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Need suggestion.. [message #550907] Fri, 13 April 2012 07:59 Go to next message
lg123
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Can a person who learns oracle at home be as proficient as someone who works in real time experience?
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #550908 is a reply to message #550907] Fri, 13 April 2012 08:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
joy_division
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Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the person. This answer would seem quite obvious.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555515 is a reply to message #550907] Thu, 24 May 2012 12:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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There is a great deal that you can learn about Oracle on your own at home:

- You can read every manual there is -- they're all freely downloadable.
- You can download all of the the software and configure it within the limits of your hardware at home. I doubt that you have a SAN or enough spare PCs to practice much with RAC.

However, there is a difference between reading the books and playing with the applications and actually maintaining a production Oracle server on a day-to-day basis. No matter what you do, your server isn't going to get real usage by individuals who will complain if something doesn't work. You won't be able to create real problems that need to be fixed, tuned, or diagnosed. You may set up a backup strategy for your home database, but you won't be put into a real situation of having to recover from a failure ASAP.

In short, what you can get from home is bare knowledge about Oracle without real world experience of using it.

That said, I've known a number of Oracle DBAs with real world experience that could use with a bit more knowledge.

Of the two, however, the person who will get hired for a position is the one with experience in the field. You can compare Person 'X' with three years acting as a DBA for Oracle vs. Person 'Y' with zero years. There is no way to measure the Oracle knowledge between the two (although certifications provide 'somewhat' of an indicator... assuming the certified individual didn't use braindumps).
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555519 is a reply to message #555515] Thu, 24 May 2012 12:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michel Cadot
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Quote:
You can compare Person 'X' with three years acting as a DBA for Oracle vs. Person 'Y' with zero years. There is no way to measure the Oracle knowledge between the two


Wrong! A couple of minutes of interview and you know.

Regards
Michel
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555523 is a reply to message #555519] Thu, 24 May 2012 12:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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I should have said 'reliably' measure.

I've conducted interviews. You always wonder if you asked the right questions. An Oracle DBA needs to know literally thousands of pieces of information in order to do their job well. In an interview you can ask a dozen or so. If someone answers wrong, is it because they truly don't know the information or are they just nervous and overthought the question? If someone answers it right, is it because they are knowledgeable or because they memorized a list of 'Oracle Interview Questions' they found on the web that morning.

You can get a feel for whether a candidate is comfortable being questioned, I sometimes give that more weight than the answers themselves. However, a really confident liar can fake that too.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555529 is a reply to message #555523] Thu, 24 May 2012 13:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michel Cadot
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My interviews have nothing with interview questions you can find.
I ask such question that the behaviour of the interviewee when he answers give me a reliable opinion.

And I was also the object of this kind of interview.
Once one came with a 50 page statspack report and ask me "what you can say about it?", 5-10 minutes later I was hired. You can hide nothing with such question.

Quote:
You can get a feel for whether a candidate is comfortable being questioned[...] However, a really confident liar can fake that too.


But only a real experimented one can be confident in front of case. Many that are shy in fromt of questions become confident when you put them in front of a real problem, and the ooposite is also true. You can't lie in front of a real case and you know the level from what the interviewee does. Give him a crashed database, SQL*Plus and full access to documentation and Internet and see what he will do. In the end, if the database is up and running, you have a reliable measure.

They are many things like thais that no interview questions you can find on Internet or book can address.

Regards
Michel

[Updated on: Thu, 24 May 2012 13:42]

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Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555531 is a reply to message #555529] Thu, 24 May 2012 13:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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>Give him a crashed database, SQL*Plus and full access to documentation and Internet and see what he will do.

This would be great. Except creating a test case like this which had some real-world failure condition would be a pain in the neck and very time-consuming. You're certainly not going to allow candidates DBA access to your production systems, which means a database being set up just for this purpose, presumably isolated from the rest of your network. Also your candidate would have to be available to come in and spend a few hours on the interview process -- unless you made the test case easy enough to resolve quickly, in which case what's the point?

I admit it'd be a great test. However, you have to admit that not many companies are going to go to the level of difficulty and expense to set something like this up unless they are hiring DBAs fairly often. I'm going to be interviewing for an assistant in the next few months. I guarantee I won't be taking the time to create something like this. The reason I'm hiring an assistant is because I don't have time to do the things I really need to now.

That said, we're well off the topic of this thread.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555534 is a reply to message #555531] Thu, 24 May 2012 14:30 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Littlefoot
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You may be off the topic, but heck - that's interesting! Please, go on - if possible, describe some real situations (questions you asked, the way people answered, acted, tried to fool you, ...).
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555540 is a reply to message #555534] Thu, 24 May 2012 16:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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Every interview is different -- or should be. It's cookie-cutter interviews that allow for the creation of 'Interview Q&A' lists. I've been in a solo-DBA spot for almost three years now and was a contractor for six months before that. I can't think of specific questions at the moment. I last dealt with multiple interviews two jobs back. At that time I was one of a team of four DBAs, and we'd tag-team candidates. With all of us in the room, we'd round-robin the person with questions. It worked well because the DBAs that weren't currently asking a question could spend more of their attention observing the candidate and making up their *next* question to ask.

We were hiring for senior positions, so few of the questions we asked were fact-based (which is what the Q&A lists provide) and more experience-based. You can't let the candidate take control of the interview as they can then steer the interview away from their weaknesses. However, based on what was in their resume, we'd ask leading questions about things they should know or experiences they should have had. We'd also discuss recent problems we'd had with our databases and ask the candidate how they would have gone about diagnosing and/or resolving them.

As far as candidates trying to fool interviewers, I already mentioned one. They'll take up time talking about something that makes them look good to use up interview time where they aren't having to field questions. Another common one is for the candidate to shift from answering the question we asked to answering an unrelated question just so that it seemed they were answering *something*. I also watch for candidates that are obviously stalling for time after a question is asked. I remember on incident just because it was funny. A guy was obviously stalling for about 45 seconds before he finally gave up and said something like 'Darn it -- I just read that this morning'. The thing is, the question was not something you'd be "reading" unless you were reading something like one of the interview Q&A lists. His non-answer told us much more than he wanted us to know.

Barring the kind of elaborate scenario like Michel mentioned, the best you can do in an interview is screen out the obviously unqualified. Hire someone on trial for 60 or 90 days. That's the only sure way to determine if they can really do the job.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555543 is a reply to message #555540] Fri, 25 May 2012 00:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
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A lot of people won't like this, but here we go:
When you receive many CVs that all look good, you can't interview them all. There isn't time. So throw away all the CVs that have not done their OCP exams.
Many people say "OCP is meaningless: a DBA is just as good with or without the exams". That may be true, but if they could pass the exams, why didn't they take them? The answer is usually "I don't have the time". Well, an exam takes 90 minutes. They do have the time. The reason they haven't taken them is because they think they might fail. Or they are lazy. Either reason is good enough to reject the candidate.

Incidentally, have any of you been through the process of interviewing remotely, offering a job, and then finding that the person who arrives is possibly not the person whom you interviewed?
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555544 is a reply to message #555543] Fri, 25 May 2012 00:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Littlefoot
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As of your last sentence: I've only heard of it (maybe even read here, on OraFAQ). Did you experience that? What did you do? How was such a situation handled?
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555546 is a reply to message #555543] Fri, 25 May 2012 00:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michel Cadot
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Quote:
if possible, describe some real situations (questions you asked, the way people answered, acted, tried to fool you, ...).


Yes, when you have no test db for this (or even if you have one), it is easy to simulate one scenario like this. Ask "My database crashed what do you do?" and see what the interviewee answers. If it is something like "What is the error message? What is the state of the database? open, mounted, not mounted, completely down?" You then know the person has some experience, give him some answers and see how he then proceeds and so on.

About OCP exams, I know some very skilled people that never passed them because they think (with some reasons) their CV shows their experiences and they can succeed to any interview.
The last one I passed was 9i, when I see that 10g upgrade exam was (almost) just about how to use EM (which I almost never use) and to know what are the (default) alarm thresholds I decided to no more pass them.

Quote:
Incidentally, have any of you been through the process of interviewing remotely, offering a job, and then finding that the person who arrives is possibly not the person whom you interviewed?


Never happened to me but I feel it would be somewhat annoying.

Regards
Michel
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555548 is a reply to message #555546] Fri, 25 May 2012 01:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michel Cadot
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Also the first thing Stephane Faroult made before interviewing was to search my name on Google.
So the advantages (or drawbacks) to post in forums or contribute to wikis.

Regards
Michel
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555550 is a reply to message #555546] Fri, 25 May 2012 01:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
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Quote:
they think (with some reasons) their CV shows their experiences and they can succeed to any interview.
That may be true - if they get to interview. When you receive 50 CVs, all good, you cannot interview everyone. So which do you throw out? The ones with no qualifications.
Also, if you are a consultancy, you MUST have qualified staff, or you won't win many contracts (particularly government contracts.)
It always comes down to the same thing: exams can do no harm, so why don't people do them? If you are permanently employed, OK. But if you are not, get the certificates.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555552 is a reply to message #555544] Fri, 25 May 2012 01:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
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Did you experience that? What did you do? How was such a situation handled?
I think so. It was an EBS installation project, and the client was recruiting a permanent DBA to take over when we left, and we were asked to help with the interview. He did not seem to have the skills shown in the interview. He was fired a couple of months later, which caused some major expenses: it was an H1-B recruitment from Asia into the US.
I shall always advise clients in future never recruit like that.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555559 is a reply to message #555550] Fri, 25 May 2012 01:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Michel Cadot
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Quote:
When you receive 50 CVs, all good, you cannot interview everyone


Right but when you have one that shows 15-20 years of work on Oracle, you may think it is worth to interview him even if he has not passed certification.

Regards
Michel
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555560 is a reply to message #555559] Fri, 25 May 2012 01:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
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Of course that is correct.

Actually, I have a real problem hiring staff: my standards are too high. I wouldn't even hire myself.

[edit: typo]

[Updated on: Fri, 25 May 2012 01:59]

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Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555608 is a reply to message #555560] Fri, 25 May 2012 07:37 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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"So throw away all the CVs that have not done their OCP exams."

I wouldn't use quite that simplisitic of a sorting scheme. I may not be able to spend 50 hours doing interviews, but I can spend 100 minutes reviewing 50 resumes. Oracle certification rates high on my own scale of measurement. That's really not so much about what it says of their knowledge as what it says about the approach to their career.

>Many people say "OCP is meaningless: a DBA is just as good with or without the exams".

Oracle certification is definitely not 'meaningless'. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are knowledgeable of the test topic. I'm as interested in their reasons for taking the tests and the methods they used to study for them as the fact that they earned them. I'll ask this sometimes in an interview to get a feel for the candidate.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #555610 is a reply to message #555546] Fri, 25 May 2012 07:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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>The last one I passed was 9i, when I see that 10g upgrade exam was (almost)
>just about ... I decided to no more pass them.

I was first certified in Oracle 7 and have since passed the upgrade exams for 8, 9, 10, and 11. I will grant that the upgrade exams are largely filled with features that I don't use. However, I will counter that by saying that I have never taken an upgrade exam where I didn't learn something that was of use to me in my job.

Also, I feel that having an unbroken string of certifications for Oracle up to the current release helps to simultaneously demonstrate my long history with Oracle and the fact that I work to keep my skills current.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #556860 is a reply to message #555610] Thu, 07 June 2012 01:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jtschramm
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Hi Matthew:

I am new to Oracle. I've done some mainframe DB2 work, though not DBA level. Very comfortbale with SQL queries, but not so much with administraion. Since DBA is a highly sought skill, I am preparing for OCA, taking the SQL (1Z0-051) exam first, then 1Z0-052, after studying the cirriculum. I realize admin work is difficult to practice.

Do you have any advice on how I can get what will basically be my first database job (other than knowing someone at a company willing to give me a chance based on my passing the OCA exams)?

Thank you. I am enjoying your posts and advice.

Cheers,
John
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #556932 is a reply to message #556860] Thu, 07 June 2012 07:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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John:

I wrote a detailed article on that topic here:

http://ezinearticles.com/?I-Just-Got-an-Oracle-Certification---How-Can-I-Get-Hired-As-a-DBA?&id=7057698
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #556970 is a reply to message #556932] Thu, 07 June 2012 13:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jtschramm
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Excellent article, Matthew.

Fortunately, my class provided access to Oracle Application Express, so I can practice for a while. I'm going to run through the final project, which we didn't have time to do for the class. I expect that will provide some valuable practice that might help with the exam, as well. We have to design and build a database for a fictitious bookstore.

Other than that, how else can someone keep their skills fresh? Would you recommend working with Micrsoft Access or maybe SQL Server?

I am building a small application for a friend's real estate business. I'm not charging him much, because having built something for an actual client could help with experience. I had an interview where I talked about what I was doing, and the folks interviewing me were very interested.

Cheers,
John
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #556974 is a reply to message #556970] Thu, 07 June 2012 14:09 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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>Fortunately, my class provided access to Oracle Application Express, so I can practice for a while.

If you need access to an Apex development environment, Oracle will give you an Apex account for free at the URL below. Not a huge amount of space, but you can use it as long as you'd like:

http://apex.oracle.com/i/index.html

>Other than that, how else can someone keep their skills fresh?

You can download and install Oracle XE 11G on your PC. It's 100% free and powerful enough to do any reasonable amount of testing. The entire purpose of XE is to allow people to learn and develop apps on Oracle.

At my current company, they were not using Oracle at all when I started here. While I was developing the initial applications and through early production, I had them using an 10G XE database running on an old HP DL360 server from eBay for $150 as our production server. It wasn't until we went into full production that I had them switch to Oracle SE1 and move to a hosted server environment. Looking on eBay now, I see DL360 G3's for $75. For less than half the cost of an Oracle certification, you could obtain an enterprise-class server (albeit an old one), install your choice of Linux (I used Fedora), and Oracle XE.

>Would you recommend working with Micrsoft Access or maybe SQL Server?

Having worked with Oracle for years, I wouldn't even touch Access. Anything that could be written on it will work better on Oracle XE. Experience with Access and about $3.49 will buy you a half caff double-caff grand latte at Starbucks. SQL Server is a bit better, but if you're planning on a career in Oracle, then working with Oracle is your best bet.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #562729 is a reply to message #556974] Fri, 03 August 2012 20:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jtschramm
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Hi Matthew:

I was reading over this thread again because there is a lot of good information here.

As you suggested, I was looking at DL360 servers on eBay. There are many. Do you think a 4G would suffice for setting up a DB server, or shold I go for 5G or even 6G. I've been thinking about putting a server in my home network for a while. I also want to do some webhosting.

When you set it up (either at your company or at home) did you just connect the server to your router, assign it an IP (or let the router assign it) and then connect to it via telnet to set up the databases?

Reading this thread, I realize this setup stil doesn't provide "real world" DBA action, but will it provide scenarios to study for 1Z0-052?

Thanks, as alwys!

Cheers,
John Schramm
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #562730 is a reply to message #562729] Fri, 03 August 2012 21:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
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>Do you think a 4G would suffice for setting up a DB server

The old 3G was *the* server running the Oracle server with production apps for the databases I created for about 18 months. The applications weren't huge and at the time only the people at the local office could use the server because the server room I was in was firewalled from the outside world (and outside my control to alter). However, it was being hit constantly by anywhere from 10-30 people most of the business day. For a home network, it will do what you need. Even when we 'outgrew' it, I'm pretty sure that was outgrowing the limitations imposed by the fact that I was having them run on XE while I was staging in the DB Apps. When I was hired there, they had *no* Oracle presence at all. I didn't want them to experience sticker shock paying for me and servers and Oracle all at once, just to initially have nothing to show for it because no apps were in place to show ROI. Starting out with eBay servers and XE, they were able to enter into Oracle very cheaply, and by the time we moved off of this server, there were numerous apps in place showing a postive impact on the bottom line.

>I also want to do some webhosting.

For this you might want a more powerful server. Depends on what level you're talking about. I'm no expert on that so can't be of much assistance.


>When you set it up (either at your company or at home) did you just connect the server
>to your router, assign it an IP (or let the router assign it) and then connect to it
>via telnet to set up the databases?

We had a network in place at the company and an empty slot in the rack. I put it in, installed Fedora Linux and Oracle from the shared keyboard/monitor/mouse arrangement already in the rack. I set up VNC on the server fairly early and then was able to use a VNC client from my computer to administer it going forward.


>Reading this thread, I realize this setup stil doesn't provide "real world" DBA action,
>but will it provide scenarios to study for 1Z0-052?

If you install and configure an Oracle server from scratch, you're doing a good bit of what you need to know for 1Z0-052. You'll want to install the SE1 edition of Oracle to practice for 1Z0-052. The XE install is very different and not what the test covers. For a server that you will actually *use*, you'll need to deinstall SE1 and install XE, since that is what is available to develop with for free.
Re: Need suggestion.. [message #562731 is a reply to message #562730] Fri, 03 August 2012 22:10 Go to previous message
jtschramm
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Registered: June 2012
Location: Tracy, CA
Junior Member
Thanks, Matthew. Once I (hopefully) pass 1Z0-051 and 1Z0-052, I do want to satrt building some appications. I realize, and know from experience, that getting a job as a DBA is diifuclt. Too many people looking with more experience. I know the certs are good, but I'll still be competing with DBAs with real world skills. I've been seeing opportuinites for "side jobs" developing Oracle DB apps, however, so I'm thinking that wouldn't be a bad direction to take. Low-paid, sporadic experience is still experience.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
John
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