If you're an Oracle DBA, maybe you should consider going back in school. Oracle is in the process of releasing a new certification track for database administrators for its new Oracle 9i database.
The track will include four exams covering a variety of skills required for implementing, supporting and customizing the Oracle 9i database, according to the software maker. Oracle said the first exam will be offered online to give greater access to candidates to earn a qualification for the Oracle Certification Program (OCP).
Certification in IT career fields is an important way for professionals to win a leg up on their competition, particularly for those new to the business, according to experts.
"If the DBA is just starting in the field, this can be quite helpful," said Peter Koletzke, executive vice president of the International Oracle Users Group - Americas (IOUG-A). "It gives the job applicant a competitive edge. When faced with candidates of equal qualifications and personalities, if one had the certification, I would select that one."
However, certification doesn't give a DBA a lock on a job, said Koletzke.
"If one of the candidates could demonstrate that they had real experience in the particular style of administration that I was looking for, I would hire that person regardless of certification," he said.
Bridging the gap
Ed Tittel, a principal author at the IT training and consulting company LANWrights Inc., said Oracle has a history of offering a "bridge certification" so people already certified on earlier versions can upgrade to the latest version.
In fact, that's exactly what Oracle has in mind. The company said it will offer upgrade training through its Oracle Learning Network (OLN). It also plans to globally offer a "new features" instructor-led course. Both are a way for Oracle DBAs to migrate from 8i to 9i skills. When they acquire those new skills, DBAs can then take a migration OCP exam, which Oracle said is in the process of being created. It expects to have that exam ready sometime around September.
Oracle said certification on 9i is not mandatory for those who hold certifications for earlier releases of the database, so who should get certified on Oracle 9i will largely depend on a person's interest or their employer's requirements.
For those who are keen on attaining 9i certification, IOUG-A's Koletzke recommends learning all they can about the technology from as many sources as possible. He cited Web sites with practice exams and discussion forums, as well as documentation and third-party books.
"Plan on devoting a day a week for six weeks to this study," said Koletzke. "Ask questions of the IOUG-A forum participants. There are many people who visit the forums that have gone through the certification process and are happy to relate their advice."
Assistant News Editor Christine Campbell contributed to this report.
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