How do I become an Oracle Database Administrator? This is one of the questions I’m asked the most by my students, YouTube Subscribers, or just people in the IT field. This question is really never simple to answer. This question is a bit difficult to answer because there is no set path to become an Oracle Database Administrator. Most people, like myself, sort of just fell into the field. But as of recently, this career is beginning to become more of a demand with all companies, and it’s really growing in popularity as far as one of the best jobs that people can have.
Just to show you all that there is no set way to get into this field, I would like to share my story to give you an idea. Then I will share what we all had in common after we decided this was what we wanted to do.
How I became an Oracle Database Administrator
I graduated from Albany State University in Albany Ga in 2009 with a Psychology Degree. I worked at Wal-Mart for a few months until I could get a job working in my career field. I began working at a prison as a counselor for about a year and a half. I loved my job as a counselor but it just wasn’t fulfilling.
Let me back track for a second, if you don’t mind. When I was in college, I had a friend named Ashley McKnight, he knew how to build computers. When he told me this, I told him, “Dude stop lying, you are not Bill Gates, people just don’t build computers!” He wanted to prove me wrong, so he asked me to meet him at his house on our off day. I went to his house and saw a computer he built. I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything he knew. It was here I fell in love with computers and the IT field and everything related. By the time I realized there was a thing such as IT Degrees, I was getting ready to graduate from college.
So getting back to the story, being a counselor and helping the inmates was awesome but I just wasn’t feeling it. One day at work, I did a google search for IT companies in Atlanta Ga. I literally went down the list and called every company on the first page. The first few did not want to talk to me or told me they couldn’t help me. One company hung on me. I called this company, New Horizon Training Company and finally got someone to talk with me.
I spoke with Mr. Peebles. I asked him, “How do I get into the IT field?” He asked what experienced I had. I told him none but I knew how to build computers and I told him what all I was good at. He advised me to get my A+ Certification, Network + Certification, and Security + Certification. He told me when I did that to give him a call back. I studied for a few months and was able to get all three certifications. I called him back in a few months and he was blown away I had gotten those certifications as fast as I did and he immediately began helping me get a job.
2 weeks later I had an entry level helpdesk job in Atlanta Ga. This was great, but I wanted more, so I began job searching. I posted my resume on every job site that I could think of, including Craigslist. No one called me from the major job posting site, but someone called me from Craigslist in Jan 2012.
When I received the call, this guy told me that he had a business that he was starting and needed technical people to work for him. So peep this, he told me, he could not pay me but he could train me to be an Oracle Database Administrator. I didn’t know what an Oracle Database Administrator was, so I told him, “yeah, life doesn’t work that way. I can’t come work for you for free.” His next statement was, “I make over $100,000 a year and you could too if I train you.” I asked him, “Where do you want me to meet you at?” He told me to do a few google searches and to meet me at his office. I worked for him and he trained me in Oracle Database Administration for 6 months.
I received my certification in June 2012. I immediately begin applying to jobs in the US. I interviewed with lots of companies and ended up working for West Virginia University as of September 2012. That’s my bizarre story of how I became an Oracle Database Administrator. Most of the people I have talked to had a unique story of becoming a DBA.
Again there is no set way to become a DBA, but once you make the decision to become one, there are certain steps that anyone can do to make their dream a reality.
Know that you want to be an Oracle Database Administrator
A lot of people that come to me are in somewhat of a not 100% sure state I want to do Oracle Database Administration. They will be dangling 1 or 2 or multiple things. I’ve talked to people who will be studying for Oracle Database Administration but also studying for Cisco, or Linux Administration, or Security or Web Administration.
If you are in this category, take some time, do your research on both fields and decided which one you ultimately want to do. These are career moves, these are lifetime commitments. There is no way you will be able to focus on two different disciplines. Everything in Oracle requires a lot of time to focus on as far as studying, everything in Oracle can be broken down and can take months of studying, and this is just the database we are talking about. We haven’t even gotten to Applications or Middleware, or Oracle Hardware.
Oracle is software you will have to dedicate yourself to. You cannot do Oracle plus another entire discipline. If you are serious about becoming an Oracle Database Administrator, you will have to let the other discipline go, because Oracle will require the majority of your time, if you want to be a DBA.
Another question that I’m asked a lot is do you have to have a college degree to be an Oracle DBA. My answer to this question would be, the minimum you should have is an associate degree. I know 4 DBA’s that do not have a degree, but they have been DBA’s for about 10 years. They all have said, back then the demand was not high for DBA’s so they didn’t have the problem that people would run into today.
When you look on job applications, they will require a 4 year degree. This holds true for most companies or the private sector. In the public sector, such as universities, I have seen people hired with just an associate degree. I would say at least a four year degree is all the education you need. I will also say a Master’s is not required. There is no Master’s program that will train you to become a Database Administration. I have noticed in recent years they are creating Database Administration Degrees. I can’t comment on the degrees because I have never taken them. But I did meet someone from my YouTube Channel who had a Degree in Database Administration, but it was suspect to me because she could not install a database and needed my help to do that. My advice would be to strive for a 4 year degree because most companies will want you to have that under your belt.
Studying and Certifications
There are three fundamental courses you should study to become an Oracle DBA. Those courses are Linux, Oracle SQL, and Oracle Database Administration I. If a training program does not consist of those 3 things, its not a good training course. Oracle has certifications for Database Administrators and the certification I recommend starting with is the Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) for Database Administrators. This is a rigorous certification process. This certification is broken up into two exams.
1. Oracle SQL Fundamentals
This exam covers Oracle SQL. Oracle SQL is the language used to communicate with Oracle Database. Exams topics teaches you things, such as retrieving information from the database, sorting information retrieved from the database, and ordering information retrieved from the database.
2. Oracle Database Administration
This exam covers Database Administration. Database Administration is managing database software. Database Administration tasks includes: database backups, installing a database, securing databases, setting up database networking, upgrading databases, and patching databases.
Again this is where a newcomer should start. Studying for this certification should take up until 6 months to a year. My honest opinion is, if it takes you longer than a year to get this certification, you may not be serious about becoming a database administrator.
Train while Looking for a Job
Once you have your certification, now it’s time to look for a job. This process can be extremely discouraging because of the high demand for this job field and the requirements companies are looking for. My advice I give everyone is don’t give up and to train while interviewing.
Know going into the interview stage that you will probably be in this stage for a while. The key here is to keep pressing and don’t give up. Your certification will get you an interview but its your knowledge that will get you a job. Most new comers give up here and come up with a Plan B, forget a Plan B, if you want to become a database administrator, do everything in your power to become one. That’s what separated me from most. I knew I wanted this field, and I did what I had to do to become a DBA. I didn’t let people who said no deter me. You have to develop that mindset because you will be in the interview stage for quite some time.
No one an prepare you for what an interview may ask, you have to KNOW database administration. I stress this point because there are so many training companies that are not properly training database administrators. The only way to get a job is to know what you are doing and to be able to show that you know what you care doing. As far as interviews, memorize the questions asked during the interview, especially the questions you could not answer. After the interview go learn more about what you did not know. It worked for me. Studying should a part of your daily routine. The more knowledge you gain, the chances of landing a job in this field are much better for you.
This is the process of becoming an Oracle Database Administrator. If you all have any questions, feel free to post them within the forums. If you are interested in training check out our training Packages:
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Happy Studies and God Bless