Non-Technical Art of Being a Successful DBA – Obtaining the Most
Benefit From Oracle Training
Article by Rampant author Chris Foot
been involved in some form of Oracle Education for close to
twenty years now. I started my career in Oracle Education
working as a courseware creator and "instructor to the
instructors" for Platinum Technologies. At Platinum, I was
responsible for creating their entire Oracle curriculum
including classes on general administration, backup/recovery,
database tuning and several SQL and PL/SQL courses.
I was also employed as an Oracle Certified
Instructor for a number of years. The greatest accomplishment in
my career came was when I was awarded the OAEC Quality
Achievement Award. These awards are given to the top instructors
in the OAEC (Oracle Authorized Education Center) program. That
recognition was quickly followed by Oracle allowing me to
certify a few of my fellow instructors. Certifying my fellow
instructors was a responsibility I took very seriously.
When is the
best time to take the classes?
This may sound
trite, but it is best to follow Oracle's recommendations on the
sequence of classes. Take the intro classes before taking the
more advanced classes. If you have the luxury (meaning you
aren't the only DBA in your shop), gain some day-to-day
experience before taking the more advanced classes (SQL or
database tuning, backup and recovery, etc.). You shouldn't be
asking questions like "What is an init.ora parameter file,
anyway?" in a tuning or backup and recovery class. Instructors
don't have the time and your fellow students won't have the
patience to bring you up to speed before continuing on to more
prepared is the single most important factor to obtain the most
benefit from any formal training class. I can't stress this
highly enough - PREPARATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS.
It's a pretty
simple process to prepare for class.
Oracle Education's Website
will provide you with all of the information you need to prepare
for your upcoming class.
Step one is to read
the information provided by the Oracle Corporation that pertains
to the class you are attending. Oracle Education's website
provides a detailed description of each class it offers. It will
tell you EXACTLY what to prepare for. Go to the Course
Curriculum page on Oracle Education's website, find the course
you are attending, navigate to the course description page and
then click on "Course Objectives" and "Course Topics". You will
find a detailed listing of all of the topics the course will
If you are a new
Oracle DBA and will be attending your first database
administration class, read the Oracle Concepts Manual,
Administrator's Guide and review the Reference and SQL Reference
books. Follow this same advice for whatever class you are
taking. If it's a new features class, read the new features
guide for that release. Tuning and performance - read the
Performance Tuning Guide. Same thing for backup and recovery,
standby, RAC, etc.. Do yourself a favor and perform some
self-education first. You may not know the mechanics, but you'll
be ahead of the game if you know the lingo and the concepts
Showing Enthusiasm and
Willingness to Learn
instructor sees that you are making an extra effort to overcome
your lack of day-to-day experience by coming in early, staying
late and being prepared, they will be more prone to help you.
weird; we like to see people excited about what we are teaching.
Seeing someone enthused about learning makes us want to make
sure they get the most out of class.
participation means more than just answering questions that are
asked. You also need to ask questions. If you still don't
understand, ask again. If you are having a hard time
understanding a particular concept, ask the instructor during a
break to explain the information to you again.
If you are
experienced in Oracle and you have a lab partner that isn't as
well versed in Oracle as you are, take the time and help them.
Don't take control of the keyboard and blast through the labs.
Be patient with them, show them the little tricks of the trade
you picked up and help them along. You'll probably have their
undying gratitude and you'll be contributing to the health and
welfare of our profession.
If you are an
Oracle expert taking one of the more advanced classes, don't let
your ego get in the way of you obtaining the utmost benefit from
the class you are taking - ask questions and get involved!
with the Next Day's Material
I know this
can be hard to do. Especially if you are attending class in a
place you've never been to before. It's a tough decision between
sightseeing in San Francisco or planting your nose in an Oracle
Admin I class guide. You'll need to make some compromises here.
Go out for a few hours, come in early and prepare for the next
The Importance of
certified is an essential ingredient for all Oracle technicians
who want to prosper in their chosen profession. Certifications
are especially important to those seeking employment in a field
that often has many candidates competing for a single position.
An Oracle certification shows the potential employer that the
candidate has made the commitment to "learn their trade" and has
the background and education to quickly become a productive
member of their staff.
The Oracle Certification also
gives a distinct advantage to DBAs looking to advance in their
careers. Being an Oracle Certified Professional raises their
visibility in the organization, which is a requirement for
career advancement in most shops.
Preparing for the Oracle
Certified Professional Exams
The best time to take the exam is a week or two after taking
the Oracle class that the exam pertains to. Passing the OCP test
is much easier when the information is fresh. The class workbook
should be used as the primary study guide. I have passed every
exam I have taken by studying only the information contained in
the class workbooks.
Education website allows students to purchase practice exam
tests. Free sample questions are also available. Practice tests
will provide you with a firm understanding of the areas you are
strong in as well as the areas where you need to shore up your
knowledge. Oracle University has chosen two partners (Self Test
Software and Transcender) to provide authorized Oracle Certified
I am fully aware
that there are many competing websites that offer Oracle
Certification practice tests. If you want to prepare for an
Oracle Exam by purchasing a practice test, why not purchase the
test from the vendors that Oracle has chosen to partner with?
Self Test Software
and Transcender practice tests provide a thorough coverage of
the Oracle certification requirements and use the same test
question technology as the real exams including simulations,
scenarios, hot spots and case studies. This makes the choice
clear - go with the Oracle partner practice exams.
The Day of Your
Oracle partners with
Prometric Testing Centers to provide testing centers throughout
the United States. The
Prometric Testing Center website
provides a test center locator to help you find testing centers
in your area.
The following hints
and tips will prepare you for the day you take your
You must have two
forms of identification, both containing your signature. One
must be a government issued photo identification.
Try to show up early
(at least 15 minutes) before your scheduled exam. If you show up
late, the testing center coordinator has the option of canceling
your exam and asking you to reschedule your test.
You cannot bring any
notes or scratch paper to the testing center. Paper will be
provided by the testing center and will be destroyed when you
personnel will provide you with a brief overview of the testing
process. The computer will have a demo that will show you how to
answer and review test questions.
Don't leave any
questions unanswered. All test questions left unanswered will be
marked as incorrect.
Your exam score is
provided to you immediately and the exam results are forwarded
to Oracle Certification Program management. Make sure you keep a
copy of your test results for your records.
If you fail a test,
you must wait at least 14 days before retaking it (except for
exam #1Z0-007 Introduction to Oracle9i: SQL).
Don't let your ego
prevent you from studying. I have seen numerous experienced DBAs
receive "less than stellar" test scores because they thought
they knew the material they were being tested on.