The Road from Oracle8i to Oracle9i Certification

There are many options for study material when wanting to
upgrade your Oracle8i certification to Oracle9i. Come along with me and explore
what I used and how I did.

If you are an Oracle8i OCP DBA, you should know by now that
you need only pass the upgrade exam to become Oracle9i certified. There are numerous
study materials to choose from; however, I used only two criteria to make my
selections. Firstly, I personally chose based on the most cost effective method,
coupled with quality, to determine what it was I truly needed. Secondly, I
chose those materials that I could get the most bang out in for the least
amount of time. Each of the material and resources used in my quest for
certification had been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. They had never
been opened or looked at. I had been using Oracle9i for some time but would not
say that I have used all the new features. So, let’s take a look at the
resources and the time it took me to become certified.

Resources

Self Study CD-ROM

Title

Oracle9i New Features:

Backup, Recovery, and Performance
Tuning Enhancements

Format

CD-ROM

Cost

US$600

Time

Suggested 5 Hours

Recommendation

Pass, way too much money

I have used these computer based training materials before
and all in all, they are very good in the content that give, the order of
presentation and thoroughness of the subject matter. The questions for review
are also usually very good and test the skills that you were supposed to have
learned. The problem that I have with this method of training is that it seems
to take forever to get through the material and I end up day dreaming a lot. In
addition, they tend to introduce the topic too much and I get very frustrated
with having to click through the intros just to get to the real content. The
time that they suggest it will take you is about 5 hours. While I did not use
this CBT for this training go round, I did use the Oracle8i CBTs and felt they
underestimated the time they were supposed to take. I would give myself a good 2
or 3 times the suggested time especially if you are not familiar with any of
the new features of Oracle9i.



Books

Title

Oracle 9i New Features

Format

Book

Author

Robert Freeman

ISBN

0072223855

Pages

244

Copyright

2002

Cost

US$29.99

Time I took

2 Days

Recommendation

If you have a little extra cash, it
is a good read.

This was the first book to come off the shelf. The number of
pages is not overwhelming so I personally set out to complete this book in two
sittings. I read straight through this book with very little testing and
validation of the subject matter. I really only wanted to get a quick read on
the new features and since I had other material that had examples and testing
questions on the subject matter I got through this book in my allotted 2 days.
These two days consisted of typically a few reading time slices and totaled
around 12 hours for the full book. I felt that this book gave me a very good,
quick insight into the new features but it did not really drill into my brain
the subject matter. To test my own theory of this, I decided to take one of the
quick tests that I had in my self-test software. The outcome was pretty much
what I expected, 54%. Well, what can you expect with just reading a book and
not applying any of it? I will say one thing about this book. Even though I did
not score high on the first practice test, I did feel that I got a grasp of the
types of new features that Oracle has. I just didn’t get a good grasp of all
the intricacies or the features and the optional settings that should have
boosted my score up.

Title

OCP Oracle9i Database :

New
Features for Administrators Exam Guide

Format

Book

Author

Daniel Benjamin

ISBN

0072195304

Pages

432

Copyright

2002

Cost

US$49.99

Time I took

5 Days

Recommendation

A must for content, examples and
practice exams

After not quite scoring a passing grade on my first practice
test, I decided to put a bit more effort into my studying. To do this, I
grabbed this next book off my shelf. This book was quite different than the
first new features book I read. It was much more inclusive of the options with
many examples to work through with questions and summaries at the end of the
chapters. I really felt that this book drilled in the subject matter for most
topics. Do not brush off the first new features book that I read, remember it
only had 244 pages and this has nearly 200 more! Although I will say the print
is a bit bigger and there is more white space around examples that push this
book to its size. I allotted myself one week to go through this book. I
typically studied in between projects at work and a few hours a night at home, plus
dedicated two full days to nothing else. If I had to put hours around the time
I spent it would have to around 50 hours or so. In addition to just reading
through the chapters and actually answering the questions at the end of the
chapters, this book also has three practice exams at the end of the book. I
decided to take these and ended up getting within the mid 70’s for each of the
exams. This made me feel the time spent was well worth the 20% increase in my
score. This book also claims to cover 100% of the official exam. I sure hope
so. As a final note, I do not think this book will stay on the shelf after I
have taken the exam, it has a lot of great information, and its commentary on
Oracle9i and past versions of Oracle are invaluable.

Self Test Software

Title

1Z0-030 – Oracle9i:

New Features for Administrators

Format

Software

Author

Self Test Software

Cost

US$99.00 with discounts up to 40%

Time I took

2 Days

Recommendation

Only if you need extra practice
exams to validate you really, really know the content

This software has come a long way from when I used it for my
Oracle8i certification. There has always been the in depth and enormous amounts
of questions that you can study. Now they have added flash cards and an online
mentor / chat system where you can actually ask someone questions on those
topics of which you are still unsure. They have also added a great print
function to the current version of this software so that you can actually print
out every question and answer to study off-line. You also have the option of
printing the concept or explanation of the answer to help you in your studies.
The way to use this self-test software is continually taking the practice exams
until you don’t get any of the questions wrong. While I would suggest that you
research why you get something wrong if you do not understand the topic, I do
know of DBAs that have just memorized all of the questions and answers and have
passed the test.

Web

You should also know that Oracle has a full blown-out web
site dedicated for education and certification. You should visit this site
every now and then to determine if you are on the proper track and nothing has
changed in the methods to becoming certified. If you are like me at all, you
may purchase your study material months in advance, fully intending to study
but never getting around to it. This information is invaluable when validating
you certification path. Just go to http://www.oracle.com/education
and click on the ‘Get Certified’ link for information on:

Need More

There may be those of you out there that may need more than what
I had at my fingertips. There are many companies and a few websites that cater
to teaching and prepping you for certification. I personally just like to stick
what works for me and won’t cost me an arm and a leg in time and money. Yes, I
still like having a book in hand so it can lull me to sleep at night but after
using some of the CBTs available, I might just make the switch next time to CBT
/ website training for that next certification level. Well I’m ready, are you?

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James Koopmann

James Koopmann
James Koopmann
James Koopmann has fourteen years of database design, development and performance tuning experience. In addition, he has extensive database administration experience in Oracle and other relational databases in production environments, specializing in performance tuning of database engines and SQL based applications. Koopmann is an accomplished author with several technical papers in various Oracle related publications such as Oracle Magazine, Oracle Professional and SQL>UPDATE_RMOUG. He is a featured author and database expert for DatabaseJournal, a member of the editorial review committee for Select Journal (The Magazine for the International Oracle Users Group), an Oracle Certified Professional DBA and noted speaker at local Oracle User Groups around the country.

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