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Oracle 10g DBA: How I became an Oracle 10g DBA

In the first article in this series (Oracle 10g DBA: Day in the life of an Oracle DBA) I tried to paint a picture of what an Oracle DBA might experience. In this part I want to explain the steps I took and a general timeframe to possibly inspire other technical professionals to become Oracle DBAs. I for one find it very worthwhile and I enjoy going to work everyday. I started my technical career while still in college as a technical support rep. I then moved over to programming for a few years. I didn't always make the best programmer because I ALWAYS put function before form. I became interested in the idea of being a DBA as I worked around some of them. I liked the level at which they got involved in projects. They didn't care if the user wanted a green icon on the screen which they could mouse over for info. DBAs care about entities, relationships and elements. A good DBA can ask a couple dozen business questions in a relatively short time and have the relationships and entities necessary for creating a solid Oracle database. The programmer can usually provide the elements needed. I like being an Oracle DBA because of this. So after being a programmer for a few years I moved on to being an Information Analyst. My primary role here was creating solid data models and assisting user's with OLAP reporting.

Data Modeling
I actually took some formal Oracle data modeling courses during my transition from programmer to Information Analyst. This helped ground me in some solid data modeling principles.

Expressing Interest
While being an Information Analyst I expressed to my boss that I was very interested in becoming an Oracle DBA. My boss was supportive and believed in building her employees so she allowed me to explore a bit into the land of DBA.

After building my first Oracle 8 database to support the Information Warehouse I migrated our first system into the Oracle database. After being a DBA for about a year I decided set a goal to be certified as an Oracle Certified Professional (OCP). Back when I earned my OCP certification it was 5 tests in total. I failed at my first test because I underestimated the types of questions they would ask. I passed my that test on the second attempt and everyone there after on the first attempt. What worked best for me and for another person I know was buying the Computer Based Training (CBT) disks directly from Oracle. Oracle is not paying me to say this. They just work VERY well. To sum it up I passed the first test by reading the Oracle Press book and the last 4 tests via the Oracle CBT disks. They aren't cheap, but I found it very worthwhile. I've got my investment back many times over by being promoted to a Senior Database Administrator. Since then I've even been promoted to a team lead.

Helping the community
One of the more interesting findings while being an Oracle 10g DBA was when I found & reported bug to Oracle in the Oracle Application Server product. At the time I only used Application Server to serve up reports. You can read about the Oracle Application Server security report on eweek.

This covers part two in my series on life as an Oracle 10g DBA. Perhaps after reading some of my experiences and others you may decide to move into the DBA realm. You can read the first part titled Life in the day of an Oracle 10g DBA.


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