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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

15 thoughts on “Oracle Database SQL Expert (1Z0-047)…”

  1. I think you touch a point that I have with the Oracle (and other IT related) exams: it’s a memory game for the most part. Passing the test means you’ve memorized the rights parts. It doesn’t say anything about being able to use the stuff you’ve learned in real life. As you say: if I want to implement partitioning, I get the syntax of the statement out of the documentation. Also, I get to the documentation to learn all the possibilities about composite partitioning.

  2. Pierre:

    Thanks for that. I searched for them when I got back from the exam and only found them under the title of “Comparison Operators” in older versions of the PL/SQL documentation. They are not mentioned by that name in the 11gR2 docs. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I looked through the SQL docs and didn’t notice them. Obviously didn’t look hard enough. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a pain the butt having several terms for the same thing. You can image the difficulty in searching the docs for “ALL” or “ANY”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll correct the post.

    Cheers

    Tim…

  3. “So I am now an โ€œOracle Database: SQL Certified Expertโ€ as well as a grumpy old shite”

    Hey, I resemble part of that remark!
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hi Tim,

    >> shite?

    I had to look that one up in my Funk & Wagnall . . .

    **************************
    >> So I am now an โ€œOracle Database: SQL Certified Expertโ€

    Do you think that it;s right for to be certified as experts without any experience?

  5. Hi.

    Fortunately I’ve been doing SQL for over 15 years, so that doesn’t apply to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lots of University professors are top of their game without ever working in industry. Do they not qualify for “Expert” status?

    I don’t think this exam really indicates you are an expert, but there are lots of experienced SQL programmers that would fail it. Not sure what that means… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers

    Tim…

  6. I came across this site and hope I can get dialog, not dog S**t -lol. I’m actually a BA with no SQL or Oracle experience but a client needs these skill for an application their looking to develop. Should I look into a cert or somewhere else to get up to speed on what these two industry buzz words do?

  7. Damien:

    Sure you can use certification to learn about Oracle and SQL, but I guess the first question should be how long is your client willing to wait for you to “get up to speed”?

    I’m not suggesting that databases and SQL are rocket science, but you need a certain amount of experience before you can do the job well. I guess most people would want a couple of years experience (at least) before they let someone loose on a project. Cramming for an Oracle certification will give you some insight into the technology, but it will not provide you with enough variety of experience to allow you to make the correct choices in a development project. It is purely skill set and skill set without experience is extremely limiting.

    I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t try to acquire these skills, I’m just saying that you are probably not the right person to help your current client on this project.

    Cheers

    Tim…

    PS. I would hardly call Oracle and SQL buzzwords. That implies they are a short term marketing hype bubble. Oracle has been making databases for over 30 years and SQL as a concept is older than that. These are very mature industry standard technologies, but buzzwords.

  8. Hello,

    I have took the exam yesterday and I got 93%. I agree with everything that you said in your post. Your post motivated me to write my own thoughts about the exam.

    Finally, I would like to thank you for this wonderful website. It helped me prepare for the exam and it keeps helping me in my daily job.

    Best regards,
    Apostolis

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