In a recent chat with John Brooks, Oracle Content Developer at Kaplan IT Training, the importance of Oracle Certifications came up. John has vast experience working with IT certifications, we thought his insight would be interesting to our readers and hope you agree.Knowledge is Power
Passing the exam and your grade on the exam are important of course but it's what you learn along the way that provides a strong foundation on which to build a career. The knowledge and experience gained from the preparation process is the real benefit.
"Going through the Oracle certification process lays the foundation for fundamental building blocks of learning Oracle concepts and even theories. Passing an exam doesn’t mean you know any more than the next person; however, it does say that you are familiar with the latest and greatest technologies. It also says you have a solid foundation to build on and you hold an individual drive and passion to expand on those concepts.
The knowledge gained from going through the process is difficult to measure, but the amount of information covered and the flow of the information is customized so the learner creates their own foundation by focusing on specific levels of assessments.
Oracle measures a candidate's level of knowledge and skills at different levels:"
- The Oracle Certified Junior Associate (OCJA): Earning this certification level arms you with a fundamental level of conceptual knowledge and skills, and demonstrates your capabilities to a future employer. This certification also shows your potential to progress into OCA level during your early stage of employment, and later to OCP, becoming an asset to any company. This level of certification is currently available for Oracle Database and Java.
- The Oracle Certified Associate (OCA):The associate level certification ensures that a candidate is equipped with fundamental skills, providing a strong foundation for supporting Oracle products. This also positions candidates to easily begin preparing for the Oracle Certified Professional level of certification.
- The Oracle Certified Professional (OCP): Oracle Certified Professional builds upon the fundamental skills demonstrated by the OCA. The Oracle Certified Professional has command of a specific area of Oracle technology and demonstrates a high level of knowledge and skills. IT managers often use the OCP credential to evaluate the qualifications of employees and job candidates.
- The Oracle Certified Master (OCM):This certification level recognizes the highest level of demonstrated skills, knowledge and proven abilities. OCMs are equipped to answer the most difficult questions and solve the most complex problems. The Oracle Certified Master certification validates a candidate's abilities through passing rigorous performance-based exams. The certification typically builds upon the fundamental skills of the OCA and the more advanced skills of the OCP.
- The Oracle Certified Expert (OCE): Expert level certification recognizes competency in specific, niche oriented technologies, architectures or domains. Credentials can be independent of the traditional OCA, OCP, OCM hierarchy, but often build upon skills proven as an OCA or OCP. Competencies falling under the umbrella of the Expert program range from foundational skills to mastery of advanced technologies.
- The Oracle Certified Specialist (OCS):This level of certification tends to be implementation-focused. These certifications are built around specialized skills and knowledge. Credentials are independent of traditional OCA, OCP, OCM hierarchy and focus on very specific technologies and skills.
John also highlights an important, often forgotten benefit of earning certification. With the skills and knowledge gleaned from exam preparation, candidates become more versatile, making their skills more valuable. The lessons you learn along the way become your tools; solving or improving day to day on the job tasks.
"As you go through this journey you are poised for different situations and different Oracle architectures. You not only learn the foundations but you learn new features with every exam. You also learn different architectures which gives you the ability to focus on customer needs and desires that best fit customer SLAs. Your solutions can range from dedicated environments, high availability and even cloud. Having this type of knowledge allows you to think out of the box, expands your creative thinking and gives you solutions that are viable, strong, long-term and allows you to give answers to customers that simply make sense."A Career That Lasts
John provided some encouraging numbers that tip the scales in favor of certification.
- Business News Daily: ranked Oracle Certifications as top certifications for 2018 in 5 areas: Database Administrator, Big Data, Linux, System Administrator, and Virtualization.
- CertMag 2018 Salary Survey: According to CertMag's 2018 Salary Survey, certified candidates agree that getting certified has improved their job skills as well as their salaries.
- 68% of those surveyed agree that getting certified has increased their ability to solve problems
- 65% percent agree that getting certified has improved their workplace productivity
- More than 70% of those surveyed agree that they’ve experienced greater demand for their skills since becoming certified.
- Noted in the same survey, certification can increase earning power. The average weekly income for a U.S. “information” worker at the end of 2017 was $1,393.10. However, among those surveyed who hold just one active certification, the comparable figure derived from the data is $2,078.98.
- Pearson VUE 2017 Value of IT Certification Survey:The Pearson VUE 2017 Value of IT Certification Survey also highlighted some revealing numbers in support of earning certification.
- More than 64% of respondents received positive impact on their professional image/reputation
- Nearly 1/2 of all respondents received a salary increase, a new job, or a promotion.
- 40% of respondents indicated that certification helped them to perform complex tasks more confidently
- 54% experienced the first benefit of certification within 3 months.
- Finally, the proof is in the personal recommendation. 86% of IT professionals said they would recommend certification to a colleague when discussing a career or advancement in IT.
- Robert Half: According to a Robert Half Special Report: The Demand for Skilled Talent, 51% of managers said the lack of technical abilities is a common reason new hires don't workout. Certification prepares you to fill that gap.
John closes with a sage bit of advice for certified candidates.
Recertifying, or upgrading your certification to a new version continually validates your skills and experience and keeps you up-to-date on the latest technology and best practices. Certification shows that you are ambitious and have a passion for learning.