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Don Burleson Blog 







Why Oracle is a profession, not a trade!

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonOctober 15,  2015

Oracle is the world's most sophisticated and robust database, an extremely complex engine which requires a solid background in Computer Science and Information Technology to understand.  Many Oracle professionals earn six figure incomes, commensurate with the many years of college training that is required to properly manage a complex corporate information resource.

Unfortunately, some dishonest pseudo-schools have been touting Oracle as a trade, enticing unqualified kids into learning Oracle.  These students are sorely disappointed when they are not considered for the role of database administrator, not realizing that they have been deceived by their school.

Oracle is a profession, not a trade!  Just like Law and Medicine, a data management executive must have highly polished communications skills, human management skills and supreme technical skills. 

Traditionally, the job role of database administrator has been a high-level management position, often equal to a Vice President.  This is because the Oracle DBA requires skill and talents commensurate with a VP, accepting full responsibility for the corporations mission critical data resources.

So, how does one acquire that mix of managerial, communications and technical skills?  See my notes here on how to become an Oracle DBA.

What skills are required to be an Oracle DBA?

Since I've been a DBA for 25 years I'm often asked "How do I become a DBA?", many from neophytes who are enticed with the glamour and power of the DBA role.

The life of a successful DBA can be glamorous

While being a DBA 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 DBA requires a 24x7 commitment.  Being an Oracle DBA can be a very stressful, thankless job, and many DBA jobs require the DBA to be on-call on Thanksgiving and Christmas to perform downtime maintenance.  Plus, the DBA is expected to constantly keep-up with the rapidly-changing technology, working nights and weekends on a regular basis.

It's not uncommon for a DBA to earn as much as a mid-level manager, and in larger shops the DBA is a vice president.  However, the high high pay is a double-edged sword.  The DBA must constantly justify their salary, and a good DBA who automates many of their job functions may find themselves looking for a new job.

You cannot fake your DBA credentials


What constitutes valid Oracle Qualifications?

In my book ?Conducting the Oracle Job Interview? I note that that management routinely check all aspects of a job candidate's experience and qualifications.  These include:

?        Experience - Was this person intimately involved with the internal machinations of Oracle at Redwood?  Nobody knows Oracle like the folks who built and maintain it (especially if they have source code!). Is this job candidate a consultant who has worked on hundreds of databases or a day-job person with a more-limited breadth of experience? 

  • Academics - Does the candidate demonstrate the hard-work and persistence required to graduate from a rigorous collegiate program?  Were they able to compete effectively for entrance into a competitive graduate school?
  • Publications - There are many portals where Oracle professionals can share their knowledge and many expect any ?real? Oracle expert or Oracle scientist to have a demonstrable commitment to the advancement of Oracle knowledge by publishing in at least one of the following areas:

?         Books - Oracle technical books or academic press publications.

?         Conference papers - OracleWorld, RMOUG Training Days, Database World, etc.

?         Trade Periodicals - Oracle Magazine, Oracle Internals, DM-Review, Dr. Dobbs journal, IOUG SELECT, etc.

Oracle hires their software developers from universities with rigorous requirements and 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.

Many people say that anyone wearing a ?Brass Rat? (The MIT class ring) is almost always highly-trained and brilliant, and others note the high-speed information uptake skills from graduates of Stanford, Harvard, Duke, West Point, and many other first-tier universities.

For example, Lt. Col. John Garmany (with his West Point education in Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering), can diagnose Oracle performance problems at every level, right-down to the chipset instruction, and people are amazed at how quickly he grasps and solves an Oracle problem.  Is it his West Point discipline, his Master of Science degree in software engineering, or his training as an Army ranger? 

Many employers agree, and rely on the top science schools to find the ?best and the brightest?. 






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Note: This Oracle documentation was created as a support and Oracle training reference for use by our DBA performance tuning consulting professionals.  Feel free to ask questions on our Oracle forum.

Verify experience! Anyone considering using the services of an Oracle support expert should independently investigate their credentials and experience, and not rely on advertisements and self-proclaimed expertise. All legitimate Oracle experts publish their Oracle qualifications.

Errata?  Oracle technology is changing and we strive to update our BC Oracle support information.  If you find an error or have a suggestion for improving our content, we would appreciate your feedback.  Just  e-mail:  

and include the URL for the page.


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