCP levels of certification.

I. First, start with your job role - Database Administrator, Developer or Implementer.

Database Administrators: Skill set and job role may vary depending on whether you are a "development" or "architect" DBA or more of a "production" DBA. Skill set may include installation, patching, configuration, security, backup and recovery, migration, capacity planning, logical and physical data modeling, database design, performance management, SQL Tuning and troubleshooting in the Oracle Cloud, on premises or both.  Including High Availably, Disaster Recovery and aspects of OS administration.

Database Developers: Skill set may include SQL, SQL*PLUS, SQLCL, PL/SQ, Java, Application Express, database design, logical and physical modeling, and SQL tuning.

Implementers: Typically have a strong technical background in the product area on which they are certified and are responsible for implementing or installing this software or certain aspects of the software.

Related: Build a DBA Career to Last

II. Next, determine which certification path to start.

Database Administrators, your next step is to determine which version of certification you wish to pursue. Some considerations are:

  • The version or versions of Oracle Database that your company uses if you are employed.
  • The version or versions of Oracle Database most often specified in job descriptions if you are job hunting.
  • Have you already completed an Oracle Database training course  for a specific version? This is very important. Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) certification requires training on the version that matches your certification or a on later version. e.g. If you have had Oracle training for Oracle Database 11g, you should pursue 11g certification and then upgrade to 12c when appropriate.
  • Training is not required to upgrade to a later version of Oracle Database Administrator Certified Professional once you already hold a DBA OCP certification.
  • If you are certified on an Oracle Database release that is newer than that which is used by your company,  you can help define the strategy for the adoption of new features and functions
  • When an older version of Oracle Database is de-supported,  you will be required to upgrade your certification to match a supported version of Oracle Database to keep your certification active. Read the Recertification Policy.
  • Oracle recommends keeping your skills current by attending the latest training courses and maintaining your certification.

If you choose Oracle Database 12c R2 (recommended), start here:

If you choose Oracle Database 12c, start here:

If you choose Oracle Database 11g, start here:

Database Developers will all start in the same place for certification - Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate. From there, you can decide whether to move to the advanced certification. When you get to this point, the same considerations listed above apply.

Database Developers start here:

Implementers: Candidates pursuing an Implementation role have options under the Oracle Database 12c product. An Implementer's product focus area might vary somewhat compared to a Database Administrator or Developer. Implementation Specialist certifications are available to all candidates but are geared toward Oracle's partner employees.

Some considerations:

  • If you work for or wish to work for an Oracle partner, the partner may have product area requirements.

  • If you are seeking this certification on your own, use some of the same considerations listed above to decide in which direction to go.

  • You can also review exam topics to discover the skills required of someone who holds a particular certification.

Start here:

III. Further considerations for Database Administrators and Developers

*An important consideration for both the DBA and Developer paths is that both a SQL exam and an Associate-level exam must be passed to earn the Associate-level certification.

Here are the options for the SQL exam:

  • Oracle Database 12c SQL | 1Z0-071: This is a proctored exam that must be taken in a test center. Passing this exam earns you the Oracle Database SQL Certified Associate credential. This exam better fits the defined job role.
  • Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals | 1Z0-061: This is a non-proctored exam that can be taken online at your own location. Passing this exam fulfills the SQL requirement, but does not result in a certification on its own. It must be paired with the next exam in your path in order to earn a certification. Vouchers for this exam will no longer be sold after May 31,2019. Candidates will have 6 months to use those vouchers to register for an exam at Pearson VUE. This exam will no longer be offered at Pearson VUE or an Oracle Testing Center after November 30, 2019.

Related:  Navigate Oracle SQL Certification: Quickly and Easily

IV. Now that you've earned your Database Administrator or Developer credential, where can you go from here?

Database Administrators can pursue the Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) level of certification by completing a relevant training course and passing the appropriate OCP exam. 

After earning an OCP certification, DBAs can dive a little deeper into a more specific technology by earning an Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) certification or joining the elite ranks of Oracle Certified Masters. The diagram below shows these options.

Related: 7 Reasons OCM Deiby Gomez Thinks Oracle Certifications Are Worth The Effort

Some OCE certifications can be earned by completing training as an alternative to a prerequisite OCP certification.  

Oracle Certified Expert Certification Paths:

Oracle Certified Master Certification Paths:

Armed with a better understanding of Oracle Database Certification offerings, you should now have what you need to start building a sustainable career path. Get started today!

Join the discussion

Comments ( 24 )
  • shirley Wednesday, August 29, 2018
    what is the certification path for an oracle developer to attain oca
  • Claude Schlesser Thursday, August 30, 2018
    Nice, but you forgot to mention the new Oracle cloud Platform Data Management Associate certification 1Z0-950
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, August 30, 2018
    Shirley, go back to the diagram at the top of the page and look under Database Developer. You'll need to start by passing a SQL exam. We recommend exam 071, then you will take exam 144.
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, August 30, 2018
    I'm not sure that really fits here, but thanks for pointing it out. I'll check on it!

    Brandye Barrington
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, September 6, 2018
    Take a look in the graph at the top of the post, under Database Developer. You'll see that to earn PL/SQL Developer OCA, you'll need to pass exams 1Z0-071 (or 1Z0-061) and 1Z0-144.

    Brandye Barrington
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, September 6, 2018
    Hi Claude,
    Thanks for the feedback. However, the cloud exam that you mention is a little off topic for this post. Good luck with your certification, if you're pursuing this credential!

    Brandye Barrington
  • Robert A Friday, September 7, 2018
    I work on the business side of software/web development dept. I need to learn SQL primarily for queries, scripts and data modeling. What's my best training track I should take?
  • Monowar Mukul Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    If you are in Australia, then no point to go for all these certifications for a job as recruitment agent will say there are so many OCM - where is only (>5) OCM on 12c and (>15) OCM 11g. So no point to spend money on Oracle certifications. You can do your own interest. But definitely there is value for work experience.

    Enjoy your certifications.

    Monowar Mukul
    OCM (11g) | OCM 12c DBA | OCM 12c HA
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, September 27, 2018
    This is an interesting perspective. I think that this may be a fairly unique experience. I encourage you to network with other OCMs and see if they've had the same experience.

    Brandye Barrington
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, September 27, 2018
    Please contact our Oracle University reps for assistance with this question. They are best qualified to assist.


    Brandye Barrington
  • Chris Wednesday, October 3, 2018
    Hi Brandye,

    Can I take the course first then the OCA exams later?

    for example : I take Oracle Database 12c R2 : Administration Workshop first then after the course, I take exams to become Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate (Oracle Database 12c SQL 1Z0-071 and Oracle Database 12c Administration 1Z0-062)
    then to pursue OCP, I just need to pass Oracle Database 12c: Advanced Administration 1Z0-063 right?

  • Brandye Barrington Tuesday, October 9, 2018
    Hi Chris,
    Yes, you can do this!

    Brandye Barrington
  • Sasa Thursday, October 11, 2018
    I already have OCA DBA as I passed 1Z0-062. Can I now, with 1 required course, pass 1Z0-073 and get OCP DBA 12c R2 certificate or I can only get OCP DBA 12c by passing 1Z0-063? And if I can go with latter how can I get OCP DBA 12c R2?

    Thanks in advance,
  • Brandye Barrington Monday, October 15, 2018
    Hi Sasa,
    You can either:
    1) pass exam 063, submit your required course, earn 12c DBA OPC, and then upgrade to 12c R2 with exam 074, or

    2) pass exam 072, and pass exam 073, submit your required course.

    The path you choose may be determined by any training you've already completed. If you've already completed 12c training, I recommend that you follow the path to earn 12c DBA OCP and then upgrade to 12c R2. This will save you on training. If you've not completed any training, or your training is on 12c R2, you can choose either path.

    Brandye Barrington
  • Mokgedi Morati Mokgedi Tuesday, October 16, 2018

    I want to certify OCA which exams to i have to take.


  • Eddie Durks Tuesday, October 16, 2018
    Are there any certifications for Developers working with WebLogic/Forms/Reports that would fit nicely into this existing database certification?
  • Brandye Barrington Tuesday, October 30, 2018
  • Brandye Barrington Tuesday, October 30, 2018
    This depends on if you want to go for DBA OCA or Developer OCA. Look at the section entitled "II. Next, determine which certification path to start."

    This will help you determine what the requirements are for your chosen path. For either path, you'll need to start with a SQL exam. You can take either 1Z0-061 or 1Z0-071. The post above will help you determine which exam is best for you.

    Brandye Barrington
  • Sam Wednesday, November 14, 2018
    Can you please tell me if there are any pre-requisites for taking Oracle Cloud certification 1Z0-160? I currently do not hold any Oracle certification. So, Can I still give certification exam for 1Z0-160?


  • Brandye Barrington Tuesday, November 20, 2018
    Hi Sam,
    If you take exam 160 with no other pre-requisites, you will earn Oracle Database Cloud Service Operations Certified Associate (https://education.oracle.com/products/trackp_463)

    Brandye Barrington
  • Ashita Wednesday, September 25, 2019
    I have an interest in learning about databases and wish to pursue a career to become a DBA. I have coding knowledge but not in SQL.

    I just finished college, and am from a physics background. I like coding and developed an interest in data analysis and database management and building.

    Is Oracle Database Certified Junior Associate a must for me?
    Will it be enough to pursue the Oracle Database 11g path mentioned in the first map?

    I decided to do the Junior Certification first (IZ0-006) and then go for the 11g exams (IZ0-071 AND IZ0-052).

    Please help me understand if this is the right path for me. Primarily I want to know if the junior certification is necessary for me.
  • Brandye Barrington Friday, November 1, 2019
    Hi Ashita,
    The Jr. Associate certification is a good starting point to get your feet wet. However, I very strongly recommend that you go for the 12c or 2019 version of certification after Jr. Associate. The 11g Exams retire the end of this year. It is a very old certification. We recommend that you follow a more current certification path.

    Brandye Barrington
  • Prasad Awate Thursday, March 12, 2020
    After getting certified ,in how many days DATABASE OCA certification need to do recertification???
  • Brandye Barrington Thursday, March 26, 2020
    Hi Prasad,
    Individuals who are certified in areas of Database Admin need to get recertified only once their version of certification has retired. I'm not entirely sure what your question is, but if you can provide more specifics, I can help with a better answer.

    Brandye Barrington
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