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OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620458] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:13 Go to next message
rpark888
Messages: 4
Registered: August 2014
Location: Herndon
Junior Member
Hello everyone,

First off, let me just start by saying I know absolutely nothing about IT. I have a degree in Theology (religious studies) and I have been working in finance as a retail banker. But I am trying to make a career change into the IT consulting field, and I was told that getting my OCA certification would be a great start to starting my career as a DBA.

I have just purchased the OCA 12c Study Guide book by Biju Thomas, and even after reading the first few chapters, I already feel overwhelmed and this "dream" seems impossible to accomplish just by studying a book.

Can anyone offer me any encouragement or advice on how to study more efficiently than just trying to read this book 8 hours a day? (I quit my job to dedicate the month of August to getting my cert). I am feeling overwhelmed and I feel like reading is not really helping me understand any of this at all. Thank you.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620459 is a reply to message #620458] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlackSwan
Messages: 22783
Registered: January 2009
Senior Member
> I was told that getting my OCA certification would be a great start to starting my career as a DBA.
With free advice, you sometimes get what you paid for it.

DBA is the proverbial Catch-22.
With no experience, you won't get hired as DBA.
With no job in IT, you can't get any experience.

Folks do NOT start as DBA.
Folks transition into DBA position from other IT related positions.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620460 is a reply to message #620459] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rpark888
Messages: 4
Registered: August 2014
Location: Herndon
Junior Member
Thank you for your blunt answer and prompt reply. So where would I go first once I get my 12c? What jobs should I apply to? Maybe even a Business Analyst?

Is 12c even worth TRYING to learn without any prior knowledge or experience? I appreciate the blunt/un-sugarcoated answers. Thank you.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620461 is a reply to message #620460] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rc3d
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2013
Location: Baden-W├╝rttemberg
Senior Member
I recommend you first study for A+. This is an entry level certification which may gets you a job in service desk. After that you can move forward. I guess you need 5-10 years experience in IT to get a DBA Oracle job. MySQL and SQL Server is better for newbies.

http://certification.comptia.org/getCertified/certifications/a.aspx

Quote:

The CompTIA A+ certification is the starting point for a career in IT. The exams cover maintenance of PCs, mobile devices, laptops, operating systems and printers.


There are a lot of study guides available in Amazon.

http://www.techexams.net is a good resource for entry level certifications.

[Updated on: Fri, 01 August 2014 12:36]

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Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620462 is a reply to message #620461] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rpark888
Messages: 4
Registered: August 2014
Location: Herndon
Junior Member
My girlfriend is a BA consultant for IBM and she got her offer straight out of college (she got her OCA 11g cert in her senior yr in college). Her advice for me was to NEVER start at a service desk, as that will be a trap of mediocrity and will not honor my desire to advance in my IT career as fast as I want to.

Even though at my capacity, I will only be (most likely) qualified for entry-level jobs like service desks, is trying to obtain my 12c cert too unrealistic?

I thought that if I dedicated a fierce discipline to study for it, I could get the certification, and maybe a business analyst role role somewhere that would help me gain some tangible experience. But are you guys saying that for a newbie, this is aiming too high for realistic opportunities?
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620463 is a reply to message #620462] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlackSwan
Messages: 22783
Registered: January 2009
Senior Member
Take a look at the job postings requirements on dice.com and monster.com
For which of the postings would you be qualified after getting the OCA?

IMO, OCA is a worthless or meaningless piece of paper & I suspect that most hiring managers would agree with me; but others may disagree.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620464 is a reply to message #620462] Fri, 01 August 2014 12:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rc3d
Messages: 186
Registered: September 2013
Location: Baden-W├╝rttemberg
Senior Member
rpark888 wrote on Fri, 01 August 2014 12:43
My girlfriend is a BA consultant for IBM and she got her offer straight out of college (she got her OCA 11g cert in her senior yr in college). Her advice for me was to NEVER start at a service desk, as that will be a trap of mediocrity and will not honor my desire to advance in my IT career as fast as I want to.


Do you know about women's quota, pussy pass and feminism? You are a guy and you don't have the same possibilities like a girl.

I did OCA 11g DBA and SQL Expert (without brain dumps) after computer science studies. It was really hard nut to crack for me. I can't imagine how hard that is for a guy without computing basics.

[Updated on: Fri, 01 August 2014 12:56]

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Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620465 is a reply to message #620462] Fri, 01 August 2014 13:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 4553
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
Well, my first job with computers was driving the van that delivers them. And that was with all sorts of IT qualifications.
Do the exams, of course: people who say that they are worthless are not in the position of hiring staff (when you get 50 CVs, you just throw away the ones with no degree and no OCP) or bidding for contracts (which you do not win unless you have qualified staff).
But don't think qualifications are enough. Start by driving the van, then (if you don't crash it) your boss will let you unpack the machines and plug them together. Then, if you don't break any, he'll ask you to put some software on them. After that, perhaps he'll ask you to configure the software and teach people how to use it. And so on. It takes long time, and what you study now is unlikely to be of immediate benefit - but it will show employers that you are serious. Don't give up.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620466 is a reply to message #620465] Fri, 01 August 2014 13:31 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rpark888
Messages: 4
Registered: August 2014
Location: Herndon
Junior Member
John, I appreciate your exhortation and words of encouragement.

I will not give up on the 12c. It's too late for me to give up on it. Emotionally and mentally, I've already dedicated too much time to prepare myself for this career change. I do not have a desire to start off as a DBA or anything "meaty". I just want to get my foot in the door, and I was wondering if the 12c certification was a realistic cert for realistic opportunities for me as a beginner, even if it is "driving the van".

I live right outside DC and around the corner of many consulting firms (Big Four, Booze Allen, IBM, Accenture, HP, etc..) and I have a pretty established network of connections and contacts within me that are willing to help me out, but I was just wondering how I could study more efficiently.

While I appreciate the blunt answers, I don't believe that this is a meaningless pursuit. I know my convictions and will stay true to them. Thank you all for your input, but I believe the purpose of this thread has been lost in admonishment, rather than what I was seeking advice for... how to study more efficiently for the exam(s).
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620468 is a reply to message #620466] Fri, 01 August 2014 13:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlackSwan
Messages: 22783
Registered: January 2009
Senior Member
http://docs.oracle.com/database/121/index.htm
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620470 is a reply to message #620466] Fri, 01 August 2014 13:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
John Watson
Messages: 4553
Registered: January 2010
Location: Global Village
Senior Member
OK, you asked for it Smile
I wrote most of the Oracle Press exam guides for 10g, 11g, and 12c. I didn't comment on study methods earlier, because this forum isn't really meant to sell things. But here we go:
You need to learn SQL first. For 11g, I and a buddy wrote this
http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Database-Fundamentals-Exam-Guide/dp/0071597867
which takes you through some of the background you need (what is SQL? What is relational analysis?) as well as teaching the language. Then this
http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Database-Administration-Guide-1Z0-052/dp/0071591028
is a fuller picture. A lot more than just exam crammers, you need a lot of background knowledge which my buddy Roopesh and I try to provide. We combined it all into an All-In-One Guide, right now we are working on this one
http://www.amazon.com/Oracle-Database-1Z0-061-1Z0-062-1Z0-063/dp/0071828087
I do not know what the book you are using is like, but if it doesn't talk about SQL and RDBMS in general, it will not be much use. The assumed knowledge may be too great. Talk to your GF! She should understand.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620493 is a reply to message #620460] Sun, 03 August 2014 00:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

I'm a little late to the party. Figuring out where to start may be the hardest bit... I think I'll start with Blackswan's note about the OCA:

Quote:
IMO, OCA is a worthless or meaningless piece of paper & I suspect that most hiring managers would agree with me; but others may disagree.


The two best parts of that sentence are the qualifiers: 'IMO' and 'but'. There are job listings that specifically request or require Oracle certification. As such, the concept that the certification is worthless is demonstrably false. I just recently conducted a job search to find someone to act as a backup for me at work. For various reasons the position was set as an entry level position aimed at recent college graduates. None of the people who sent resumes had any Oracle experience and only a couple had even rudimentary knowledge of it. Had a candidate with an OCA sent a resume, they'd have immediately jumped right to the top of my list.

What I assume BlackSwan meant and what I would fully agree with is that an OCA on someones resume in and of itself does not constitute proof that they can effectively administer an Oracle database. In large part this is because a lot of people cheat. The most valuable part of the OCA is the Oracle knowledge that ends up in your head when you are studying for the exams. When you prepare for the exams, don't get in a hurry and don't take shortcuts. The exam topics provide a great list of things a DBA ought to know. You don't want to memorize them just for long enough to pass the exam, you want to burn the information into your brain so that it is available to you later on when you get a job working with Oracle.



You had asked for what job to pursue. As John indicates, look for jobs on the edges of Oracle. It is generally easier to get a job as an Oracle developer than as a DBA. A bad Oracle DBA can easily destroy a database. A bad developer (assuming the DBA has effectively secured the database) should only be able to damage it. Even then, if the DBA has a robust backup strategy in place, the damage should be repairable. As such, hiring inexperienced developers is not as dangerous as hiring inexperienced DBAs. Development work can easily lead to DBA work (or not -- you may find you like developing code). Looking at job listings for my area, I see one for an Associate Programmer Analyst. They're looking for someone just starting out with Oracle. There's even a little note under Desired Qualifications that reads: "Oracle Certified Associate or professional certification". This is an easy route into getting some work experience with the Oracle database.


You'd asked about how to study for the exams. The list John provided was good. I also collect a number of links to free (and certification-safe) resources on my website. The links for 061 and 062 are below. Frankly at the moment, I recommend that people new to Oracle pursue a certification in 11g rather than 12c. 11g has by far more installations than 12c and will for some time to come. However, by the time you are certified and have enough experience to look for a job as a DBA, the advantage may well have tipped towards 12c.

http://www.oraclecertificationprep.com/apex/f?p=OCPSG:EXAM_DETAILS:0::NO::P2_EXAM:1Z0-061
http://www.oraclecertificationprep.com/apex/f?p=OCPSG:EXAM_DETAILS:0::NO::P2_EXAM:1Z0-062
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620494 is a reply to message #620493] Sun, 03 August 2014 01:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lalit Kumar B
Messages: 2307
Registered: May 2013
Location: World Wide on the Web
Senior Member
I frequently take interviews in my organization for Oracle database application developers having 3-7 years of experience generally. After each interview I have to send a feedback about the candidate to the respective hiring managers. Since I already get the shortlisted candidates to be interviewed, I am usually left with few factors to differentiate between the CVs. If I have to take 10 interviews on a day, I look for CVs which mentions OCP. I am more interested to interview them since they have made a little difference already by taking an opportunity to gain the OCP certification. They at least know, or supposed to know the expectation from an OCP. And even I have a reason to ask them the questions of OCP level, practical of course.

However, the above prejudice doesn't always help me. I have had been tortured by OCA/OCP candidates with their stupid answers and claiming they have already applied those solutions in production. It becomes a strange task to give the feedback to the recruiting HR and hiring manager that their Mr. OCP has proved to be bogus.

So, I conclude, OCA/OCP certification has no real value without hands on work experience. And such candidates who think of getting a fresher level job based on certification MUST remember that they are yet to do all the stuff practically which they have studied for certification. Because they will certainly find that in practice, not all theory is applicable.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620497 is a reply to message #620494] Sun, 03 August 2014 09:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
matthewmorris68
Messages: 211
Registered: May 2012
Location: Orlando, FL
Senior Member

Quote:
And such candidates who think of getting a fresher level job based on certification MUST remember that they are yet to do all the stuff practically which they have studied for certification.


Yep. One of the next articles I have on my list to write for CertMag.com is intended to compare certification, knowledge, and experience.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620503 is a reply to message #620497] Sun, 03 August 2014 10:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
BlackSwan
Messages: 22783
Registered: January 2009
Senior Member
>Because they will certainly find that in practice, not all theory is applicable.
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice can be unrelated.
Re: OCA Newb Studying for 12c 1Z0-061 [message #620771 is a reply to message #620503] Tue, 05 August 2014 22:44 Go to previous message
rleishman
Messages: 3700
Registered: October 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Senior Member
The OCA Administrator exam is pretty similar to the 11g Database Implementation Specialist, although the Specialist exam is by all accounts a bit easier. I found that Oracle's 2-Day DBA tutorial was an easy and excellent way to perform some of the hands-on skills required by a DBA, and in combination with one of the books already mentioned, would make for quite a reasonable exam preparation.

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E11882_01/server.112/e10897.pdf

As already mentioned, only a fool would hire a DBA with no practical experience, but that doesn't mean you should abandon the certification. OCA is also a very good differentiatior when it comes to programming jobs. Rightly or wrongly, DBAs are preceived *as a class* to be more skilled than developers. Whilst often not true, it is a fact that an incompetent DBA will not last long, whereas an incompetent developer can hide for years in some organisations; so on average the perception is ind of true. The same prejudice will apply when seeking jobs as a developer; those with an OCA Administrator cert will be perceived as smarter. This won't necessarily get PAST an interview, but it might get you TO an interview.

Since you don't have an IT background, why not consider a career in Business Analysis or Testing arms of IT? I can see from your questions that you have strong writing and critical thinking skills; these would be useful in seeking a career in either of these areas. You could strengthen your chances with appropriate certifications like CCBA or ISTQB.

If you feel you must go into a technical arm of IT without a relevant teritiary degree, maybe a complex product like Oracle is not the best way in. Have you considered one of the popular niche Business Intelligence products like Tableau or QlikView? With these types of tools, there are opportunities to work directly with business users and not so closely with IT. They won't give you the same career trajectory as Oracle, but data analysis can be a good entry point into IT without a degree.


Ross Leishman
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