Preparing for the OCP – DBA Certification Exams
What is Oracle Certified Professional (OCP)?
Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) recognizes technical professionals who can demonstrate the depth of knowledge and hands-on skills required to support Oracle’s core products according to a standard of excellence established by Oracle.
What Are the Benefits of Being Certified?
There are many benefits from getting certified, some of which include:
- ·Value to hiring managers.
- ·Added credibility (excellent for contractors who sell narrow skill sets and must claim to be immediately productive).
- ·Increased job opportunities (OCP members site and other job sites).
- ·Use of Oracle Certification Program logo for endorsement of your proven skill by Oracle Corp.
- ·Invaluable experience as a result of preparing.
- ·New tricks and skills to add to your arsenal.
- ·Looks good on resume (receive certificate, business card and access to OCA and OCP Web sites).
- ·Special discounts and offers.
What Are the Required Steps for Certification?
There are four steps to getting certified: selecting a track, preparing for the test, scheduling the test and taking each test from a selected track. Additional information can be located at www.oracle.com/education/certification/index.html?starthere.html.
Step 1—Select a Track
Oracle Database Administrator:
- ·Oracle 8i DBA: OCP
- ·Oracle 9i DBA: There are three certifications available: Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), OCP and Oracle Certified Master (OCM).
Oracle Application Developer:
- ·Application Developer, Release 2 (This track will be retired July 31, 2002.)
- ·Oracle Forms Developer, Release 6/6i
Oracle Java Developer:
- ·Oracle Certified Solution Developer
- ·Oracle Certified Enterprise Developer
Oracle Database Operator:
- ·Internet Database Operator (This track will be retired Oct. 15, 2002.)
Step 2—Prepare for the Test
There are many ways to prepare for the exams. I found the following resources most useful. Bottom line: It depends on the individual, his or her practical experience and the amount of available preparation/study time.
- ·Self Test Software’s (
- ) practice exams contain 250 to 300 practice questions. The software simulates the actual exam. It costs $99 per practice exam and $125 to take the actual exam. Self Test Software makes it easy, providing questions that closely resemble the questions on the exam. The software simulates an actual exam with added functionality to learn the topics you’re tested on. One of the nicest features is the correlation between Self Test’s practice exams and Oracle’s self-paced training. Oracle offers computer-based training that’s available on CD-ROM. This is the quickest route, for those with two to three or more years of experience.
- ·Oracle’s Self-Paced Training combined with Self Test Software’s practice tests is a great way to prepare for the OCP exams. Training costs $3,000 or more for the OCP bundle. Test vouchers are included. This is what I used to prepare for the exams and would be very good for someone with one to two years of experience. This is the next best thing to instructor-led training. The courses are structured in such a way that beginner-to-advanced DBAs can benefit.
- ·Instructor-Led Training (
- ) is another method used to prepare for the exams. Instructor-led training combined with Self Test Software’s practice exams is a great way to prepare. Someone with less than one year of experience can benefit by using this process. Nothing beats Oracle University’s instructor-led training. However, at $2,000 to $3,000 a class, cost becomes an issue. The more experience you have the less you’ll have to pay for OCP preparation.
Many companies have a training and education budget. Check with your company on their education and training policies. I was able to leverage my company’s education budget and take an OCP preparation course from an accredited university. These programs are excellent in preparing you for the OCP exams.
Make sure you get your training from a reliable source. The worst thing you can do is waste your time with unreliable information. I suggest calling Oracle University if you still have questions, at (800) 529-0165. It’s a great place to get started.
Step 3—Schedule the Test
You can schedule a test by calling (800) 891-3926 or by registering at www.2test.com. You have to schedule an exam at least two days prior to taking it. I used the Web site to sign up for my exams, since I preferred getting a confirmation via e-mail.
Step 4—Take Each Test from Your Selected Track
You have two choices to achieve OCP certification. You can take the Oracle 8i DBA exams followed by the Oracle 9i upgrade exam or you can take the Oracle 9i DBA exams. I suggest taking the Oracle 8i DBA exams followed by the Oracle 9i upgrade exam. This is a good idea because:
- ·Many companies are still using Oracle 8i.
- ·Oracle 8i exams are easier if you already have Oracle 8i experience.
- ·There are many features that I learned while preparing for the Oracle 8i exams.
- ·You need to know Oracle 8i if your migrating from Oracle 7 to Oracle 9i.
- ·You get the best of both worlds (versions).
A drawback to taking the Oracle 8i exams instead of the Oracle 9i exams is that some of the Oracle 8i features are played down in 9i, and this can be confusing when going from the Oracle 8i OCP to the Oracle 9i upgrade exam. However, Oracle 9i makes a point of emphasizing these differences, making it easy to remember. I’d suggest taking the Oracle 9i exams if your company is starting with 9i. Preparing for the 9i exams with the resources listed above will give you a tremendous advantage in learning 9i and will bring you up to speed quickly.
Database Administrator Exams
Oracle 8i DBA
- ·#1Z0-023 Oracle 8i: Architecture and Administration
- ·#1Z0-025 Oracle 8i: Backup and Recovery
- ·#1Z0-024 Oracle 8i: Performance Tuning
- ·#1Z0-020 Oracle 8i: Network Administration
- ·#1Z0-001 Intro to Oracle: SQL and PL/SQL
You have to take all five exams to achieve OCP certification. I suggest you use the order listed above. My development skills aren’t as strong as my DBA skills. Therefore, I found the SQL and PL/SQL exam the most difficult. Many DBAs go into the first exam (#1Z0-001) thinking it will be a breeze but then find themselves retaking the exam 30 days later.
Oracle 9i upgrade exam
- ·#1Z0-030 Oracle 9i Database: New Features for Administrators
Oracle 9i DBA
- ·#1Z0-007 Introduction to Oracle 9i: SQL (available online for $90)
- ·#1Z0-031 Oracle 9i Database: Fundamentals I
- ·#1Z0-032 Oracle 9i Database: Fundamentals II
- ·#1Z0-033 Oracle 9i Database: Performance Tuning
Once you take exam #1Z0-007 and exam #1Z0-031, you will be certified at the Associate level. You must take the following two exams to earn your OCP credential. In order to qualify for your OCP credential for Oracle 9i DBA, please also note as of June 15, 2002, you are required to complete one course from the Oracle University Learning Program. For more information on that, visit www.oracle.com/education/certification/index.html?dba9i_ocpcoursereq.html.
The Master-level DBA certificatio