Certification has been a big issue for a long time. When companies
like Microsoft started with the admin certification and Sun followed
with Solaris certification, the credentials meant real dollars for
someone who went through the certification process. Some
certifications, like the security certification suite, require
substantial industry experience and thousands of dollars of courseware
before you can take the exam. Most people that I know who obtain
certification are consultants or work for resellers. Most software
companies require that their resellers have a minimum of one certified
engineer to support the sales staff. Not a bad idea but it dosen’t
always work that way. I worked for years for Sun Microsystems and was
the Solaris area specialist as well as author for the company facing
web pages used by sales and marketing. My exposure to customer issues,
experience in administering the office computers, and desire to read
everything published on Solaris gave me the credibility and knowledge
required to talk about the operating system. I didn’t really learn much
of my administration skills through the courseware prep books or the
online documentation. What really helped me learn the internals and
knobs to tweak was benchmarking systems. It dosen’t take a rocket
scientist to configure a printer on a system and create a spool that
can be used by Windows clients. It is a little more difficult if you
are trying to run the SPECWeb benchmark and get 5% more performance
from the disk sub-system so that you can be the lowest bidder on a
government contract that could mean millions in sales.
what are the key reasons to be certified? Looking at the comments the key reasons are:
1) advantage over co-workers, you can prove that you are smarter than they are
2) increase employability, headhunters are looking for keywords to match someone with a potential employer
3) certification broadens knowledge, yes. these tests to delve into
the fringe stuff that no one ever really does in real life. At times,
these fringe topics are relevant but in my opinion, not very often.
4) helps develop language to talk with DBA. I totally agree with
this one. Learning the language is key to working in the industry.
In the next few weeks I am going to walk through the admin workshops
(parts one and two) and take the certification exams. I will summarize
in the next few weeks what I gathered from this training. My goal is to
understand the lingo required to talk to a DBA and the management team
involved in database selection. My objective will be to obtain the
certified associate and certified professional. I would like to get the
master ranking but I think that it requires 3-4 years working as a DBA
which I don’t have.
– Oracle Certification
– Insiders guide to Oracle Certification
– Certification Information (from outside of Oracle)
Security is an interesting issue these days. I’ve taken many classes on
securing a computer, securing a network, and securing web applications.
It never occurred to me that you might want to secure data inside a
database. Oracle introduced a new product a few months ago that makes
sense. If you store your HR information, military secrets, or financial
data in a database and oursource your DBA responsibilities, you have
given away the keys to the kingdom. Many companies are starting to
outsource specific functions like database administration because
having a full time, fully qualified DBA on staff is expensive and hard
to keep busy. The Database Vault product from Oracle addresses this
issue. I personally like the viewlets that can be seen at Database
Vault page. They helped me understand how to use the product
as well as its value.
This week I went to the North American sales meeting. Now, I’ve been to
other sales meetings so I knew what to expect. I brought my own straw
so that I could drink the kolaid at my own pace. Man was there a
variety of flavors. I work on the Tech side of the house and didn’t
realize that there was a just as powerful Applications division. I’m
glad that there is a division like this. I’m not sure that I could be a
generalist for both sides of the house.
It was interesting hearing about the new versions of products that have
been announced that no one else in the office has had time to research
or learn much about. I am personally excited about the Record DB and
Data Valut DB products. They both offer substantial value to companies
and I understand the application. The Record DB product offers a
significant tool to help with acquisitions and mergers. It allows users
to categorize documents and emails and reduce the time required for
legal discovery. This reduced time results in a quicker acquisition
time as well as reduced legal cost. I think that I am going to start
learning this product because I understand the concept as well as the
My biggest task in the next few weeks will be to understand the sales
process and how to talk to everyone else in the organization about
potential deals and processes. At the same time I also need to learn
the products and market potential for the products. Since this is
something that I know nothing about, it will be exciting to learn. I’m
not looking forward to sitting in training but would prefer to view
webcasts or review training class material without having to sit
through five days of material. I think that I am going to request the
materials and try to review the material and get to know who the
experts in the office and area are so that I can pepper them with
questions. I am going to try to do this instead of sitting in a
classroom for five weeks to attend the classes that I want to attend.
One question that I do have….. is the certification process and
database administrator certification carry any value? I got the Solaris
9 certification and it didn’t help me but it did help the reseller that
I worked for.
more later. I will try to make these updates a little more often. I
didn’t have access to the internet while at the sales meeting other
than the kiosks provided in the comman area at the conference. later….
I just started this week at Oracle as a Systems Architect in the
Houston office. In this blog I will record my journey of learning the
product suite and processes and systems inside of Oracle.
My first impression is that things are very process oriented. There are
two levels of single-sign on that require different passwords, one for
communication/collaboration and one for self service applications
inside the company. I’ve talked about the concept of doing this for
years while I worked for Sun Microsystems and pushed identity software.
I also implemented the foundations of this for Texas A&M University
and Rice University as well as a couple of companies in Houston as a
consultant. It is interesting to see the depths that identity
management and business process management can be implemented.
Everything seems to be checklists and well documented processes. It is
amazing how efficient something like this can make a company. In the
last few companies that I have worked, everything was a manual process.
Automating simple things like direct deposit, getting business cards,
and getting keys for the file cabinets in my office really does
more later. Next week is our national sales meeting. I’m sure I’m in
for long days of listening to people I don’t know while I struggle to
figure out what they are talking about.