Learn As You Go

How testing, writing, reading, and connecting can be tools for self-instruction

By Blair Campbell

November/December 2011

Ricardo Portilho Proni Headshot
Ricardo Portilho Proni

What advice do you have for those just getting into database development? After you discover how to do something new, post about it on your blog—even if it happens in the middle of the night. This doesn’t just help others; when you blog about something you’ve learned, you have to test it intensely, and in the process you discover new aspects of the technology.

Peer Specs

Company: Nerv Informática, a consulting company focused mainly on Oracle solutions for database tuning, recovery, and high availability

Job title/description: Consultant and instructor, providing support and helping customers define new projects

Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Associate (Oracle Database 10g), Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle Database 10g, MySQL 5), Oracle Certified Expert (Oracle Real Application Clusters 10g, Managing Oracle on Linux)

Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? Oracle Wait Interface: A Practical Guide to Performance Diagnostics and Tuning [Oracle Press, 2004]. If you read only one book on Oracle tuning, read this one.

What green practices do you use in your DBA work? Our clients are always concerned about needing more storage and energy. With the new Advanced Compression feature in Oracle Database 11g Release 2, we are helping them save energy, because SQL commands actually take less time to complete—thereby consuming much less CPU and causing fewer wait events.

Lisa Dobson Headshot
Lisa Dobson

How did you get started in IT? Quite by accident! I was working in a finance department as an accounts clerk. The company was upgrading Oracle Financials, and the IT department needed an end user from the business side to join the project team. At the end of the project, I moved to the second-line support team for financial applications and then went on to become a UNIX sys admin and Oracle DBA.

Peer Specs

Company: Durham University, an educational institution serving undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers

Job title/description: Oracle DBA, responsible for the creation, management, and maintenance of Oracle databases

Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Length of time using Oracle products: 14 years

Oracle ACE Oracle ACE

If you were going to the International Space Station for six months and could only take one Oracle reference book, what would it be? Oracle RMAN 11g Backup and Recovery, by Robert Freeman [Oracle Press, 2010]. I used to think Oracle RMAN [Oracle Recovery Manager] was too complex, but this book changed all that. It’s so clearly written, with do-it-yourself exercises that really drive the concepts home.

What’s your favorite thing to do that doesn’t involve work? Being vice president of the U.K. Oracle User Group [UKOUG]. I’ve been volunteering with UKOUG since 2005, and it’s not something I consider work. I relied on the user group so much when I was a beginner and feel strongly about giving back.

Zhang Leyi (Kamus) Headshot
Zhang Leyi (Kamus)

What’s your favorite tool on the job? I’m an avid fan of Oracle SQL Developer, and I think it has a lot of potential for growth in China. What makes it tick is its powerful reporting features, plus performance monitoring graphics—it’s just as good as commercial software in terms of functionality.

Peer Specs

Company: Enmo Tech, a technology solution, remote database management, and outsourcing company

Job title/description: Technical director, handling all database tasks for Enmo customers as well as new software product design

Location: Beijing, China

Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified Professional (Oracle8i Database, Oracle9i Database), with 10 years of experience using Oracle products

Oracle ACE Director Oracle ACE Director

Which new features in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? The SecureFiles LOB [large object] in Oracle Database 11g Release 2 performs very well. No longer do we need to store unstructured data such as graphics on file systems—we can now store them in the database.

What technology has most changed your life? Computer science and database technology. My major was Japanese, and after graduation I went to work for an offshore IT company with most of its contracts from Japan, translating the specs from Japanese to Chinese. I was put on the testing team, and purely out of interest, I started to teach myself the programming language—back then it was Microsoft Visual Basic. Soon enough I formally entered into IT as a professional.