Saturday, September 21, 2013

Your chance at a free voucher for 1Z1-062: Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration (CLOSED)

This contest is over and I have selected the winners.

This afternoon I was contacted by a representative of Oracle University. She had five vouchers for the 1Z1-062 beta exam, Oracle Database 12c: Installation and Administration and wanted to know if I could come up with a way to get these to five of my readers. I told her that I have it covered.

Before I explain how you can get the vouchers, I want to talk a bit about the exam. 1Z1-062 is one of two exams in the Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate track. The other can be 1Z0-061: Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals or one of several other SQL exams. My previous blog post discussed all of the various SQL exams that meet the requirement and why they were created. Passing 1Z1-062 and a valid SQL exam will qualify you to be an Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate.

1Z1-062 is currently in beta and the vouchers are only valid while it is in beta. The beta period is currently scheduled to end on October 19, 2013. If you have not started preparing for the test and plan to take it, you had best study fast. A month of study time is a very low-end figure for an Oracle certification exam. This is especially true here as the 062 exam covers eighty-five topic areas. Putting that into perspective, the 11g Admin I exam, 1Z0-052, only had fifty areas. That is a seventy percent increase in the number of topics! If you have not started studying and are not willing to put in a lot of preparation for the exam, I would strongly suggest passing on this offer. For those of you that have been studying for it and will be scheduling the exam soon -- great! Read on and I will get to the 'free voucher' part... eventually.

If you have never taken an Oracle beta exam, you should know that they are long. The exam duration is 2 1/2 to 3 hours and there will be 150-220 questions.  Production exams, by contrast, are normally about 70 questions and 1 to 2 hours in duration. An earlier post in this blog talks about Oracle beta exams -- Oracle Beta Exams -- The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I highly recommend reading that post before committing to a beta exam. I took one Oracle beta and was not fully prepared for what it would be like. Having the proper expectations would have made the experience easier. That said, the biggest advantage betas have is that they cost less than the production exam. If you get one of these vouchers, the exam is completely free... bonus.

So... free vouchers (finally). Oracle University left it up to me to determine how to distribute them. I decided to make it a test of your research ability.  If you have been to my Oracle Certification Prep website, it contains hundreds of links to articles, white papers, and videos on topics for various Oracle certification exams. If you want to have a chance at the vouchers, find an article, white paper, or video that is relevant to one or more of the topics on the 1Z1-062 exam. You can see an example of the type of link I am looking for in my page for 1Z0-052. Once you have found a good source for the exam, create a comment to this post linking to it. If you want to include more than one, feel free to include up to five sources.

That's it.  Because the exam is scheduled to close in a month, I want to pick five winners fairly soon.

EDIT:  With five valid responses, I will definitely choose the winners on October 5th.

Some rules:
1. No brain dumps.  A comment with links to a brain dump or sites that sell them will simply be deleted without consideration even if it contains links to other valid sources.
2. I will be looking at the content in the linked articles.  If you supply a comment full of articles unrelated to the exam, or advertisements, etc. -- the comment will be deleted.
3. Yes -- the Oracle documentation is a great source.  No -- it will not count for this.
4. Do NOT put your email address in the comment.  I do not believe in feeding spambots.  I will announce the winners in a later post along with how to get in touch with me for the voucher numbers.
5. If two people supply a link to the exact same source, only the first will receive credit for it.
6. I will decide on the winners based solely on the quality of the content in the links. Telling me why you really really really need this voucher will not affect my decision-making process.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Oracle's SQL Fundamentals Exams and Database Releases

Oracle Education released 1Z0-061: Oracle Database 12c: SQL Fundamentals a few weeks ago.  It is now the fourth introductory SQL exam created by Oracle University.  The earlier exams were:

  • 1Z0-001 -- Introduction to Oracle: SQL and PL/SQL
  • 1Z0-007 -- Introduction to Oracle9i SQL
  • 1Z0-051 -- Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I

While the first two exams have been retired, candidates who have passed any of the above four (or the SQL Expert Exam, 1Z0-047) will be given credit for having met the SQL requirement for any certification track that requires one.  Put another way, it is not necessary for a certification candidate who wishes to become an Oracle Database 12c Administrator Certified Associate to take the 12c SQL Fundamentals exam.  The candidate could take 1Z0-051, or be grandfathered in for having passed 1Z0-007 or 1Z0-001 before they were retired.

While I was creating a study guide for this new exam, I asked myself, why are the SQL exams associated with a database release if it doesn't really have implications for the certification?  

In developing an answer, I thought about why each exam was developed.  1Z0-001 obviously was created because a SQL (and PL/SQL) exam was needed.  1Z0-007 was the first of the 'SQL-only' exams and was created around the same time as 1Z0-147: Program with PL/SQL.  Effectively the move split 1Z0-001 into two more focused exams and allowed for the new PL/SQL developer track.  Because of the content split, 1Z0-007 is a significantly different test than 1Z0-001.

Oracle University did not create a 10g SQL Fundamentals exam (although the SQL expert exam was first created during this release).  However, for Oracle 11g, a new SQL Fundamentals exam was created. The reason was largely because the 9i SQL Fundamentals exam had several topics that had become obsolete.  Namely, it had some that were about iSQL*Plus, which Oracle had since discontinued.

The 1Z0-007 and 1Z0-051 exams have about 85% commonality between the material covered.  The 11g version swaps the iSQL*Plus topics out in exchange for a handful of additional SQL topics.  Oracle University could not simply alter the topics of the 1Z0-007 exam itself, since that would make any existing book, self-test, or class materials obsolete. As an author of certification study materials, I know that such a change would really make me upset.

Coming back around to the topic this post started out with -- 1Z0-061 has been released.  It drops one section that had been on 1Z0-051 (Creating Other Schema Objects) and adds an 'Introduction' chapter that covers some basic details about 12c features and RDBMS theory. I confess to not really being sure why this exam was created. My best guess is that OU is shifting the SQL Fundamentals exam topics slightly further away from the SQL Expert exam.  If you are choosing an exam to take, selecting 1Z0-051 or 1Z0-061 is something you can leave to a coin toss.

The release numbers applied to SQL Fundamentals exams are really just a convenient way for Oracle University to create versions with updated topic lists. However, all of the SQL exams contain enough information in common to ensure that candidates have a firm grasp of basic SQL. Therefore, Oracle does not require a specific SQL exam for those certification tracks that are release-specific.