I got asked about this a few times at OpenWorld 2018, so I figured it was about time to visit this subject… Again…
I’m not saying becoming an ACE should be your motivation for contributing to the community, but it is for some people, and who am I to judge. 🙂
Remember, this is just my opinion! Someone from the ACE program might jump in and tell me I’m wrong. 🙂
What do I have to do to become an ACE?
It’s explained here, and if you follow the links. In the past it used to be a bit more “fluid”, but there are still a lot of different types of things that can count towards your “community contributions” with various weightings, but most of the points come from technical content creation and presenting.
If you follow the links provided you can fill in the score card and see if what you currently do adds up to a “reasonable” number of points. I’m not sure if they tell you how many point you need up front, and I’m not going to talk about specifics, but you may be unpleasantly surprised by how few points some contributions get.
Does Oracle User Group work count?
The program was born out of online content. The old timers reading this will remember a time when any user group work, like being on the board, organising conferences and conference volunteering counted for zero. It was not considered as part of your contribution where the ACE program was concerned. Later on it was given a little credit. Now, if you do everything possible with regards to a user group, you can get about half way to qualifying for the ACE program without producing any content. That still means you have to pick up about half of the points from presenting and producing technical content. User group work alone will not get you there.
There are a lot of people who do loads of work for their local user groups. In addition, some write lots of blog posts to promote events. Some are super active on social media to promote events. No matter how much of that you do, from what I can see you qualify for *about* half the points needed to become an ACE. Assuming my calculations are correct, that’s really important, because there are probably some people that think they should be an ACE, and believe they more than qualify, but in fact don’t. You can question the *current judging criteria*, but as it stands, that’s the way it is.
I happen to think this is correct because it’s relatively easy to reach a very wide audience with technical content. In comparison most user groups have a very limited audience. They both have value, but from a “product evangelism” perspective, I think the focus on reach makes sense. Once again, just my opinion. 🙂
Does Twitter (and other social media) count?
No, not really. Technically it does, as you can get 5 points for being super-on-message with your tweets all year. I don’t even attempt to count and submit tweets, because what’s the point? I can get the same amount of points for one technical post. 🙂
If you are using social media to push out your own original content, that’s great. You will get credit for your original content, not the social media posts linking to it. If you are just being “active” on social media, or tweeting out other people’s content, you are not doing something that will earn a lot of points. You are providing a service by introducing people to content they might otherwise have missed, but you will not get a lot of points for it, which means you will not qualify for the ACE program.
Going back to the previous point, it’s mostly about creating original technical content, not curating other people’s content. Some people will feel like they are super active and will feel hard done by if they are not included in the program, but on the *current judging criteria* they should not be included.
What should I spend my time on then?
In my opinion, your time would be best spent on the creation of original technical content.
- Technical blog posts and articles. Notice the word technical. Blogging random crap doesn’t count, which is why most of my blog posts don’t go on to my score card. 🙂
- Presenting at conferences and meetups.
- Videos, webinars and podcasts, but the rules for inclusion mean if you do the 2-3 minute technical videos on YouTube, like I used to, they are not going to count, unless you batch them together into playlists and submit as a single video.
- Technical books. They get a lot of points, but take a crazy amount of time.
As mentioned, you will get points for other things too, but they are either inefficient, or will not get you “all the way”. 🙂
You get more points for content related to Oracle Cloud. When this was introduced the points difference between regular and Oracle Cloud content was significant and people freaked out. The difference is much smaller now and I don’t think it’s significant. You should be able to make the points easily without doing any cloud content.
But I don’t want to do that!
That’s cool. Do whatever you feel comfortable with, even if that’s nothing. Being an Oracle ACE is not a certification of greatness or a badge of approval. If you love doing this stuff, you get nominated and become an ACE that’s great. If you don’t enjoy creating technical content or presenting, it doesn’t mean you are worse than those that do. Do what you want to do!
I am awesome, but I don’t write/present much!
Remember, this is not a certification. It’s not a measure of how good you are. On countless occasions I’ve read people bleating on about how person X should be an Oracle ACE because they are great, even though they do almost nothing that qualifies for inclusion. It’s about community contribution. If you are great, but you are not out there, you shouldn’t be part of the program.
If you only write a handful of posts a year, even if they are great, you shouldn’t be part of the program because you are not meeting the criteria.
There are a specific set of criteria for entry to, and continued participation in the program. Do you live up to them? If yes, you should be part of it. If not, you shouldn’t.
That’s not to say you have to agree with the *current judging criteria*, but they exist. That is how your contribution is judged.
Don’t project onto the program what you want it to be. It is what it is.
Check out the criteria, rather than making up what you think the criteria should be. They do change over time.
Don’t listen to other people’s interpretation of what counts, even mine. 🙂
As I mentioned at the start of the post, I’ve written about the ACE program a lot over the years, and covered some of these points also. I’ve listed a few of those posts below.
PS. If I’m factually incorrect, I will gladly make corrections. Differences of opinion may be a little harder to sway me on. 🙂