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Oracle DBA certification, part II: FAQ

A list of frequently-asked questions about the Oracle 9i certification track.

Here are some questions about the Oracle certification program that Ed Haskins, CEO of OraKnowledge, Inc, sees on a regular basis (continued from part one):

Should I go for the Oracle8i or Oracle9i certification?

If you are new to Oracle, we recommend you begin your preparation with the Oracle9i DBA Track. You'll find that most of what you learn for 9i will be applicable to 8i as well. Another reason to begin with Oracle9i is that you will only need to pass 4 exams to become an OCP...plus you'll become an OCA after the first 2.

I have been working in the IT field for a couple years now, but I have no experience with Oracle and databases. Is the Oracle9i certification right for me?

Everyone needs to start somewhere...and this is the exact reason that Oracle has split the OCP into two...the OCA, and then the OCP. I recommend that someone without Oracle experience should begin by learning, studying, and preparing for the 2 exams required for OCA status. Once you've completed this, take at least another 6 months of hands-on learning and work experience before attempting the remaining 2 exams required for OCP status.

If I complete my Oracle Certification, will I get a job as a DBA and make big money?

It all depends...what is your current job role and salary level? If you are new to the technology field, and to Oracle, you are not going to get a job as a full-fledged DBA making $70,000 a year or more. You will likely need to get a couple years of real experience to obtain that level…but once you do, Oracle DBAs have the ability to make far more than $70,000. The one piece of advice I offer in this situation is that you need to understand that you may need to take a Junior-level DBA position for a little while. The experience you can gain while working side-by-side a Senior DBA will be invaluable to you as you move forward in your career as a DBA.

Once I've taken an exam and passed, how much time do I have to complete the certification before my passed exam becomes invalid?

Some other certification programs have put time limits on the completion of their exam tracks...Oracle is not one of them. You can take as long as you need to finish the certification...as long as Oracle doesn't retire the exams you need to complete first.

If I am an Oracle8i OCP, when will my certification expire and do I need to take all 4 Oracle9i exams to re-certify?

This is a common question, especially from folks who have gone through Microsoft's certification program. Oracle does not expire certifications, they only expire exams. So once you are certified, you are always certified. Also, in order to upgrade your certification to the next highest level (Oracle8i to Oracle9i), you simply need to pass one Upgrade exam (Oracle9i: New Features for Administrators).

What if I fail an exam, when can I retake it...and how many times can I fail a particular exam before I'm not allowed to re-take it again?

If you should fail an attempted exam, Oracle states that you must wait at least 30 days before re-taking the exam. The good thing is, there is no limit on the amount of times that you can re-take an exam.

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