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some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590056] Sat, 13 July 2013 16:00 Go to next message
hdet
Messages: 3
Registered: July 2013
Junior Member
I have used the Oracle Press exam books and Matthew Morris' Prep Series. Mr Morris' web site pointed to this forum, where I see a lively exchange on cert topics. I would like to ask the advice of participants here.

After many years of working with Oracle but putting off certification, I buckled down this year and managed to pass exams for OCE SQL, OCP Adv PL/SQL, and OCA 11g DBA. My remaining goals at this point are to pass OCP 11g DBA and maybe add the new OCE SQL Tuning.

For further context around my following questions, I was a hands-on DBA Manager about ten years ago (8i and 9i), and for the past ten years doing various IT functions and developing in PL/SQL (mostly 10g, some 11g) but hardly any DBA work. I was recently laid off due to downsizing, and am now strategizing how to become employed again. Thankfully, I can put some certs on my resume.

1. Between OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning, which do you think will give the most bang for the buck in job searching?

2. If I go for the DBA cert, I have to take an Oracle class. Would "Oracle Database 11g: Administration Workshop II Release 2" ($3500) help me pass the OCP exam? If not very helpful, I would look at alternatives that could help on the SQL Tuning exam or might be of interest to employers (next questions).

3. For the OCE SQL Tuning exam, Oracle suggests either of two classes: "Oracle Database 11g: SQL Tuning Workshop Release 2" ($2100) or "Oracle SQL Tuning for Developers Workshop" ($2100). I'd appreciate input if you know from experience or have a sense of the differences between these two classes: Is one of the classes targeted to a more skilled audience? Is one of the classes a better fit for the SQL Tuning exam?

4. The other class I'd consider to satisfy the course reqt for OCP DBA is "Oracle Database 11g: Data Warehousing Fundamentals" ($2100). My guess though is that I could learn most of the content from the Oracle docs, whereas that would be harder to do for SQL tuning, making a SQL tuning course a better value for my dollars. Do you think so, or do you think employers see some DW training/knowledge as valuable?

Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590058 is a reply to message #590056] Sat, 13 July 2013 21:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

1. My opinion would be that the OCP would carry a greater weight of the two. I have worked as a Developer/DBA for years and I have found it to be a combination that has served me well. Of the two, I lean more toward being a developer, but being able to handle DBA responsibilities has been instrumental in getting me jobs (including my current one).

2. You have to take *a* class in order to become an OCP, and that is the one I would recommend unless you already know the material so well that it makes no sense to review it. OU courses and the exams are generally in lockstep, so it is an excellent preparation for the exam.

3. I don't know the specific differences between the two. I do know that the subjects of the SQL Tuning Workshop closely relate to the exam topics. You can look at the syllabus for each on the OU website to parse out the variance between the two.

4. Data Warehousing composes only a small portion of the exam. I would recommend self-study for those topics. I have never had an employer show interest in specific courses of study.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590059 is a reply to message #590058] Sat, 13 July 2013 22:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
hdet
Messages: 3
Registered: July 2013
Junior Member
Matthew, it is way cool to receive your reply. May I say that I found your study guides very helpful (especially the one for OCP PL/SQL); I hope they are rewarding for you. Those books and your participation here are a real service I'm sure to many like me. My only question is how do you find time for it all???

Just to confirm my reading:
4. "Data Warehousing composes only a small portion of the exam." ... in this remark you're referring to the OCE SQL Tuning exam, right?

I think the advice that OCP DBA would help me more in job hunting is probably true. It's just that I prefer development and I hoped that OCA DBA would suffice as far as landing a dev job. Also if I have to take an OU course to complete the OCP, I thought it would be killing two birds with one stone to take a class that completes the OCP and helps prepare for OCE (it's also 2 days and $1400 less). But I realize it would be prudent to go the Admin II workshop route for now.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590064 is a reply to message #590059] Sat, 13 July 2013 23:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

I'm glad you enjoy the study guides. As far as the time question -- I spend a lot of nights and weekends writing them.

>in this remark you're referring to the OCE SQL Tuning exam, right?

Correct. SQL tuning make up probably 80-90% of the exam. Parallelization and Data Warehousing share the remaining 10-20%. I doubt there are eight questions on Data Warehousing (out of 80).

>It's just that I prefer development

Oh I much prefer development myself. However, two jobs back I was part of a team of six Developer/DBAs with a four-node RAC multi-terabyte Database that was in use 24x7. My primary job was developing PL/SQL code. A couple of the others on the team were primarily DBAs. However, we rotated after-hours pager duty where we might be called in for a down DB, stalled jobs, etc. Having both skills got me the job.

In my current job, I am the only Oracle professional around. I am the DBA. I am the developer. They didn't have an Oracle database when I was hired. I spec'd out and bought the development server -- then acted as the system admin to install Linux and the database before building the table structure and apps to transition their in-house data to Oracle. Again, I got the job because they needed multiple skills. I could act as the System Admin, Database Admin, and develop the apps they needed. It's a much smaller database, but because I'm wearing multiple hats and am critical to the running of it, I'm making more that I did as part of a team. It's also fun having total control. Smile


Whether or not an employer realizes it, many of the SQL Tuning Expert topics are geared more towards DBAs than developers. Being a developer and having that certification may not be as relevant as it is for a DBA. What does it matter if you understand how to use SQL Plan baselines if you don't have the rights to make use of them? Certainly not all of the exam is like that. Understanding how to read execution plans is extremely valuable for developers that write SQL, for example.

If I were to give a specific order of certs, I'd suggest the 11G DBA, then the Tuning Expert, then take the 12c upgrade exam once it comes out of beta (or in beta if you like... but I don't care for beta tests). That will make you one of the first to be certified as a DBA in 12c... which will make your resume stand out.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590070 is a reply to message #590056] Sun, 14 July 2013 02:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 4677
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
Always nice to hear that my Oracle Press books were helpful. As for further studies:
As you know, you need one Oracle Uni course or they won't give you the OCP certification (though of course you can take and pass the exams any time). I would choose an advanced topic, such as the Grid Infrastructure + RAC course (most OU education centres run an "accelerated" version that is 5 days) or of course the 12c New Features course that is just recently available in beta (beta exams are much cheaper, and more enjoyable because you get many more questions).
If you feel the need for formal instruction for SQL Tuning, here is an advert:
http://skillbuilders.com/instructor-led-training/Course_outlines/new/course-description.cfm?c=new/oracle-11g-sql-tuning-developers-db as&id=530
I'm running this (online) this week, afternoons EDT, we had some cancellations so there are places left. With Matthew's book as a backup, it is good preparation for the exam and (in some ways) better than the Oracle Uni course for job preparation: I spend a lot of time relating techniques to the real-world, and working with techniques that are applicable to Standard Edition. The Oracle Uni course tends to concentrate on less widely applicable features that you pay for.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590082 is a reply to message #590070] Sun, 14 July 2013 09:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

Quote:
(beta exams are much cheaper, and more enjoyable because you get many more questions)


I agree with the first part at least. I may just not have been in the right frame of mind for the one beta exam that I took. I wrote a blog post with some of the pros and cons of betas and why it is important that you be prepared for their differences from a production exam.

http://ocprep.blogspot.com/2013/04/oracle-beta-exams-good-bad-and-ugly.html
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590084 is a reply to message #590082] Sun, 14 July 2013 11:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
hdet
Messages: 3
Registered: July 2013
Junior Member
Matthew, that is a good point about having 12c on the resume. I'll see how the job search goes and definitely think about its priority on my to do list. When do you anticipate publishing your 12c upgrade study guide? Wink Thanks for describing a bit of your work history, it's reinforcing to hear that diverse people do find diverse jobs that fit well.

Hello John. Yes, your Admin I exam book was very helpful. I especially liked the way you tied together all the moving parts around concurrency and transaction management (memory, background processes, undo, redo, serialization). In the past I've seen either very high level descriptive material that left open many questions and confused me, or tried to read some experts' research into internals. Your presentation was clear conceptually, truthful to the facts but at a high enough level that one could grasp the whole picture and not get lost in details, and it was all in one place ... an unexpected benefit of studying for an exam. I'll consider your class offering when approaching the tuning exam, I may have questions about the course wrt the exam and how online courses work.

Gentlemen, thanks again for your time and advice. Best regards,
Ted
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #590088 is a reply to message #590084] Sun, 14 July 2013 13:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

Quote:
When do you anticipate publishing your 12c upgrade study guide?


I won't release it until after 1Z0-060 is in production. For certifications that I don't have -- I research the material, study for the exam and write the guide simultaneously. Then I take the exam. When I find questions on the exam that I don't believe I covered in sufficient detail in the guide, I will go back and expand on those areas before releasing it.

My 1Z0-117 guide followed that basic process and was released about ten days after the exam went production. I expect that 1Z0-060 will have a similar time frame.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #603826 is a reply to message #590088] Thu, 19 December 2013 11:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Frank Naude
Messages: 4420
Registered: April 1998
Senior Member
If your Oracle 12c upgrade guide contains info about the elusive not so "core DBA skills", I assume it would do quite well. Keep in mind that you need 65% to pass the core skills section, but only 64% to pass the 12c new features section. Based on this, your book should contain more non-12c stuff than wasting time on the easy to learn 12c features.

[Updated on: Thu, 19 December 2013 11:56]

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Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #603837 is a reply to message #603826] Thu, 19 December 2013 12:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

Quote:
If your Oracle 12c upgrade guide contains info about the elusive not so "core DBA skills", I assume it would do quite well.


1Z0-060 is the guide I'm working on now. I try to cover all of the topics at a level I think is comparable to how they'll be targeted by OU on the exam. Then after I take the exam, I'll go back and edit the guide to improve any sections that I think weren't covered in sufficient detail. I hope to publish the guide in early January. We'll see. It's hard to concentrate during the holidays.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #603838 is a reply to message #603826] Thu, 19 December 2013 12:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 4677
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
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I did the 12c New Features exam in beta. And I did the DBA1 beta. Of course, I can't talk about the content. But I think it is OK to say that I didn't think that the NF was that difficult. With earlier releases, I thought that the core exams were easier than the New Features exam. So if your certification were a couple of releases behind, it was probably easier to do the core exams again, rather than the upgrade exams. This time, I would go for the upgrade.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #610585 is a reply to message #603826] Fri, 21 March 2014 09:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

OK -- my study guide for 1Z0-060 is (finally) published and the Kindle version is available on Amazon (the paperback should be available later today). For months now I've had three books under development simultaneously. This never works well for me because any time I start to work on one, I keep thinking that I really should be working on one of the other(s). I finally just decided to become a hermit for a while, and concentrate on one at a time. I barreled through completing the guides for 1Z0-062 and 1Z0-060 -- plus I got one for 1Z0-497 (12c Essentials) done. I'll hopefully finish my guide for 1Z0-063 within the week (although it will sit on my hard drive until OU starts the beta for it so I can take the exam before publishing).

Quote:
If your Oracle 12c upgrade guide contains info about the elusive not so "core DBA skills", I assume it would do quite well. Keep in mind that you need 65% to pass the core skills section, but only 64% to pass the 12c new features section. Based on this, your book should contain more non-12c stuff than wasting time on the easy to learn 12c features.


You are right that the Core DBA section is likely to be the long pole in the tent on this exam for many people. Part of the reason behind that, however, is that the topics on the Oracle website for the Core skill are so extremely broad. One of them is 'Perform daily administration tasks' and another is 'Implement Application Tuning'. Entire books can be (and are) written for those topics. The field of potential questions that can fall under either of them is huge.

For people whose primary role is database administration, much of that section will be a walk in the park. DBA is my secondary skill. I administer the database that I use at my work, but my primary role is that of a PL/SQL developer. The section was harder for me than it really should have been. People that haven't ever worked as a DBA (or haven't recently) will find the section challenging.

The study guide has a review of the Core topics on the exam, but test takers would be well advised to use other sources as well. The guide can't cover everything the exam might ask in that section. I will give one (very gray) example. A question on my exam had a screenshot with four metrics from an AWR report. The text indicated the database was slow and asked what might be causing the metrics displayed to be so high. I cannot in my study guide put in a sentence/paragraph saying "If XYZ metrics are high, it might be due to these factors" without also listing scores of other symptoms and potential root causes that could be diagnosed from an AWR report. My study guides are not brain dumps.

I've taken upgrade exams for every release since 7.3 and I would have to day that this one rates as the most difficult so far. Mind you, I've always considered the upgrade exams to be fairly simple. However, between this and the 1Z0-062 exam (which as John indicated was also more difficult than usual), OU may be trying to raise the bar a bit on the DBA certification.
Re: some questions around OCP 11g DBA and OCE SQL Tuning [message #610612 is a reply to message #610585] Fri, 21 March 2014 14:37 Go to previous message
Frank Naude
Messages: 4420
Registered: April 1998
Senior Member
Quote:
For people whose primary role is database administration, much of that section will be a walk in the park.


Problem is that these questions tend to be very theoretical. Most DBA's know what happens if you shutdown the listener, but very few will know how to flashback a database past a resetlogs without looking it up.

Anyway, I wrote and passed the exam yesterday. The "core" questions wasn't that bad after all. However, the idea that they can ask anything about everthing, really freaked me out.

Best regards.
Frank
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