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RE: Real world OCP

From: Boivin, Patrice J <>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 09:05:03 -0300
Message-Id: <>

You propose turning Oracle DBAs into professionals.

That could prove useful, but there has to be a real need out there fo= r
reliability. It worked for physicians because they could say that if=  they
are not certified and trained properly, people may die. On a side tr= ack, I
am not sure I understand how lawyers managed to define themselves as professionals, this may bring my argument down to nothing...

Many managers see Oracle administration as important, I am not sure t= hat
there are that many who consider database administration to be as cri= tical
as the role of physicians. They just hire two or three people to red= uce the
likelihood of mistakes, or they bring in consultants once in a while = to
double-check their DBA's work.

Also there is tension already between OCPs and existing (veteran) DBA= s, you
should have read some of the threads going through this listserv last=  year.
Some DBAs are certified but they hesitate to tell people because they=  see it
as something they had to do, but not as something they needed to do.

Imagine if you impose an even more rigorous certification scheme, I a= m not
sure everyone would be pleased, esp. if they are competent already an= d end
up having to dish out more money to become "professionals".

There is a potential benefit to professionalisation, in that there is=  a
certain standard imposed. In turn this could lead to higher income.

Remember that employers want to keep salary costs down. Which is mor= e
important to them? Reliability, or costs. They would have to make t= hat
calculation, poor reliability costs money.

I would argue that if our role was to become a profession, training w= ould
have to be hands-on like it is for surgeons, not based on memorizatio= n like
the bar exam and the current OCP exams. Oracle is in a bind in that = regard,
how can they ensure that people who attempt their exams have enough practical experience or savvy to prove reliable in the workplace.

Also because medicine impacts everyone, physicians and nurses managed=  to get
their training through universities here in Canada. In the U.S. stud= ents
have to fork out truck loads of money, in Canada less, but still the professional trainng is offered via public educational institutions. =  I
don't know if there are public universities out there willing to take=  an
Oracle professional program seriously. Is the demand there? Maybe i= t could
become a cash cow for them.

Certainly there are training centers that focus on churning out OCPs = and
MCSEs, maybe they could be convinced to offer more comprehensive prog= rams.
The tuition cost would go up though, and with the OCP being available=  they
would have a hard time convincing potential DBAs to go the long route instead of the OCP route. Many of the people to go for the OCP are i= n the
midst of a career change, or want to shift from being developers to D= BAs.
Many of them barely have enough money to pay for the OCP training, ho= w many
would be able to pay more money for a more comprehensive training pro= gramme.

Because for a while everyone wanted to be an MCSE (just like a few ye= ars
back everyone wanted to be a CNE), Microsoft has generated these comp= lex,
tricky exams that are starting to look more like IQ tests to try to w= eed out
unqualified candidates. Intelligence is important, but intelligent p= eople
can get bored and forget to do routine work, which is important for d= atabase
administration. There would have to be a proper balance between prac= tical
training and testing for the professional status to be valid.

Could Oracle Corp. be convinced of dropping or fortifying the OCP tra= ining
program? Maybe they could make it a requirement that training center= s
provide a practicum, some kind of internship like what doctors have t= o go
through. Maybe there should be two: 6 months as the equivalent of a=  DBO,
then a year later, 6 months as a junior DBA somewhere with real responsibilities. Some kind of coop program.

Oracle would have to build partnerships with corporations willing to = take in
trainees, that means Oracle would have to pay these companies in exch= ange
for training that meets some standards. =20

Certainly more work for Oracle's education division!

But it just might prove worthwhile, Oracle has an interest in ensurin= g that
the people operating their software are competent and reliable. I re= member
reading somewhere that DBA error is the most common cause of downtime=  and
prolongs recovery time.

Just a few thoughts.

Patrice Boivin
Systems Analyst (Oracle Certified DBA)

Systems Admin & Operations | Admin. et Exploit. des syst=E8mes
Technology Services        | Services technologiques
Informatics Branch         | Direction de l'informatique=20
Maritimes Region, DFO      | R=E9gion des Maritimes, MPO

E-Mail: <>=

Ph: (902) 426-4774

=09-----Original Message-----
=09From:=09Gait, Christopher []
=09Sent:=09Wednesday, June 28, 2000 1:04 AM
=09To:=09Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L
=09Subject:=09RE: Real world OCP

=09I'm only part of the way along the DBA OCP path (I'm technically O=
=09I passed the incredibly lame DBO exam, but have three more tests t=
go on
=09DBA). I have found so far that the parts of the exam I know best a=
=09ones I've done at work or on my own Linux box at home. Those are t=
=09questions where you don't even think about the answer, like: 'how =
=09change the block size of a database?'=20

=09I think the idea of OCP is excellent. I think the implementation
=09Oracle seems to be imitating Microsoft in its model for testing
(lots of
=09tests, expensive, rote memorization, lots of stress on things the
=09company is trying to sell, such as the ludicrous stress on lock
manager in
=09the DBO exam).

=09What we need is to work from within IOUG-A to establish a system
like the
=09one used to prepare doctors. There should be training programs, ca=
=09studies, internships and most importantly: board certification. A
=09should not be permitted to be an enterprise DBA without either
showing that
=09they already have the experience to prove their ability or have go=
=09a grueling internship culminating in a battery of written and
hands-on tests
=09and a committee examination. That way when an employer demands (as
they all
=09do) that a DBA have 3+ years experience, a board certified DBA can
show them
=09the names of 3-5 enterprise DBA's who will vouch for him/her.

=09Is this a realistic idea? No, not particularly, but then the
conversion from
=09the part-time barbers/part-time doctors of the nineteenth century
=09accepted chickens as payment to our golf-playing, mansion dwelling
=09medicos did happen, and a lot of it came from organizations of

=09End of daydream.

=09-----Original Message-----
=09Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2000 5:32 AM
=09To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

=09I've seen a number of threads at various stages about whether OCP =
of any
=09real practical value. For example some have expressed the point o=
=09that it's a memory test and whilst it's fine to know the theoery
=09experience is significant too. I don't know how many OCP's active=
=09part on this list but it occured to me that with the range of
problems being
=09posted here that a possible good validation of OCP, possibly
especially for
=09those who "crash coursed" it is to see how many of the problems
posted you
=09can answer..... It's kinda easier when they're not your problems =
=09Of course the Oracle product is expanding and there are now OCPs f=
=09areas but I think the principle still applies. For the past few
weeks, when
=09I've had time, I've been looking a questions posted and trying to
see if I
=09can answer them, comparing my attempts with those posted. It's a
bit of fun
=09and also a real eyer opener about my lack of knowledge, or
misunderstood POV
=09in many cases. Thanks to all who share knowledge on the list!!!=

=09Any OCP's on the list care to share how well they do at answering
=09posted and for background whether they "crashed coursed" or got
=09certification there after X years of on the job experience?.

=09Sean :)

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=09The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does
=09 - Theodore Roosevelt

=09Author: Gait, Christopher
=09 INET:

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Received on Wed Jun 28 2000 - 07:05:03 CDT

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