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Oracle Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths

Oracle Certification Guide: Overview And Career Paths
By , Kim Lindros

Oracle offers over 200 certifications in the areas of applications, cloud, database, operating systems, enterprise management, virtualization and more. This certification guide will help you get started with Oracle’s credentials and career paths.

Oracle offers a multitude of hardware and software solutions designed to simplify IT. Perhaps best known for its premier database software, the company also offers cloud solutions, servers, engineered systems, storage and more. Oracle has more than 420,000 customers in 145 countries, more than 130,000 employees and generates more than $37 billion in revenues.

Over the years, Oracle has developed an extensive certification program. Today, it includes six certification levels, spans 10 main categories and offers more than 200 individual credentials. Considering the depth and breadth of the program, and the number of Oracle customers, it's no surprise that Oracle certifications are highly sought after.

Oracle Certification Program Overview

Oracle's certification program is divided into 10 main categories:

  • Oracle Applications
  • Oracle Cloud
  • Oracle Database
  • Oracle Enterprise Management
  • Oracle Foundation
  • Oracle Industries
  • Oracle Java and Middleware
  • Oracle Operating Systems
  • Oracle Systems
  • Oracle Virtualization

Additionally, Oracle's credentials are offered at six certification levels:

  • Junior Associate
  • Associate
  • Professional
  • Master
  • Expert
  • Specialist

Most Oracle certification exams are proctored, cost $245, and contain a mix of scored and unscored multiple-choice questions. Candidates may take proctored exams at Pearson VUE, although some exams are offered at Oracle Testing Centers in certain locations. Some exams, such as Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals (1Z0-061), are also available as non-proctored and may be taken online. Non-proctored exams cost $125. Check the Oracle University Certification website for details on specific exams.

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Various Oracle Certifications

Oracle Applications Certifications

The Oracle Applications certification category offers more than 60 individual credentials, covering more than 20 products or product groups, such as E-Business Suite, Hyperion, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and PeopleSoft. The majority of these certifications are Certified Implementation Specialists for a specific application, with several Certified Expert credentials available as well. The Application certifications are geared toward individuals who have expertise in selling and implementing specific Oracle solutions.

Oracle Cloud Certifications

Oracle's newest certification category is Oracle Cloud, which covers Java Cloud as well as a number of Oracle Cloud certifications, including Oracle Database Cloud. These credentials recognize individuals who deploy applications, perform administration or deliver customer solutions in the cloud. Credentials mostly include Associate and Certification Implementation Specialists, with one Mobile Developer credential offered and a Professional-level Oracle Database Cloud Administrator.

Oracle Database Certifications

Certifications in Oracle's Database category are geared toward individuals who develop or work with Oracle databases. There are three main categories: Database Application Development, MySQL and Oracle Database.

Note: The current version of Oracle Database is 12c, which was redesigned for cloud computing (and is included in both the Cloud and Database certification categories). MySQL 5.6 has been optimized for performance and storage, making it capable of handling bigger data sets. Whenever a significant version of either database is released, Oracle updates its certifications exams over time. If an exam isn't available for the latest database release, candidates can take a previous version of the exam and then an update exam when it becomes available.

Oracle currently offers Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), Oracle Certified Professional (OCP), Oracle Certified Master (OCM), Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) and Specialist paths for Oracle Database 12c. Because many of these certifications are highly popular within the Oracle Certification Program, we provide additional exam details and links here.

Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) -- Oracle Database 12c

The OCA certification measures the day-to-day operational management database skills of DBAs. Candidates must pass a SQL exam and another on Oracle Database administration. Candidates can choose one of the following SQL exams:

  • Oracle Database 12c SQL (1Z0-071)
  • Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals (1Z0-061)
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I (1Z0-051)
  • Oracle Database SQL Expert (1Z0-047)

There are two administration exams, one of which must be taken:

  • Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (1Z0-062)
  • Oracle Database 12c Administration (1Z0-075)

Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) -- Oracle Database 12c

The OCP certification covers more advanced database skills. You must have the OCA Database 12c Administrator certification, complete the required training, complete a course submission form and pass the Oracle Database 12c: Advanced Administration (1Z0-063) exam.

Note: You can pick up more details about the Oracle Database 12c OCP certification in our Best Database Certifications article.

Oracle Certified Master (OCM) -- Oracle Database 12c

To achieve OCM Database 12c Administrator certification, you must have the OCP Database 12c Administrator certification, complete two advanced courses, and pass the Oracle Database 12c Certified Master Upgrade Exam (12COCMU). Details on upgrade paths from 9i OCM, 10g OCM and 11g OCM are available here.

Oracle also offers the Oracle Database 12c Maximum Availability Certified Master certification, which requires three separate credentials, including the Oracle Database 12c Certified Master.

Oracle Certified Expert (OCE) -- Oracle Database 12c

The OCE Database 12c certifications include Maximum Availability, Data Guard Administrator, RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator, and Performance Management and Tuning credentials. All these certifications take the OCP Database 12c or 11g Administrator credential as a prerequisite. Candidates can then achieve Data Guard Administrator, RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administrator or Performance Management and Tuning by passing one exam. Achieving both the RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration and Data Guard Administration certifications earns the Maximum Availability credential.

Oracle Enterprise Management Certifications

The Enterprise Management certifications cover Oracle Application Testing Suite and Oracle Enterprise Manager.

The Oracle Enterprise Manager Application Quality Management 11g Certified Implementation Specialist certification is geared toward Oracle PartnerNetwork members but is available to all candidates. This certification recognizes professionals who implement Oracle's Application Quality Management solutions. You must pass one exam (1Z0-529) to obtain this certification.

The Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c Certified Implementation Specialist exam (IZ0-457) covers more management functions (for applications, databases, middleware, systems and storage in various environments). In addition, it covers architecture, installation and deployment, implementation and support, reporting and extensibility. An 11g version of the certification is also available.

Oracle Foundation Certification

Oracle Foundation certifications include the Oracle IT Architecture Release 3 Certified Architecture Specialist and the Project Lifecycle Management Certified Implementation Specialist. The Architecture certification recognizes senior-level IT architects who plan, design, develop, document and deliver solution architectures and can map products to appropriate solutions. The Project Lifecycle Management Implementation Specialist certification aims at project managers with the right mix of people skills and team management expertise to run Oracle implementation projects. In both cases, candidates must pass a single exam.

Oracle Industries Certifications

Oracle Industries is another sizeable category, with more than 25 individual certifications focused on Oracle software for the communications, health services, insurance, retail, tax and utilities industries. All these certifications are Certified Implementation Specialists for the various Oracle industry products, which means they identify individuals who are proficient in implementing and selling industry-specific Oracle software.

Oracle Java and Middleware Certifications

The Java and Middleware certifications are spread across several subcategories, such as Business Intelligence, Cloud Application, Data Integration, Identity Management, Java, Middleware Development Tools and more. Java and Middleware credentials represent all levels of the Oracle Certification Program — Associate, Professional and so on -- and include Java Developer, Java Programmer, System Administrator, Architect and Implementation Specialist.

The highly popular Java category has certifications for Java SE (Standard Edition) and Java EE (Enterprise Edition). Several of the Java certifications that require a prior certification accept the corresponding Sun certification as well as the Oracle one.

Oracle Operating Systems Certifications

The Oracle Operating Systems certifications include Linux and Solaris. These certifications are geared toward administrators and implementation specialists.

The Linux 6 certifications include OCA and OCP Linux 6 System Administrator certifications as well as two Oracle Linux Certified Implementation Specialist certifications. The generic Specialist cert is for partners only, whereas the Linux 6 Specialist is open to all candidates. Each of them requires a single exam.

The Solaris 11 certifications include the OCA and OCP System Administrator certifications as well as an Oracle Solaris 11 Installation and Configuration Certified Implementation Specialist certification. The OCA and OCP Solaris 11 System Administrator certifications identify Oracle Solaris 11 administrators who have fundamental knowledge of and base-level skills with the UNIX operating system, commands, and utilities. As indicated by its name, the Implementation Specialist cert identifies intermediate-level implementation team members who install and configure Oracle Solaris 11.

Oracle Systems Certifications

Oracle's Systems certifications include Engineered Systems (Big Data Appliance, Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics and Private Cloud), Servers (Fujitsu and SPARC) and Storage (Oracle ZFS, Pillar Axiom, StorageTek, Sun Flash and Sun Storage). The majority of these certifications are geared toward individuals who sell and implement one of the specific solutions. The Exadata certification subcategory also includes Oracle Exadata X3 and X4 Expert Administrator certifications for individuals who administer, configure, patch and monitor the Oracle Exadata Database Machine platform.

Oracle Virtualization Certifications

The Virtualization certifications cover Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Oracle Virtual Machine (VM). They are all Certified Implementation Specialists, which means they recognize individuals who sell and implement Oracle VM solutions. Candidates should be well versed in virtualization technologies and architectures, server pools, high availability, best practices and troubleshooting.

The Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 3 Certified Implementation Specialist Certification (exam 1Z0-559) focuses on the Oracle Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Ray products.

The Oracle VM 3.0 for x86 Certified Implementation Specialist Certification is geared toward the intermediate-level team member who is proficient in installing OVM 3.0 Server and OVM 3.0 Manager components, discovering OVM Servers, configuring network and storage repositories and more.

Related Jobs and Careers

The sheer breadth and depth of Oracle's certification program is ripe with opportunity for professionals who want to work with Oracle technologies, or who already do and want their skills to be recognized and validated. Although there are many specific Oracle products to specialize on in varying capacities, the main job roles are administrators, architects, programmers/developers and implementation specialists.

Every company that runs Oracle Database, Oracle Cloud, Oracle Linux or Solaris, Oracle operating systems and so on need qualified administrators to deploy, maintain, monitor and troubleshoot these solutions, and they need architects to plan and design solutions that meet business needs and are appropriate to the environment.

On the development front, ComputerWorld indicates that programmers and developers continue to be "leading players in the IT world," and the magazine ranks associated skills as the most sought-after by hiring managers in 2017, tied with help desk support. (Database administration isn't far behind.) A quick search on Indeed.com results in over 12,000 hits for "Oracle developer," which is a great indication of both need and desire. Not only do developers create and modify Oracle software, they often must know how to design software from the bottom up, package products, import data, write scripts and develop reports.

And of course, Oracle and its partners will always need implementation specialists to sell and deploy the company's solutions. This role is typically accountable for tasks that must be accomplished to get a solution up and running in a client's environment, from creating a project plan and schedule to configuring and customizing a system to match the client's specifications.

Oracle Training and Resources

It's not surprising that Oracle has an extensive library of exam preparation materials. Check the Oracle University website (education.oracle.com) for hands-on instructor-led training, virtual courses, training on demand, exam preparation seminars, practice exams and other training resources.

A candidate's best bet, however, is to first choose a certification path and then follow the links on the Oracle website to the required exam(s). If training is recommended or additional resources are available for a particular exam, Oracle lists them on the exam page.

Another great resource is the Oracle Learning Paths web page, which provides a lengthy list of Oracle product-related job roles and their recommended courses.

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