Friday, August 24, 2007


People often ask me whether the Oracle Certifications are a worthy endeaver. I think it really depends on why you want one. They are sometimes helpful if you are looking for a job since some recruiters and employers require them. That mentality weeds out a lot of talented Oracle experts. My certifications have been current since Oracle 8 and I don't think it was ever a factor in getting employed. Personally I like an "Oracle quantified" goal and I use it as another excuse to read the Concepts and New Features guides when Oracle has a new release. I feel like I'm staying current and I always learn something about an old release that I didn't previously know. So, yes. I think they are worthy.

However, I don't think they are worth a grain of salt when it comes to sizing someone up. The other day I was interviewing a candidate who had a 9i certification. I usually reframe my questions if they do have a certification since they tend to have an idea what an Oracle instance is. This guy did not. He had eight years of Oracle experience and somewhere in the interview he said that a controlfile was needed to start an instance. I let it slide since I was trying to get something else out of him, but quickly pointed out that they were only needed to mount the database. He then went into a huge defense of how they were and then drew a line in the sand. I like this sort of a conviction in an interview. Unfortunately he was just wrong.

I booted up my laptop. Showed him what services I was currently running and then created a file called C:\TEMP\andy.pfile with one line:


I then set my ORACLE_SID to be ANDY and ran oradim:

oradim -new -sid andy -pfile C:\temp\andy.pfile

Logged into sqlplus as sys:

sqlplus / as sysdba

SQL> startup nomount pfile=C:\temp\andy.pfile
"ORACLE instance started."

SQL> select status from v$instance;

SQL>select name from v$controlfile;
no rows selected

SQL>show parameter control_files
------------------------- ---------- -------------------------------------------
control_files string C:\ORACLE\ORA10G\DATABASE\CTL1 ANDY.ORA

SQL>host dir C:\ORACLE\ORA10G\DATABASE\CTL1ANDY.ORA Volume in drive C has no label. Volume Serial Number is 3445-7DFD
File Not Found

Certifications aren't everything.

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