Another thing that concerns me is that I am not a good test-taker. It helps tremendously that this particular Practicum will be scenario based - it will almost be like "normal work". Except no socializing, no music, no Google, and the snacks are .... well, it will sustain me at least. So, not quite like work, but the actual "doing it" will be.
I also look forward to networking. There will be 6 others taking the Practicum with me, and it will be interesting to hear about their backgrounds. And assuming I pass, I am excited about meeting the community of Masters out there. If I do not pass, I will just have to wait a bit longer. *grin*
Based on the public information available about the Practicum, and anticipating a NDA/gag-order, here is what I believe the test will be like (all of this is from memory):
- Primary focus on "normal" activities
- install software (not sure how much of this we will have to do, since it takes time)
- setup environment
- setup OEM
- setup RMAN
- setup/configure database (different flavors, different purposes)
- setup network files
- "recover from any failure scenario" is rather intimidating
- Time is an important resource, so a cold backup every hour is not going to work
- tune performance
- manage database
- add/drop tablespaces, tables, objects
- adjust storage specs as needed
- Secondary focus on specific features
- shared/dedicated servers
- standby database
- partitioned tables
- data access
- security, including vpd/fgac
- Tertiary focus on more advanced things that do not really work well (the GUI sucks!)
- Advanced Replication
- Resource Management
- Possibly Dataguard
There is a blurb in the Oracle documentation about the Practicum that says one should use so-called "best practices" and Oracle tools to speed things up, because you are on the clock. I feel pretty confident that I can do most things reasonably fast, but I do have doubts in the back of my head. I can setup a standby database using rman (and using the same technology, create a clone for replication or whatever else). I can use OEM for most of the basic tasks, but I worry about how fast that will actually be, as opposed to just using the command-line which I am more comfortable with. For instance, one of the bullet points for the exam prep is "Use OEM to modify a database configuration". You mean like "alter database set optimizer_index_caching = 80"? Do you realize how many button clicks that is? 8, with a wall clock time of 83 seconds (which obviously depends on how fast your computer is).
In closing, I also wonder how different the 10g OCM is. Could I take that now? I have been working with 10g for a little while now, and know my way around EM/Grid Control. In some respects, it is much better. One of the downsides is that the new EM is so comprehensive that one can easily get lost if you are in unfamiliar territory. See my previous posts about trying to manipulate the Maintenance Window. *grin* I am not going to switch my course of action now - sticking with 9i. But I do wonder... perhaps I can get a steep discount and take the 10g OCM in the near future.
And finally, I remind myself that there are many many smart people out there who have not even taken the OCM just because they do not see a good reason for it. If/when I am a fully certified Master, I still realize my low post on the totem pole. The folks on oracle-l, askTom, the oracle forums (and even the dwellers in metalink Forums) and a slew of other places, are extremely smart and I learn from them on a daily basis. I hope to be able to contribute something, but just because of some pretentious title does not mean that I know everything.