How to Become an Oracle Professional
Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson
For more details, see these important notes on:
- Oracle in a laissez faire economy
- Becoming an Oracle expert
Oracle DBA job
Also, many folks ask how much is a college degree worth?
and how to become an Oracle Professional
Most beginners start work with Oracle after graduating from college, and in this tight market,
a masters degree (MBA or MCS) is advised. Remember, database administration is not a trade.
Database administration is a mission-critical job role, a professional career requiring at
least a 4-year degree. Being a DBA carries as much responsibility as being a scientist, architect or
As I turn 50 years old,
notice that people half my age are working hard to become an Oracle Professional, and I'm really glad
to see that it's still a level playing field and that anyone, regardless of
background, can make it to the top of the heap. Also see my notes on
how to become
an Oracle DBA and
how to become an Oracle
Win your Oracle Dream Job!
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I'm frequently asked
takes to become an Oracle DBA, but these are mostly queries from
vacillating people who are only interested in the high pay and don't understand
all of the years of hard work and perseverance that it takes just to enter the
Also see how Oracle DBA jobs will be different in the
year 2020 and
Oracle DBA job duties.
Trust me, no large corporation
is going to pay you $130,000 per year to manage their mission-critical Oracle
database unless you have a history that demonstrates dedication to a
professional career in database management. Becoming an Oracle Professional
doesn't take remarkable intelligence or a pricey Harvard degree, but it does
take persistence, drive, and a dedication to excellence.
Becoming a Respected Oracle Professional
My company is one of the
highest paying Oracle consultancies, and we have very
rigorous hiring policies
because our clients demand Oracle consultants with impeccable credentials.
Hence, I'm always on the lookout for the next up-and-coming Oracle Professional.
The next Oracle Professionals are not
hard to find. They have the stellar
insightful blogs, snag opportunities to
share their research.
They strive for prestigious degrees, awards, publishing opportunities,
certifications and challenging job opportunities. The next generation of
Oracle Professionals are easy to spot because they are characterized by a "can do"
attitude, and they all have polished
You can't stop an
aspiring Oracle Professional
Ten years ago I was giving a
keynote presentation at a conference when I noticed a High School kid in the
front row taking feverish notes and hanging on my every word.
After my presentation, he leapt
up and commanded my attention with question-after-question on
become an Oracle DBA and how to distinguish himself as an Oracle Professional.
He told me that he was only 16 years-old and that he was going to be the next
Don Burleson! He said that he had driven for two-days to hear me speak and
wanted my advice on how to distinguish himself as an Oracle professional.
I was impressed, and I told him that there was no secret to success in Oracle,
and that hard work, above all else would distinguish his Oracle career.
This was not the last time I
would see this young fellow. Since that fateful day, he got a job as a
senior instructor at Oracle University, became the world's youngest Oracle ACE
and Oracle Certified Master, and wrote a book on Oracle technology.
Now I ask you, how could I not
hire this guy?
Steve Karam has
earned his place among the highest paid Oracle professionals in the world.
This week I sent him to Jamaica to teach a class, and he and his wife and kids
are having the time of their lives. This guy strives to be outstanding in
everything he does, just look at his
I don't believe that any
aspiring Oracle Professional would "settle" for second-best, and every day I see the
next generation of Oracle Professionals working long hours to distinguish themselves
among their peers.
If you have taken extraordinary
efforts to distinguish yourself as an Oracle Professional, I probably already know about
you, but just in-case I missed you, please
send me an
e-mail if you are looking for a job or a publishing opportunity. There
is always room at the top, and if you are going to be one of the next Oracle
Professionals, I'd like to hear from you.
Comments and Questions
Question: I want to start learning how to be an Oracle
DBA, and hopefully with time sit for OCA and OCP certifications
Answer: Most people start learning Oracle right
after completing a 4 year degree in computer science or information systems.
Oracle is the world's most sophisticated database, it is not for people who do
not possess a professional degree.
Are you qualified to be an
The average 2015
salary for a DBA is about $100,000, and it is a competitive market where
years of work experience counts most!
If you have had these 300 level or above courses you
are ready to start learning Oracle!
academy for their suggested College courses
Title: Entry Level Database Engineer Jr. Consultant
Description of duties:
Maintaining the integrity of data.
Running queries against the database.
Go out to client sites.
Install and trouble shoot systems
Requirements and Salary:
0 - 2 yrs. + Bachelors degree,
$25,000 - $50,000
0 - 3 yrs. + Bachelors degree, $35,000 - $45,000
Title: Database Administrator Sales
Description of duties:
Extensive analysis and problem solving.
Maintain database configuration and ensure data feed
accuracy and quality
Assist Sales Representatives.
Present Applications and Systems to potential clients.
Project Management and needs
Requirements and Salary:
2 - 3 yrs. + Bachelors degree,
$50,000 - $90,000
2 - 5 yrs. + Bachelors degree,
$65,000 - $90,000
Title: Sr. Database Administrator Project
Description of duties:
Development, implementation, enhancement and
maintenance of database.
Support and Maintenance of the Databases Management of
product design, engineering, implementation and integration.
Initiating and maintaining partner relationships.
Requirements and Salary:
4+ yrs. + Bachelors degree,
5+ yrs. + Bachelors degree $100,000+
> >> I wanted to thank you people again for the warnings
and for letting me know that it's not an easy path
Our expert responds to this reader's note: No
problem! If your boss will pay for it, far and away the best way to prepare
is to take the Oracle university classes.
If not, get several OCP preparation books, and start
by passing your OCA exam and then your
Then, you can apply for a junior DBA position. The best
places to start are shops that don't pay much, hospitals, colleges and
charities. I started my apprenticeship at a university, right after
completing my masters degree.
Oracle Professional status:
We need to remember that the terms "expert" and "Professional" are
nothing more than accolades, similar to the vendor-awarded titles:
And the self-earned titles such as:
Robert Vollman (one of my favorite bloggers) just published
insightful comments about what it takes to become an "Oracle Professional". Mr.
Vollman has some observations about the relative value of a university education and
excellent communications skills toward Professional status:
Top College Degrees:
"After all, who is to decide which degree is
prestigious enough, which certifications are necessary, and which awards
To answer this question we need to look no further than
Oracle Corporation, who published
their choices of schools for "top candidates", a virtual laundry-list of the
world's most challenging and demanding universities:
"According to the e-mail, Oracle recruits "top
candidates" for product development from MIT, Stanford, CMU (likely Carnegie
Mellon University), Princeton, Wisconsin, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Caltech,
Berkeley, Harvard and Cornell.
In addition, the e-mail continues, Oracle will consider "top candidates"
from the University of Texas Austin, Duke, Penn, Georgia Institute of
Technology (grad students) and "any top international schools,"
Many large corporations rely on challenging universities to do the screening
for them, and nobody can deny that it takes a great deal of hard work and
dedication to graduate from a highly-selective university. I know engineer
graduates from MIT and DeVry, and while they both graduate engineers, there are
huge differences in the quality of the education (and the number of recruiters
who hire from these schools)!
"I would say
that Don contradict himself with regard to the degree, "doesn't take a
pricey Harvard degree" and later saying that "a stellar education with
prestigious degrees" is a must."
Ah, this is a common teaching technique that I've used for years, presenting
two sides of an argument. It's designed to make people think, and if you
noticed the contradictions, when I've done my job properly. . . . BTW, some of
my best consultants are high-school graduates who work hand-in-hand with Ivy
Professional Teaching Skills & Quality
Mr. Vollman makes an interesting point about the subjectivity of the
"quality/quantity" spectrum of communications for an Oracle Professional:
"How do we measure how effectively a potential Professional has communicated
their knowledge? Number of students? Questions answered? The students'
understanding of Oracle? Some combination thereof?"
By my definition, an "Oracle
Professional" is a teacher, and being able to communicate is an essential
I've taught over 80 classes in graduate school, and I noticed that many aspiring
Professionals never learn to "dumb-down" their communications to a level where
they can be understood by beginners. I've successfully presented Oracle
technology to 9th-graders, and it you don't know how to communicate at the same
level as your audience, you are a failure as a Professional.
For example, many top-level IT
managers don't know (or care) much about the relative features of database
products (SQL Server, Oracle, DB2), and it's necessary for a real Oracle Professional to deliberately
over-generalize and explain complex technology with simple analogies and
The ability to over-generalize and
simplify complex concepts with analogies is a critical skill for any Professional.
Google job interview questions where job candidates must
explain computer concepts to a hypothetical 8 year-old:
"Explain a database in three sentences to your
Also see my notes on
Learning by Analogy - Oracle
I use a similar question in my
the Oracle Job Interview", to tease-out a potential Oracle Professional:
Q: "Explain the
most popular commercial databases, as-if they were cars. Draw a clear
analogy and explain what kind of cars "Oracle" and "SQL Server" would be,
and justify your answer with specific features."
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