Friday, June 23, 2006

End of Radio Silence

Well I'm back from a two week holiday in Cozumel and have finally managed to catch up on all my emails and work related stuff.

The holiday was good, lots of diving and relaxing in the sun, but coming back wasn't so nice. For the first few days home I had serious jetlag and a rather nasty ear infection.

Luckily, I have been working from home this week, I'm on study leave as I'm preparing for my first 10g OCP exam, so being wide awake and working at 4am isn't a problem!

In order to prepare for the exam I've been using the OCP Certification All-in-One Exam Guide from Oracle Press.
I can highly recommend this book to anyone who is going to do the OCP track.
It comes with a free CD with sample questions, the chapters are well organised and easy to read and there are exercises and practise questions at the end of each chapter.

I started by taking one of the practice exams from the CD first, and working out which areas I obviously needed to work on.
Then, I read up on that chapter and attempted to answer the questions at the end.

Once I've worked through all of the areas I need to, I intend going back and re-doing the practice exam.

One of the things I have personally found quite annoying with the exam, is the number of questions that either require exact syntax or include case sensitivity in order to get correct the answer.

An example is this question:

You are installing Oracle Database 10g on a computer with the Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES 4 operating system. You are certain that the Oracle Universal Installer system check will fail on this operating system, but you want to install Oracle anyway. How would you invoke the OUI and force it not to perform system checks? (Choose the best answer)

A. setup -ignorePreReqs
B. setup -ignorePrereqs
C. runInstaller -ignoreSysPrereqs
D. runInstaller -ignoreSysprereqs
E. runInstaller -bypassPrereqs
F. setup -bypassPrereqs


I knew it was either C or D, in terms of the words needed, but I couldn't remember the case used. I managed to select the correct answer, C, more by chance than actually knowing it.
And what's all this about choosing the 'best' answer? How does the 'best' answer differ from the 'correct' answer?

For the number of times a DBA will be required to issue this statement, is it really necessary to know it off by heart? Is it not more likely that you'll have a rough idea, but will look it up?
Maybe the test should be 'Where would you go to find out this information?'

Most DBA's I know have a pile of books either on the end of their desks or on a nearby bookshelf for those occasions where you sort of know the answer, maybe haven't done it for a while, and need to look it up.

I find this true, especially when writing SQL statements and I need to use a function I haven't used in a while and I can't remember the exact syntax.

I understand that there are occasions where you need to get the syntax exact, otherwise Oracle will do something entirely different to what you wanted and this can sometimes be dangerous. However, on most occasions it will simply return an error, usually some random error message that has nothing to do with the problem!

Anyway that's enough grumbling from me, I now need to go and memorise lines of syntax from the book so that I can pass the exam. I'll be sure to blog about this again in 6 months time when I actually go to use some of these commands, but can't quite remember them so have to go and look them up.

10 Comments:

Blogger shrek said...

wwelcome home.;-)

Friday, June 23, 2006 2:26:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats exactly why I haven't bothered with OCP.. When it asks some real questions i'll start to value it. I have better things to do with my time than try and remember things like that which can easily be looked up.

Friday, June 23, 2006 2:48:00 pm  
Blogger Robert Vollman said...

I agree 100%. Testing memorization of obscure syntax is silly. As if a veteran DBA wouldn't just look it up.

Friday, June 23, 2006 3:00:00 pm  
Blogger Graham said...

Great point. I've been thinking of taking the OCPs for years but questions like that make me keep putting them off.

At the moment they just seem to be an additional revenue stream for Oracle and not much practical use to anyone.

Friday, June 23, 2006 3:14:00 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

Before this turns into a complete attack on the OCP certifications, I don't necessarily think they are a bad thing.

I kow there are two distinct trains of thought on this, and it has been widely argued/discussed in various forums.

I've personally found some of the study stuff quite useful. I've spent the last few years working on fairly small databases with low concurrency and have had limited interaction with various parts of the database.

Studying for the OCP has filled in some of the gaps for areas I have not had much exposure to and has made me look closer at the things I didn't know.
If it hadn't been for the studying, I probably wouldn't have bothered looking these things up until there came a time when I needed to know it and would have done it on the fly.

But who's to say which way of doing it is right.

Friday, June 23, 2006 3:47:00 pm  
Blogger Sandeep said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 6:46:00 am  
Blogger Sandeep said...

As Lisa said ..everybody is right in their opinion !!.

Yes I agree with Lisa..I have been working with various Oracle Technologies including Database for almost 10 years now. I did my OCP-Developer back in 1998. Even at that time I had this thing in mind whether I should go for it or not. But after I did it, I felt good that at-least I learnt something(though in theory) which I did not use in my job. So I could enhance something

Now I am giving OCP-10g..probably in next 1/2 months, again this will enable to me to read/practice something which I may not be working on ..so that's an added advantage from my point ..

cheers..Sandeep

Sunday, June 25, 2006 6:48:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

I have been working with oracle for the past 6 years and I too am interested in getting my OCP. I have a question for you, did you just use that book "OCP Certification All-in-One Exam Guide" to help you study for the exam? I am just wondering if I purchased the book and go through the questions, etc that It will be enough to get used to the questions being asked and pass the certification exam?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 9:42:00 pm  
Blogger Tharg said...

W.R.T. OCP exams, I have a couple of points.

I used to think that knowing stuff off pat, even down to the syntax, is a complete waste of time.

Then I thought, suppose you're the duty DBA for a trading floor where the daily turnover is measured in £billions.

If a system went down, and by knowing the syntax right first time, you brought the trading system back 1 minute quicker, you've probably just saved your employers a few million quid.

Then I thought some more (it always hurts, but I try...)
if you were the system administrator of such a system, would you ever in a million years allow it to be dependent on one person knowing the exact syntax of a particular oracle command?

So, I can see some kind of justification for knowing syntax, but would you ever employ a DBA who thought he/she knew it all, and didn't need reference books?

Answers on a GTT with on commit delete...

Tharg

Friday, July 07, 2006 9:48:00 pm  
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Monday, August 13, 2007 8:06:00 pm  

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