Oracle Database SQL Expert (1Z0-047)…

I can see this post degenerating into a rant, so I would like to preemptively appologize to anyone involved in the production of this exam. I’m guessing it’s a real pain to develop these exams, especially when some ass like me starts moaning about them. Added to that, I’m guessing the word “Expert” means slightly different things to different people…

I’ve been barking on recently that in my opinion, the most important skill required by any PL/SQL developer is SQL, with knowledge of PL/SQL itself coming in second place. Having recently taken the “Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL (1Z0-146)” exam (mentioned here), I thought it was a little hypocritical not to sit the “Oracle Database SQL Expert (1Z0-047)” exam as well, so this morning I did just that.

Here are some of my thoughts on the exam, in no particular order of importance:

  • Regular Expressions: I think it is important that people understand what regular expressions can do and when it is appropriate to use them, but I don’t think it is necessary to test people on the meta-characters themselves. That’s what the docs are for.
  • Analytic Functions: No sign of them in my questions from the pool. Surely analytic functions are more important than regular expression meta-characters.
  • The majority of the exhibits were pointless. It seems like they were placed there to waste the time of people with bad exam technique, rather than to assist in answering the question. This was especially true of the schema diagrams, which I only referred to once when the datatype of one of the columns was important.
  • Several of the questions could be answered without reading the question at all, as the incorrect answers jumped out at you because they contained blatantly incorrect statements.
  • Several of the questions included the “ANY” and “ALL” comparison conditions, which are barely mentioned in the documentation (here)*. I guess these are only included in Oracle because the are part of ANSI SQL. I can’t remember ever using them in Oracle or seeing them being used by others. I have come across them in MySQL so I knew what they were for, which was fortunate.
  • There were lots of questions that included DML against inline views rather than directly against tables. It got to the point where I felt like, “If it’s got braces in it I’m going to tick it”.

I very quickly turned into a grumpy old man and started to rush through the exam, spending most of my time thinking about writing this blog post, rather than the exam itself. :)

In the end I got 96%, which I guess means I got 3 questions wrong out of the 70. Serves me right for rushing it so I could come home and bitch about it. :)

So I am now an “Oracle Database: SQL Certified Expert” as well as a grumpy old shite…

Cheers

Tim…

* Updated thanks to Pierre’s comment.