Sunday, January 28, 2007

Me and my job

Passing the OCM was a major accomplishment for me, a milestone in my career path. Hence my continued excitement; I have not had this strong of a sense of achievement... since... for a long time. *grin* And I truly believe it is "merely" a chapter in my career, a leg of the journey as I sojourn this enigma I call life. Preparing for and passing this difficult exam is not an end-all-be-all. Evidenced by the fact that there are many DBAs out there who are smarter, faster and more accurate than I am. The small fact that not many people have passed this exam is probably more of a testament to its secrecy and high price tag. Which is why I emphasize that the OCM is a stage, a rung of the ladder. With that image in mind, my end goal is to be really good! I read and converse with "Oracle Experts" like Tom Kyte, Jonathan Lewis, Dave Ensor and a large number of others whom I will not list out; if possible, I hope to claim that caliber at some point in my life. I call it "Striving for Excellence".

And here comes a helping of Humble Pie. Sure, just like any other human, I want to puff up my chest of pride, I want the world to recognize how good I am. Reality check - I am not so good that the world would even notice. If there were a DBA version of American Idol, I am sure all three judges would say something like "It was ok". "Not great, dog". "Good, but not good enough".

But I yearn and strive to be really good at what I do. This blog is cast in the context of my job, an Oracle DBA; yet, in the rest of my life I strive for excellence as well. Father and husband are at the forefront, but also in serving my community and being active in local government. One of the biggest reasons for this desire goes back to my belief that there is a God (and I am not He); all my gifts and strengths I credit to my God. Without His blessing, without His favor, I am nothing. Hence, it only makes sense to use what I have to bring Him honor, to make good on His investment. All too painfully I am often aware that my life is sometimes at odds with this view; I screw up. I, like you and everyone else, make mistakes. So while my goal is to be excellent, I have to be careful in depicting the fact that I am not there, yet. It is a dance, a choreographed movement with my heavenly Partner who leads my steps.

This is why I strive for excellence, to do what I can to make the big guy upstairs look good. And believe you me, I am thankful that He allows me to continue, despite my wretched performance from time to time. So I proudly add this label, this certification, to my somewhat short list. I am happy to be an Oracle Certified Master. Very happy!


Aman Sharma said...

Hi sir,
Myself is Aman Sharma.I am just a learner of Oracle database but yes I love it!Congrats a ton for becoming an OCM.I am a little late in giving it but I discovered your blog last night only.And believe me, I had read all the posts about OCP,RAC class days and day since then.You are excellent writer and definitely a very nice person too.I am going to add your blog in my bloglines account and in my site and blog's lists.I hope you will keep on writing lots of good stuff!
Sir,it may sound very ironic but I am looking for the same excellence for me to define to others in DBA world.Yes I am looking for OCM.I am an OCP 9i,10g.I dont need scenerios of OCM but I want the preparation methodology,how should I start and in what way I should prepare for it?I wont ask howmany monts you spent as it definitely wont fit for me coz it may be lesser( no chances for that) and may be much longer too.Please guide me.
Once again,thanks,congrats and best regards.

Charles Schultz said...


Just to emphasize a point I made, excellence is a journey, not a destination. Perhaps you already know that, but I wanted to make it clear that preparing for and taking the OCM is also a journey.

There are several ways to prepare. For starters, it really depends on what you do for your job. If you do a lot of basic administrative tasks (creating databases, maintaining tns, setting up standbys, resolving performance issues, and use Enterprise Manager for everything *grin*), you have covered a lot of ground already. If not, you need to understand the basic concepts VERY WELL! In my opinion, there is no substitute for experience, but I know of a guy who passed the OCM even though he was a developer; he studied from the books a long long time.

Secondly, go over the documented OCM Exam topics. There are sure to be features that you do not use often, so either practice them a lot, or study hard.

Third, prepare yourself for the unexpected. I hate saying that, but in retrospect it is very true. If you are managing a production database, how would you best protect it against bugs, crashes and performance problems? Applying those same practices in the Practicum will go a long way. Know how to backup and restore "from any failure scenario". Know how to use Enterprise Manager, but also be familiar with the other tools and documentation so that you can do your job quickly if EM goes away.

Hope that helps.

Aman Sharma said...

Hi sir,
Thanks alot for the reply.I am working as an instructor for Oracle Database 10g Workshop 1,2 10g New Features,SQL Tuning,Backup & Recovery and 10g Performance Tuning modules.I have not worked as a production dba yet.But I do alot of research for how things work and try to understand as much as I can in the best possible way.I have used 10g Database Control very heavily since last 2 years and before that,everything was in CLI mode only.According to my current profile,do I have chances in OCM?I yet to have cover up DataGuard,RAC but I am going to cover them very soon too.
I understand sir that recovering from failures will be among the most hot topics in the practicum as a master may be allowed to do anything but not to lose even a bit of data.I am reading backup and recovery guide and also I am preparing for OCE Managing Oracle on Linux and will prepare for OCE RAC Expert too.I am not sure will they be helpful in OCM but I guessno study is a waste.
I completely understand your point about excellence.I belive on a quote by Einstein,"As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it." That's why I love Oracle Database.Though I know as much as the tip of needle is but I shall always try to be more mature in my learnings of Oracle Database.Hope I shall be some what good some day.
Thanks a bunch and best regards,

Charles Schultz said...

I think you are well on your way. Your background should give you some solid standing. Keep in mind, however, that the most significant aspect of the test is "being in the moment"; your adrenaline starts to flow, heart speeds up, palms sweat, etc. This is not like a classroom at all, but a real test. Imagine yourself sitting for an interview for a job that your career depends. I realize that is a bit far-fetched, but it helps to paint the right picture. If you think you can perform well while the interviewer is constantly looking at his watch, you should be good.

Yes, I agree with you 100%, in accordance with Einstein's quote, that I also know as much as a tip of a needle. Very appropriate.

Aman Sharma said...

Hi sir,
I completely understand that OCM is not at all a joke and some thing to be taken lightly or "just another exam from Oracle".Its an accrediation that one knows something for good and in real so it has to be tough.That's why the name comes, Master!
Sir,if you know as much as the tip of the needle than I yet even to have buy needle for me :-).
Thanks a ton for so much valuable advice and taking time out of your schedule and answering.If I get struck(I am sure I am going to be), I shall definitely come and ask your advice.And I shall be very eagerly waiting for the new posts to come from you.
Thanks a bunch and best regards

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