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Get current or lose your Oracle DBA certification, Oracle says

Oracle has changed its policy on DBA certifications, retiring older ones and requiring database administrators to get current on Oracle Database versions or lose their active status.

Oracle has announced a new policy on technical certifications that requires database administrators to take tests on managing newer versions of Oracle Database in order to avoid having their Oracle DBA certification credentials become inactive. In addition, the company said it will begin retiring older certifications next month.

Starting on Nov. 1, database administrators holding various certifications for versions 7.3, 8, 8i and 9i of Oracle's flagship database will have one year to upgrade at least one of their certifications to Oracle Database 10g, 11g or 12c to maintain their active status in its CertView portal system. However, 10g certifications will also go into "retired" mode on March 1, 2015, requiring DBAs holding them to upgrade within 12 months after that date. As a result, Oracle recommended that DBAs not already certified on 10g skip it and go to either 11g or 12c.

In a notice posted on its Oracle University training and certification website, Oracle said the new requirements apply to anyone who holds a Certified Associate, Professional, Expert or Master credential in one or more of the categories due to be retired without also being certified on a more current database version. It added that DBAs with certifications on one of the newer releases will be able to keep their full active status, even on the credentials being retired.

The main problem Oracle cited for those who let their credentials become inactive is that they will no longer have access to their certificates or the associated logos on CertView for use in resumes and job applications.

Oracle certifications no longer forever

Until now, Oracle's DBA certifications have been permanent. But the company said it was changing that and retiring credentials as releases age out to help "maintain a program that is valuable to [job] candidates as well as hiring managers." Upgrading certifications "keeps your knowledge and skills up to date" and "validates your commitment and dedication" to working with Oracle Database, Oracle said. "It is also important to Oracle," the vendor added, "to have qualified people implementing, maintaining and troubleshooting our software."

Bobby Durrett, lead Oracle DBA at food distributor US Foods Inc. in Rosemont, Ill., recently upgraded his Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) certification to 12c, the most recent version of the database. But, he said, "I'm not sure how this change will impact anything. On my team, there is no requirement to be certified to be hired as a DBA, and I'm not sure that it really even gives people an advantage."

Durrett explained that he has interviewed job candidates for DBA positions at US Foods who had certifications, but weren't qualified. In contrast, he said, "I work with a team of competent DBAs, none of whom have certifications besides me."

Learning new Oracle DBA tricks

Instead of seeing the Oracle DBA certification process as a method of job qualification, Durrett thinks of it as a way to motivate himself to learn new features and functionality. "Unless there are jobs that require certification by Oracle," he said, "what does it matter if your certification is obsolete?"

If your skill set is obsolete, however, that becomes a problem, Durrett added. Newer versions of Oracle Database include various added features "that a competent DBA should know," he said. In that sense, he's "fine with Oracle requiring recertification for people with older certifications."

These are the certifications that are scheduled to be retired on Nov. 1 and become inactive 12 months later:

  • Oracle7.3 Database Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle8 Database Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle8 Database Operator Certified Professional
  • Oracle8i Database Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle8i Database Operator Certified Professional
  • Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Associate
  • Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professional
  • Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Professional -- Special Accreditation: Managing Oracle9i on Linux
  • Oracle9i Database Administrator Certified Master
  • Oracle E-Business Suite 11i Applications Database Administrator Certified Professional

Jessica Sirkin is associate site editor of SearchOracle. Email her at jsirkin@techtarget.com and follow us on Twitter: @SearchOracle.

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