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What Do Oracle’s Changed Certification Guidelines Mean?

Patrick Gates | | January 7, 2016

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Oracle recently instituted new database administrator certification guidelines.

What does this mean for you?

In a nutshell, if you are certified on an older product, especially those no longer supported by Oracle, you may no longer have a valid certification.

A new policy instituted by the company requires database administrators to upgrade their certifications despite prior guidance asserting “certification is permanent.” Oracle contends the change is designed to retain “the integrity of our certification program and the value of your certification.”

Database versions 7.3 through 10g are involved in this announcement. Any DBA certified on those versions must recertify on a newer version of the database by March 2016 in order to keep an active credential. The company recommends certification to version 11g or later.

An anonymous Oracle DBA contacted Chris Kanaracus, writing for The IDG News Service, in support of the move, saying:

It was never a good idea that certifications were permanent. … Changes in features and architecture, for example 12c multi-tenant, should render previous certifications null and void. Will it ruffle some feathers? Yeah probably. Should it? No. In my opinion certifications should apply to a single release and nothing more.

Oracle states:

If you hold an Oracle Certified Database Administrator Associate, Professional, Expert and/or Master credential on a RETIRED version, you are required to earn a credential on a CURRENT (non-retired) version of Oracle Database to remain in ACTIVE status.

The company adds:

All candidates that hold Oracle Database credential in ACTIVE status will have all their credentials remain in ACTIVE status, even if the credentials are retired.

If your Oracle Database Certification credential is “retired,” you have 12 months to upgrade your credential to one for a current product for your Oracle Database credential to be considered as “active.” Those with Oracle Database 10g certification credentials need to upgrade to Oracle Database 11g or 12c before March 1, 2016 to remain active.

Oracle adds that those with multiple credentials may maintain all of those database credential types—Associate, Professional, Expert and Master—as active through earning a single Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), or Oracle Certified Master (OCM) credential in a current database. Those with the Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) credential must upgrade to a current version of the expert credential.

Credentials are a means for professionals, especially job-seeking database administrators, to differentiate themselves. The market for database administrators is expected to increase 15 percent by 2022, according to Southern New Hampshire University, ensuring that “certification holders will be in great demand.”

In its survey of 2016 hiring trends, Computerworld found that 25 percent of those polled who stated they have hiring plans will be seeking people with database administration skills within the next 12 months as more organizations are interested in big data initiatives, business intelligence, and analytics. Mary K. Pratt explained:

Recruiters say employers want people with extensive backgrounds in database administration and a deep understanding of data reporting tools and technologies such as Oracle, SQL, DB2 and Hadoop.

Robert Half Technology lists “database administrator” as one of the most in-demand specialties in its 2016 Salary Guide, noting specialized skills can increase a candidate’s base compensation by 5 to 10 percent. The firm states Oracle certifications are typically “valuable” for job seekers.

Kanaracus adds it remains to be seen if Oracle mandates recertification across all its products. Some of the Java certifications are being retired for example.

More information about these changes, including a list of inactive certifications, please visit the Oracle University website.

If you have more questions than this article answers, contact Datavail. We have experts with the latest certifications ready to help you. We also have resources, including a webinar with Chuck Ezell on the value of conducting Oracle Health Checks, available.

Datavail can work with you and your organization to effectively support your Oracle environment for your benefit and that of your clients and customers. To learn more about our remote database services and how our experts can help with your ongoing Oracle operations, please contact Datavail to discuss a custom solution designed for your enterprise.

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