By Blair Campbell
Glen Burnie, Maryland
Oracle ACE Director
Job title: President
Length of time using Oracle products: 29 years
How did you get started in IT? After high school, I joined the US Navy and served as an aviation antisubmarine warfare technician. The Navy provided me with skills that I still use today to troubleshoot complex problems. When I left the military in 1982, I had quite a bit of difficulty, eventually becoming severely depressed. Because of my fascination with computers, my counselor and parents recommended that I start taking programming and computer science classes. So I went back to school and wound up working for Canon USA in PC support, and then as an IDMS programmer. One day my boss announced that my new career path would be with Oracle technology. He declared me the company’s new Oracle wizard and handed me a stack of Oracle tapes.
What is your go-to Oracle reference book? That’s easy: Oracle PL/SQL Programming by Steven Feuerstein [O’Reilly Media, sixth edition, 2014], which is sitting on my desk right now, dog-eared and marked up.
What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? Blaming the messenger. When things go wrong—and they will go wrong—some people blame others as opposed to focusing on the issue and correcting it. Large IT projects require communication, coordination, and respect across a team.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Company: Dell Inc.
Job title: Principal software engineer
Oracle credentials: Oracle Data Integrator 11g Certified Implementation Specialist
Length of time using Oracle products: More than 10 years
What’s your favorite tool on the job? I work heavily on data integration processes for EPM [enterprise performance management] tools, and there’s no better tool for my job than Oracle Data Integrator. It’s really a complete development suite where you can create your own code for very specific situations. It’s also a complete execution platform where you can manage and orchestrate any kind of complex execution logic, and it fits well with any kind of project out there—from data warehousing and real-time data replication to data migration.
What advice do you have about how to get into database development and software architecture? If you want to find success as an ETL [extract, transform, and load] developer and architect specifically, I advise four steps. Pick an ETL tool and study it deeply; learn and master SQL, since it’s the key to achieving performance in 99.99 percent of ETL projects; learn to code in a computer language, such as Java, which will allow you to extend your ETL tool’s capability; and gain a clear understanding of how business data processes work.
How are you using social media in your work these days? Social media was a game-changer for me when I started to use it for work purposes. I’m pretty active on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on my blog. The amount of knowledge out there is just amazing. I’ve made some great “virtual” friends over the years, and it was through social media that I also found out about ODTUG, got involved presenting technical sessions at ODTUG’s Kscope conference, and learned about the Oracle ACE program.
Fargo, North Dakota
Company: NAU Country
Job title: Principal database engineer
Oracle credentials: Oracle Application Express Developer Certified Expert
Length of time using Oracle products: 20 years
Which new capabilities in Oracle Database are you currently finding most valuable? One of my favorites is Oracle Database 12c Release 2’s real-time materialized views. Since we started implementing real-time materialized views, we’ve gone from a small handful of materialized views—6 of them in production—to more than 30, and we’re only just beginning.
What technology has most changed your life? Most recently, Oracle Exadata Multitenant is changing the way we do business to rapidly deploy clones of our production database. Prior to Oracle Exadata Multitenant, we ran 30 clones of our production database in virtual machines for our DevTest efforts. We always had to battle for more resources to host more clones. With Oracle Exadata Multitenant, we were able to stop duplicating the overhead of the OS and the database instance. We’re now on track to host up to 100 clones of our production database without increasing the physical resources for our Oracle infrastructure.
How are you using mobile computing in your work these days? My company is a federal crop insurance provider, so our customers are farmers in the field. Our claims adjusters are with our customers in the field. Our agents are selling policies in the field. So clearly it’s imperative that we have mobile applications for end users who are literally out in the field.
Illustration by iStock.com/Giii