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
become an Oracle DBA.
What skills are required to be an Oracle DBA?
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
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.
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:
- 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
- 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
Oracle technical books or academic
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.
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?.