OK, I will reply with my opinions.
In the most recent role I assumed, being a member of UKOUG and studying for
a formal certification plaid a part in me being recruited.
Personally, I found the certification process interesting.
I have a development background and relied predominantly on the official
McGraw Hill certification guides (and my practical experience) as the
primary basis of my certification. I took the mandatory course as a last
step having already passed all the required exams.
My experience was, that by studying for the exams, I found holes in my
knowledge that I didn't know existed. I read stuff in the exam guides and my
jaw dropped and I tested it myself, and I found out that it was true.
As a DBA predominantly informed by experience, it became apparent that you
become (or at least I became) an expert in the areas that your
employer/customer requires the most work.
With a development background, I passed the SQL component exam with a pass
mark in the high nineties.
When I hit the performance tuning exam, I scraped through with the lowest
possible pass mark. This was after I had attempted the test exams included
with the official guides and bought a secondary, third party exam guide
(because my results from the practice exams were poor.)
As a developer I had a grossly exaggerated view of my competence in Oracle
performance tuning and I learnt a significant amount about the subject from
an alternative perspective.
So in short I found the process both enlightening and humbling.
OTOH, you are correct that the McGraw Hill guides are full of errors.
It is self evident that taking certification exams is a dull pursuit, and
writing exam guides has to be one of the more tedious roles for a technical
author. There is the additional issue that some versions of the exam guides
are obviously updated versions of outdated exam guides and some of the
outdated information is not removed and some of the new information is
obviously written by someone without practical experience of the features
You suggest that Oracle sells the original exam questions to the general
public. This is a difficult question that we are unlikely to resolve in an
email list. I would suggest that I encountered perhaps 3 questions in my
exams that I had previously encountered in practice questions. My
interpretation of that is that there are some very obvious questions, and
the writers of the practice exams co-incidentally hit real questions.
OTOH, I did not purchase any official material from Oracle, so I can't
comment on the questions included with official Oracle CBT training
materials. But I understand that that Oracle rotates official OCP questions
on the exam and refreshes them from a pool of new questions.
My expectation is that Oracle could reuse retired questions in official
training materials, but Outside of oracle I would suggest that it would be
difficult to establish that.
In the UK (I have no experience of the US jobs market) I am confident that a
formal Oracle certification would be considered a significant differentiator
at the earliest stages of the recruitment process.
Sometimes it is the difference in my opinion (justly or not) between no
interview and a first interview.
On Tue, Sep 13, 2011 at 5:01 PM, Dba DBA wrote:
I don't think the OCP has any value in the marketplace in the US. The only
companies that want OCPs are low paying sub-contractors looking for
buzzwords. The same seems to be true for the Certified Master. The only
I see a company looking for an OCM it is a sub-contractor that googled
buzzwords. To make matters worse Oracle sells the word for word questions
and answers. The practice tests are the real questions. Virtually all
vendors do this. There is atleast one company out there where you can sign
up for $100 to get a life time membership. It gives you word for word
questions and answers to all questions on virtually all certification
As long as vendors sell the word for word questions and answers
certification will be completely useless. However, why would they stop?
make money selling the tests.
The OCP is also very expensive if you have to get it now. I got certified
back on Oracle 8i, however, today you have to take a $3000 class. To make
matters worse, the books from Oracle press for the upgrade exams are loaded
with errors and are missing information from the actual test. I stopped
upgrading after 9i. It is not worth the hassle. If the OCP becomes
entrenched that is a major expense for people to make. Most companies in
US do not pay for any training at all. This is especially true in the slow
economy. Plus you would have to use your vacation time or (if you are a
contractor), go without being paid for a week to attend the class. Then buy
the books, memorize alot of information that is not important and that you
will forget later on just to get or keep your job. The company I work for
now strongly encourages us to certified (it is part of our evaluations for
raises), but they do not provide any money for expenses. None of the DBAs
are working on certifications. The company argues that it helps them make
sales since they can go "look at all of our certified people". I got this
position a few months ago. I was inteviewed by the DBA team. Certification
was not mentioned in the job ad and no one even mentioned it during the
interview. This push is strictly from corporate.
To make matters worse, you have alot of for profit training companies
advantage of desperate people. They offer technical certifications to
who have no technical background whatsoever. These people don't even get
interviews. The classes are very expensive, and the people who take them
often do not have alot of money and many are desperate for work. These
companies do not do any market research and throw out big numbers using
words like "DBAs can make up to" so much money. How often are their
advertisements for entry level oracle DBAs? It is very rare. You may have
one at your company, but overall it is very rare. Most DBAs started out as
programmers or something else technical and moved over or have been DBAs
20 years and got into it early on.