I Just Got an Oracle Certification – How Can I Get Hired As a DBA?
You just passed the final test and Oracle sent your OCA certificate for the “Oracle Database 11g Administrator” track (perhaps even an OCP certificate). However, you have never actually worked as an Oracle Database Administrator. How can you use your new certification as a stepping stone to a DBA position? Unless you’re very lucky, it is not going to be easy.
As a general rule, when a company is using Oracle, it means that they are using it to run applications that are critical to their business. If the applications were not important to the company, it is likely they wouldn’t be using an enterprise-class database. They don’t want to have someone in charge of their Oracle database who is still learning the ropes. In most job postings for database administrators, there will be a requirement for several years of experience. Generally the lowest is 3-5. The mystery is how newcomers manage to get into a DBA position where they can go from zero years to three years of experience.
The first thing you should do is to learn as much about Oracle as you possibly can. Granted, you just got that brand new certificate. However, if you think that piece of paper means you know everything, or even that you know enough to get by, then your best bet is to stop reading this article now and go fill out some job applications at local fast food restaurants. Oracle’s certification tests, especially the OCA level, cover a broad range of topics to a very shallow depth. The OCP level gets a little deeper, and the OCE tests cover a narrow topic to a fair depth. None of them require (or convey) the level of knowledge that comes from working with the database five days a week for years. Continuing to read Oracle documentation, work with ‘Oracle by Example’ tutorials, and other such material will increase your depth of knowledge as you search for a position. If you get an interview, that knowledge will help you when the current DBA throws questions at you to see if you know anything about Oracle. They will. I’ve been through several of those interviews from both sides.
Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile. That profile must look professional — spell everything correctly and make sure it is grammatically correct. Get a good photo of yourself and post it. Since you don’t have the proper job experience, make sure your certifications are on there and any relevant education. Try to create a personal summary that projects an image of an earnest and eager professional. Try very hard to avoid projecting an image of a dumb and desperate newbie. There are many articles online on how to make your LinkedIn Profile better. Find one and implement the suggestions.
Join a local Oracle User’s Group. This will allow you to do some networking and meet other professionals in the area. You might make contact with a DBA that is looking for an assistant, or knows of someone else who is. If nothing else, you’ll find out what companies in the area use Oracle and might be hiring.
Start paying close attention to the online job postings in your area. Look for which companies are advertising for Oracle DBAs and what salaries they are offering. If you see one offering below the average for your area, they are probably looking for an entry-level person even if the posting doesn’t specifically state that.
A hefty percentage of IT positions are filled by recruiters for one of many companies that specialize in contract IT services. Try to get a contact at several of these firms and let them know you are looking for a position. They tend to be the first to see a lot of openings in companies. If they have your name on file and you come anywhere close to fitting an opening, they’ll contact you. These positions are sometimes short-term contracts, but they’ll let you start building the critical ‘years of experience’
Make sure that you do not sit back and do nothing. The certification is a good start, but it’s not going to have companies running to your door to hire you. Keep learning, keep looking, and keep adding new skills.
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