Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) : I’m in a promotional video!

I received a Facebook comment from Václav Kozák to say I was in a promotional video for the Oracle Education’s OCP Program, rockin’ an oraclenerd t-shirt I might add… :)

That was a 2 second soundbite from a 10+ minute interview I filmed with Oracle a couple of years ago. I am a fan of the OCP program, but my opinions are not necessarily in line with Oracle Education’s marketing message. Even so, I am happy I was included in the video, even if it was a small soundbite. :)

If you want to know more about my opinion of OCP, you might want to read this article.

Cheers

Tim…

Free Beta Exam Vouchers : The Winners

Just before I left for OpenWorld I started a competition to win 5 vouchers for an OCP beta exam, kindly donated by Oracle Certification. I’ve just got back, so it’s time to announce the winners.

(1) In first place comes Steve Karam, with not one, not two, but three entries, including one to the tune of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I met Steve at OOW2013 and he kindly offered to forgo the prize if I felt someone else was more deserving, but he was head and shoulders above the rest, so he simply must get a prize!

(2) Next up is Luís Marques with strong entry using rhyming couplets. I think that is what they are called anyway. :)

(3) Osama Mustafa comes in a solid third.

(4) Daniele Pasian snagged fourth place by cleverly mentioning he is trying to convert from the dark side (SQL Server) to Oracle. If nothing else you’ve got the sympathy vote right there. :)

The poetry stopped at fourth place, so I switched judging criteria and reverted to first-come-first-served…

(5) For being the first entrant in the competition, the fifth prize goes to Kristy Noms Silva.

If you check your mail boxes you should find your voucher codes there. If you think you won’t get to use them, let me know and I will pass them on to one of the other entrants.

Well done to all the entrants and thank you to Oracle Certification for providing the prizes.

Cheers

Tim…

PS. If you want another chance to win, a similar competition is being run for the same exam vouchers here.

Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (1Z1-062) beta exam : Free Voucher Competition

I’ve just been sent 5 free vouchers for the Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (1Z1-062) beta exam! Here is an excerpt from the email…

“We are piloting this program with the Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (1Z1-062) beta exam. … we have provided five (5) vouchers for free beta exams. You can use them for a giveaway on your blog if you like. Simply send the voucher number to the winner. They will enter this voucher in the appropriate field during exam registration at Pearson VUE. This beta exam is scheduled to end on October 19, 2013.”

I’m about to leave for OpenWorld 2013, so this is going to be brief. Here are the rules of the competition…

  1. The beta exam closes on the 19th October, so unless you think you can be ready to sit the exam by then, don’t bother entering. You’ll just be wasting a spot someone else could take.
  2. The voucher is only redeemable for the 1Z1-062 beta exam. You can’t use it for any other exam! You can’t wait and use it for the production exam! It’s just for this beta exam so you have to get your ass into gear!
  3. The competition will close on Saturday 28th September. I’ll announce the winners when I get back from OOW2013.
  4. You need to tell me why you need the free voucher in the comments below this blog post. Facebook and Google+ comments will not be included in the competition!
  5. Extra credit will be given for funny and/or rhyming entries. Even the slightest effort to rhyme will rocket you up the ratings, because it will make the judging more fun! You have a week, so try and be creative!
  6. I’ll be sending the voucher codes via email and confirming the email address and winning names with Oracle, so you must include a real email address and name when posting the comment.
  7. I may seek the help of friends and colleagues to help me judge the winners. I guess it depends on how many entries there are and how hard it is to judge. :)
  8. It’s late, I’m tired and I should be packing for OOW, so if I’ve forgotten anything, I reserve the right to modify this post a little, so keep an eye on it over the week…

Good luck!

Cheers

Tim…

QUICK LINKS

 

Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) Database 12c…

I just noticed the Database 12c OCP beta exams have started to appear (see here).

Not surprisingly, the multitenant option seems to be a big factor in the content of the both the Advanced Administration and Upgrade exam.

There are a few things that seem a little odd (to me) though:

  • Use Oracle Restart to manage components. Isn’t this a deprecated feature in 12c?
  • Configure and use Oracle Secure Backup. Do they mean Oracle Secure Backup Express?
  • Use Flash Cache.
  • Key DBA Skills (Upgrade Exam only). This whole section looks out of place to me for an upgrade exam.

Ignoring the “Key DBA Skills”, the upgrade exam contains about 49 bullet points, which means the production exam will on average have about 1.5 questions per bullet. The “Key DBA Skills” adds another 34 bullets, so now we are talking less than 1 question per bullet in the production exam…

There is enough new stuff to keep me writing articles for quite a while before I get in a position to sit this exam. I don’t think I’m going to be anywhere near ready before the end of the beta period, which is a pity. I think the only people who are likely to make the beta exam are those people who were on the database beta program, or people who are trying to wing it. Since I fit into neither of those categories, it looks like I’m waiting for the production exam…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I wrote an Oracle Certification Frequently Asked Questions article a little while back.

A History of (my) Certifications…

I was chatting with the lady doing OCP Lounge registrations at OOW11. During this chat I mentioned I hadn’t received a certificate for the SQL Expert certification. It never crossed my mind to re-request it, since my certifications are visible on certview.oracle.com anyway. Yesterday, a DHL man delivered the missing certificate, which prompted me to look though my certifications and scan this image.

First, check out the card on the bottom right. I was unaware the “Expert” certifications had a different colour card.

Second, notice anything funny about the 9i DBA OCP certification?

It’s hard to believe it’s over 12 years since I first completed one of these certifications… :)

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL (1Z0-146)…

Lewis Cunningham recently mentioned on twitter that he had taken this exam and it reminded me I had been meaning to take it ever since it was announced in beta, but never actually got round to it. A quick search of my blog revealed it’s nearly 2 years since I mentioned I wanted to sit this exam (here).

So yesterday I sat and passed the exam and here are some thoughts on it (without mentioning specifics about the questions)…

This is the first time I’ve sat an OCP exam done by Pearson VUE and I was pleasantly surprised. The test interface is a little cleaner and more modern looking that previous exams I’ve taken. There was one minor glitch in that every time there were two exhibits they were shown in the wrong order, such that when the question asked you to look at Exhibit 1, the content it was referring to was in Exhibit 2 and vice versa. For most questions this was obvious, but there was one that if you followed the instructions to the letter would have made the question impossible to answer correctly. Of course, if you had seen the glitch on the other questions it wasn’t a leap to assume the same problem was present on this question also.

The SQL and PL/SQL exams use lots of exhibits and some can be quite big. In a number of cases the questions can be answered without referral to the exhibits if you know your stuff because the incorrect answers reference “facts” about PL/SQL that are blatantly not true. Even when you do have to refer to the exhibits, I would suggest you treat it like you are debugging code and read the question and possible answers before reading the exhibit. Why? You don’t start debugging code before you know what the errors are. In the same way, if you know the possible answers you can ignore the majority of code in the exhibit and focus on the area of interest. Reading the whole exhibit would take ages, so be efficient about it. Ignore the fact the question tells you to look at the exhibits first and you will answer the questions much faster.

The exam is very much 11.1 focussed, so there are a few questions where the “correct” answer is somewhat dubious if you have been using 11.2 for a while. Keep in mind the 11.1 state of play and don’t try and be too clever. That said, for the most part the 11.1/11.2 issue is irrelevant.

The context of a question is a very important thing and one that I think the OCP questions sometimes lack. As an example, one question asks you which of the 4 answers can be produced by a specific built in package. The correct answer as far as I’m concerned is all four, but it is rare that questions need all answers to be checked, so this is where you need to put on your PL/SQL hat. As a direct call from PL/SQL only two answers are correct, but if you call the API via a query all four answers are possible. So you have to make a judgement call as to what context the examiners are using. I figured, as it’s a PL/SQL exam, I should ignore SQL and that turned out to be the correct move.

There were only two questions that I didn’t know the complete answer to directly, but in both cases, using a process of elimination I was pretty confident I had a reasonable shot at the correct answer. Even if you don’t know every fact relating to a subject you can usually elimitate some of the answers, which will up your odds. Don’t panic.

The exam is scheduled for 90 mins and I was done in a little over 30 mins. The examiner gave me a bit of a look when I came out that early, and another when he saw my 100% score. I just smiled and told him I’d been doing PL/SQL for 16 years and had been teaching the contents of this exam for over 2 years. It would have been a little tragic if I hadn’t come close to 100% really…

So I guess in the next few days I’ll recieve my “Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional” bumf. I quite fancy doing something else now. I obviously spent too many years in education and I need an exam fix every so often. :)

Cheers

Tim…

OCA PL/SQL Developer and stuff…

Today has been a bit of a rare day…

I hurt my back last night at Karate. I managed to get in on a cancellation at my osteopath, so off I went this morning to get everything straightened out.

I left the osteopath just in time to get to the Prometric test center down the road to sit the “Program with PL/SQL (1Z0-147)” exam, which I passed. The exam was pretty easy, but then I have been doing this stuff for 14 years. I sat the “Introduction to Oracle: SQL and PL/SQL (1Z0-001)” as part of my Oracle 7.3 OCP, so I guess I’m now an “Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate”.

The reason for doing this is I quite fancy doing the “Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL” exam, currently in beta, to get the “Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional”. The OCA PL/SQL Developer is a prerequesite. I’ve been teaching most of the content of the “Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL” this year so it shouldn’t be a problem. I just don’t know if I’ll have time before I hit the road, and the beta period will be over by the time I get back…

What made the whole day a bit more problematic, was I had a Diabetes clinic appointment today and I wasn’t allowed to eat before it, so I was really hungry. My appointment was at 15:30 and I hadn’t eaten since about 17:00 the previous day. Back pain and hunger aren’t the normal things you expect to deal with during an exam. Never mind, it’s sorted now… :)

By the way, I might be doing a couple of talks at the Swedish Oracle User Group in December (10th-11th). Nothing definite at the moment. I’ve been invited, but it’s all in the ether. The world tour continues… :)

Cheers

Tim…

Oracle Certified Profesional (OCP) Database 11g…

I passed the Oracle Database 11g: New Features for Administrators (1Z0-050) exam today. It’s a bit of a relief because I feel like I’ve been preparing for this exam for a year. My first OCP revision article was written about 1 year ago, when I was hoping to be ready for the beta exam. Unfortunately, all the presentations and teaching I’ve been doing this year proved to be a bigger distraction than I’d hoped, which meant I missed the deadline for the beta exam, and overshot the start of the production exam by about 6 months. :)

Well, now the exam is over it presents me with some new issues.

1) There are some gaps in my revision notes that need filling. I did a lot of reading during the preparation, and pulled out the areas and facts I thought were most important. Based on the events of today, this didn’t necessarily match up with the contents of the exam. It didn’t affect me, as I had done the additional reading, but as it stands I think it’s touch-and-go whether my revision notes alone will get someone through the exam. This means I’m going to have to go through and revise a few of the articles to fill the gaps.

2) There are a couple of OCP revision articles I’ve not published yet. I got a little impatient and sat the exam before I had finished prettying them. They will follow shortly, conferences permitting.

Like all the OCP exams, this is just the first steps towards learning this release…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I suppose it’s a little premature to call myself an OCP 11g. I guess that’s not official until Oracle send through the certificate. :)

PPS. Before anyone asks, I used the Oracle manuals to prepare for the exam, so I can’t give certification guide suggestions…

Flights, OpenWorld, VMware and stuff…

I realize I’ve been a little quiet of late, but life has been really busy and something had to give…

Flights for my conference dates are now sorted. Big thanks to Victoria, LaShon and Sylia. I better get on the case and book my hotels. The plan is:

Birmingham > Frankfurt > San Francisco > Auckland > Perth > Sydney > Gold Coast > Auckland > LAX > Frankfurt > Home

Just looking at it is giving me the fear. That’s some serious air time. I’m way to fat to fly coach at the moment. I better lose some weight and get some anti-DVT support socks… :)

I’ve still got to sort out my talks for the conferences. It’s all stuff I’ve been teaching recently, so the material isn’t the problem. The hard thing is trying to compress something that takes me 3.5 hours to teach into 45 minutes without sounding like a list of bullet points.

Recently, I’ve been doing some work with VMware ESX Server. I may have something coming out on the VMware VIOPS site soon. I’ll post again if that works out. By the way, big thanks to the VMware guys (Steve, Tushar and Chris) for hooking me up with the software. I’ve been wanting to play with this stuff for a long time. I was going to start using the free ESXi stuff, but I’ve now got the pukka gear… :)

The OCP stuff has hit the back burner for the moment. I was aiming to take the exam this week, but that’s not going to happen now. I’ve got pretty much all of the notes sorted, but I’ve not had time to learn them. Maybe I’ll get time before OpenWorld, or even at OpenWorld…

Cheers

Tim…