DBA or Developer? Deciding which one suits you best.

On forums and LinkedIn groups dedicated to Oracle certifications, I often see people asking whether they should pursue the Oracle certification track to become a Database Administrator or a developer certification track (either PL/SQL or Java). As a general rule, their question revolves around “Which makes more money?” or “Which is in greater demand?”

The first question has no real answer. Some Oracle DBAs make more than some Oracle developers and the reverse is also true. The salary earned by anyone working with Oracle is made up of a complex set of variables that include regional norms, years of experience, type of experience, suitability for the position, company policy, and the bargaining skills of the person so employed. The second question is also unanswerable for the most part. Some firms employ a single DBA and multiple developers, others multiple DBAs but no developers.

As a general rule, I would say that there is a larger market for Oracle developers than for Oracle DBAs. In cities that are technology hubs, however, there are almost always openings for both DBAs and developers. In regions where there are few firms with Oracle databases, though, open positions for DBAs or developers may seldom if ever show up. Anyone who wants to start a career with Oracle should investigate the hiring environment for the area they are interested in. It is simple to look at listings for Oracle professionals using online job sites to get a feel for the…

Matthew Morris


Matthew Morris is an experienced DBA and developer. He holds Oracle DBA Certifications for releases 7, 8i, 9i, 10G and 11G; Expert Certifications for SQL, SQL Tuning, and Application Express; and is an Oracle Linux 6 Certified Implementation Specialist and an Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional. He is the author of several Oracle certification guides. His Web site, Oracle Certification Prep, is dedicated to providing links to resources for Oracle certification preparation.

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