The first of the "Essentials" exams targeted at employees of Oracle Partner Network companies followed soon after. 1Z0-497: Oracle Database 12c Essentials, became available as a production exam in early May. The second OPN exam, 1Z0-417: Oracle Database Performance and Tuning Essentials 2015, closes its beta period at the end of May and should be available as a production exam sometime in August. A third OPN exam has just opened its beta period, 1Z0-432: Oracle Real Application Clusters 12c Essentials. This exam has not even made it to the 'Beta Exam' page on the Oracle certification site yet, so I cannot report the anticipated end date.
This makes four 12c exams currently in production and another two in beta. Looking to the future, there are a number of exams in the pipeline to be released to beta later this year. The most clearly defined at the moment is the third exam of the 12c database administrator track, 1Z0-063: Oracle Database 12c: Advanced Administration. This exam was announced at the same time as 1Z0-062, but is sitting in limbo at the moment with a status of 'In development'. Presumably Oracle University is waiting for enough people to earn the 12c OCA certification for the beta exam to have sufficient potential candidates. I expect that they will hit their target number sometime in the next three to four months and open the beta.
On May 22nd, the Oracle Certification team announced three upcoming expert exams on their blog. The test numbers were not provided (although I could make some educated guesses), nor were any dates provided. I would expect all three of them to roll out during the next three to four months. The announced exams were:
- Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 12c: Data Guard Administration
- Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 12c: Performance Management and Tuning
- Oracle Certified Expert, Oracle Database 12c: RAC and Grid Infrastructure Administration
The final 'exam' is almost pure speculation on my part. Recently there was a discussion on LinkedIn from an Oracle professional who was an Oracle 9i DBA Oracle Certified Associate. He was looking at his options to upgrade his certification to be a 12c OCP. Currently, that requires two exams (1Z0-062 and 1Z0-063) plus an approved training course. There has never been an upgrade path for OCAs from an earlier release. In the thread, the poster was advised by an Oracle certification official to hold off on his plans because there was an option that would be announced soon that might help him.
No announcement has been made yet (or else I would not need to speculate). The only thing that really makes sense to me, however, would be a for the certification team to create a single exam designed to upgrade from the OCA of one release to the 12c OCP. The 1Z0-060 exam is made to upgrade from any earlier release and already contains the Core DBA elements. A relatively modest expansion of this exam might be suitable to upgrade candidates who hold an OCA certification for any earlier release. It is certain that the new path would not eliminate the need to satisfy the hands-on training requirement. However, this would at least provide a single-test option for Oracle professionals with an OCA in earlier releases.
Of course that assumes I have guessed correctly. I make no guarantees.