Oracle DBA Certification – A Few Thoughts

Oracle DBA certification involves a lot of work  and a big time commitment, not to mention the cost. This raises the obvious question as to whether the certification is worth it.

If the company you work for is willing to foot the cost and will also allow you the study time in work hours, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer to go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.

If you’ve got to do it in your own time and at your own expense though, then it’s a different matter. So let’s take a look at the benefits of certification:

Benefits Of Oracle DBA Certification

  • It acts as a differentiator on your resume, improving your chances of landing an interview.
  • It forces you to gain in-depth knowledge about Oracle.
  • If you work for a company that doesn’t tend to keep up with the latest releases and trends, it’s a good way to keep your skills up to date.
  • It demonstrates commitment and dedication on your part.
  • It gives you additional bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a promotion or raise.
  • A better understanding of the Oracle technology stack lets you communicate with others more easily, for example developers or server administrators.

Of course, there are also benefits to be had for your employer too. If they give you access to training and certification, you’re more likely to stay with the company and perform your job to a higher standard.

This means you’ll be more productive, and the systems you look after should run better and more efficiently. You’ll have greater job satisfaction, and your company will have greater credibility with customers and potential customers.

Oracle DBA Certification Levels

There are a number of different certification levels, that require different levels of knowledge:

  • Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) – This is the entry-level certification and indicates a DBA who can work under supervision. It’s the first step towards becoming an Oracle Certified Professional.
  • Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) – This is the next level and indicates a DBA who can perform most tasks unaided.
  • Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) – This is an additional certification that indicates niche expertise, separate from areas covered by the OCA, OCP, OCM certification path, for example, RAC.
  • Oracle Certified Master (OCM) – This is the highest level of certification and indicates an experienced DBA with expert knowledge.

A Few Words Of Caution

I do have a few words of caution about Oracle DBA certification.

Firstly, if you’re currently unemployed don’t think it will definitely improve your chances of landing a job. It will definitely improve your chances of getting an interview. But you’ll still have to demonstrate your knowledge and experience during that interview.

Secondly, if you’re an employer you have to be aware that much of the certification exams can be passed with rote learning and memorization. So someone who shows you a certification certificate may not have the depth of knowledge and experience you might think.

I’ve interviewed plenty of certified DBAs where it’s quickly become apparent they have no real on-the-job experience. Contrastingly, I’ve interviewed lots of uncertified DBAs who have obviously had a thorough understanding of Oracle technology.

When recruiting an Oracle DBA, it’s important that you still drill people’s knowledge through the use of technical interview questions. If you don’t have the in-house knowledge to do this, it’s well worth hiring someone to help you during the recruitment process.

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