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Don Burleson Blog 







How to become an Oracle programmer & developer

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonNovember 5,  2015

With a strong demand for talented Oracle programmers, I get a lot of queries asking how to qualify for Oracle developer jobs which cam pay more than $100,000 per year.

People are enticed by the high pay, but they need to realize that programming and systems development are professionals, requiring a bare minimum of a bachelors degree in computer science or information systems.  In a competitive market, top Oracle programmers often possess masters degrees and command as high a salary as on IT manager.  See here to see how much a college degree is worth.

The life of a successful Oracle programmer can be glamorous

While being a Oracle programmer is exciting and lucrative, it's a career choice that requires years of preparation.  The most important thing to remember is that the job of a Oracle programmer requires a 24x7 commitment.  Being an Oracle programmer can be a very stressful, thankless job, and you may have to support programs that you wrote many years ago, being on-call on Thanksgiving and Christmas to perform downtime maintenance.  Plus, an Oracle programmer is expected to constantly keep-up with the rapidly-changing technology, working nights and weekends on a regular basis.

Becoming an Oracle developer

A common application is written in standard programming languages such as C, C++, Cobol or Java, and the calls to the Oracle database (SQL statements) are embedded within the procedural language code.

Oracle also has it's own procedural language, PL/SQL (Programming language, SQL), an ADA-like 4th generation language that is popular for embedded stored procedures.  Oracle also has the Application Express (Apex) development platform and SQL*Forms and SQL*Reports for report writing.

Oracle also hires programmers to write and maintain the Oracle software, and they only hire the best and the brightest.  If you want to be a programmer for Oracle Corporation, note that Oracle hires only from a small set of universities, including Harvard, Stanford and MIT.  Like many employers, Oracle seeks programmers who have made a lifetime commitment to programming and seeks those who have distinguished themselves by graduating from a competitive university.

Becoming an Oracle programmer

However, it's the nature of your Oracle programmer experience that matters most:

  • Real-world coding experience - The path to true Oracle expertise is paved with programming on real-world, mission-critical Oracle databases. No amount of at-home programming can compare with the learning from programming on a real production database. Many aspiring Oracle programmers will work for free for non-profit charities in order to get this critical Oracle programming experience.

  • Quality of coding experience - There is a wide variation in the quality of experience in the Oracle workplace. Not all Oracle programmer jobs are created equal, and a challenging high-performance programmer job will provide far more expertise exposure than coding mundane applications.

  • Broad range of programming experience - A broad base with many different types of Oracle languages (Java, C++, PL/SQL, Apex) is essential for developing expert Oracle programmer status.

In sum, an Oracle programmer is much like an ordinary programmer and developer, but their skill set is supplemented with knowledge of Oracle internals, SQL programming, Apex, SQL*Forms, Java and PL/SQL.  For more information on becoming an Oracle programmer, see these books:

Comments and Questions:

Update: 11/19/10

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 Oracle guru?

 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!

  •  2 courses in procedural programming (preferably C or assembler)

  • Data structures

  • Algorithms

  • Database management

  • Introduction to information systems

  • Operating Systems

 Check 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 Consultant

 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 analysis

 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 Manger

 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, $90,000+

  • 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 OCP exam.

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.





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