Oracle Database is one of the oldest and most popular database management systems in the industry. The first version of Oracle Database was released in 1979, and has been through several iterations over the last thirty-five years.
The most recent version of the product is Oracle Database 12c, but several older versions are still in use in the business world. Oracle Database serves as the foundation for all of the company's other business solutions, which has also contributed to its large presence in the enterprise.
Oracle DBA training
While potential database admins will likely encounter older versions of Oracle out in the wild, candidates should focus their training on one or both of the two most recent versions:
- Oracle Database 11g
- Oracle Database 12c
These two versions also match up with the current certification program for Oracle Database.
Before making a decision on training options, candidates should consider if they're also going to pursue an official certification in Oracle Database. A number of Oracle certifications come with mandatory training courses, which must be taken through Oracle University, the company's official training body. Students cannot substitute training taken elsewhere for any of the mandatory Oracle courses.
If you're planning on getting certified on Oracle Database, take a look at the requirements for the credential you want to take before choosing a training course. You can find certification requirements on the Oracle University website, or you can contact an Oracle University representative. This can help you to avoid having to take (and pay for) repeat training.
Oracle University offers courses in the following formats:
- Instructor-led classroom training
- Training on demand (streaming content viewed online)
- Live virtual classes (real-time instruction delivered online)
- Self-study courses (downloaded self-paced content or training books)
If a candidate doesn't have to take mandatory training through Oracle University, training for Oracle Database can be found at many technology schools and through college extension programs. If you're the type of student who is more comfortable learning on your own, you will likely be better off choosing a self-study or training-on-demand program. These two methods have the additional advantage of being the most affordable, by and large.
Alternatively, if you find you'd prefer the presence of a live instructor in order to learn most effectively, you should look at taking virtual live courses, or consider taking instructor-led training at a technical school or college.
About the exam
Oracle certification exams are booked through the Oracle University website, and exams are taken at a Pearson VUE test center, which are located in several countries around the world. If a candidate doesn't pass an Oracle Database exam on their first attempt, there's no waiting period to retake the exam unless the exam is a Master level, live-proctored exam. These exams come with a 14-day waiting period between attempts.
Here are the current cert tracks available for Oracle Database:
- Oracle Database 11g
- Oracle Spatial 11g
- Oracle Database 12c
- Database Cloud
There are multiple certs available in each track. Oracle classifies these certifications as follows:
- Oracle Certified Associate
- Oracle Certified Professional
- Oracle Certified Master
In many cases, Associate-level credentials are the prerequisite for Professional levels, and the Professional level is the prerequisite for the Master level. As mentioned earlier, Master and Professional-level certifications often have a mandatory course component which must be completed through Oracle University.
Associate and Professional-level certification exams all come in a fairly standard format. These exams consist of anywhere between 60-100 multiple-choice questions, which candidates are given two to three hours to complete.
Master level exams are conducted in front of a live exam proctor and are strictly performance based, meaning candidates must perform a series of tasks using a lab exam setup.
As an example of the requirements for an Oracle Certified Associate credential, here's the listing for the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate certification:
- Pass one SQL exam:
- Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals or
- Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals or
- Oracle Database SQL Expert
- Pass the Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration exam
Detailed topic descriptions for every Oracle Database certification exam can be found on the Oracle University website.
Oracle DBA in the workplace
Oracle Database certifications do not have an explicit expiry date associated with them. Oracle can require certified professionals to re-certify on newer versions of its products after older exams are retired. In this event, Oracle will notify the impacted individuals, after which they have twelve months in which to upgrade their credential to a newer version.
Some of the job roles associated with Oracle Database certification include the following:
- Oracle Database Administrator
- Oracle Database Programmer
- Oracle Database Support Specialist
"IT Training and Certification for Oracle Technology," Oracle University, March 26, 2015, http://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/db_pages.getpage?page_id=3
"Oracle Database Certifications," Oracle University, March 26, 2015, https://education.oracle.com/pls/web_prod-plq-dad/ou_product_category.getFamilyPage?p_family_id=32&p_mode=Certification