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Making the transition from Progress developer to Oracle DBA

I have been a PROGRESS database developer with an IT company for about three years. During the employment period, I had to be involved in some of the basic responsibilities of the ORACLE DBA, for instance: Starting up and shutting down instances, quering tables, exporting/importing tables, and upgrading tables structures. I consider myself as new to the Oracle world. but I have always found that learning ORACLE is quite fascinating.

Due to some changes in the company's internal structure, it has been so unfortunate that I had to leave the job as my position was no longer available. I have been trying to find a suitable PROGRESS position for several months with no success.

I have now decided that I would like to take the ORACLE9i certifications, OCA and hopefully OCP, as I have found that the future of ORACLE seems more promising than PROGRESS.

I have been thinking of getting a set of ORACLE9i certification books (probably OCP Oracle9i DBA Certification Boxed Set by by Jason S.) I have read a couple of ORACLE books, such as ORACLE8i DBA Handbook and ORACLE SQL. I have also been practising ORACLE8 on NT4 server outside work. The server will be installed with the ORACLE9i soon.

My objective is now to get the ORACLE9i certifications (hopefully both OCA and OCP), then find a suitable job in ORACLE. I might start from the scratch again in terms of the salary, which is acceptable to me.

My questions are:
- Am I on the right track?
- Given a limited budget, would these method be adequate for me, to be able to perform well in the exams?

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Oracle related positions do seem to be in good demand and since the product holds such a large share of the market, it's likely to continue as one of the more "healthy" fields as far as jobs go. So, I'd say you are certainly on the right track.

The OCA/OCP certification should be a help as you transition from Progress. You can certainly leverage your experience with Progress as you learn Oracle and many employers can determine your probable success based on previous similar positions held.

If you want to get certified go for it all the way (i.e. OCP). The experience of studying and testing will give you a broad foundation of knowledge. But, in the end, experience is the best teacher. Continue to practice as much as you can as you mentioned. It seems that you are willing to "start over" with Oracle in that you realize you'll probably be starting at a junior level position until you get more experience and the certification will likely give you a leg up on other people looking for similar positions that are not certified.

Both Oracle Press and Sybex have good OCP study materials. Also, SelfTestSoftware has good sample tests for you to use as practice which run around $100 or so. A little pricey but very helpful.

Read as much as you can, practice as much as you can...then you should be prepared to make the career shift that should warrant your efforts and reward you with more opportunity and better pay as your knowledge expands. Good luck!

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I do have a role in Progress Developer if you are interested in discussing. It is a one year contract role for Texas.
My contact details is sonali.saksena@modis .com