No More Permanent Oracle Certs – Time To Update Your Oracle Certification?

16 Oct

Oracle certification is a high achievement in the world of database administration. Where previously certifications had been granted on a permanent basis, Oracle has recently announced that database administrators will need to recertify themselves if their certifications came from much older versions of their products. In a recent statement, Oracle noted:

“Earning an Oracle certification is a well-respected achievement,” the company said on its website. “However, as products age and are removed from Oracle standard support maintenance, the technology becomes less relevant, devaluing the associated credential(s).”

At first glance it appears Oracle is making strides to further education and ensure certificate owners are well versed on changing technology. However, some have come to question the change as it had always been stated that Oracle certifications were in fact permanent and that DBA’s could trust this fact. This new change seems to have broken some of this trust as many are left wondering whether or not their certificate is valid anymore.

Oracle has made some solid points though – as technology continues to evolve it’s important that highly trained users of their products remain immersed with knowledge about those very products. It doesn’t do anyone any good to have a certification from two decades ago when the products now are vastly different. Furthermore, it helps maintain Oracle’s expert status in the field. Oracle said this change will, “help maintain the integrity of our certification program and the value of your certification.”

So, who will be affected by this new policy? Currently is applies only to those who received certifications from versions 7.3 to 10g. Version 7.3 dates back to the mid-90’s while 10g was released about a decade ago in 2003. DBAs certified on these versions must recertify on a newer version of the database by either November 2015 or March 2016 if they want to keep their credentials in an “active” status. Oracle recommends that DBAs upgrade their certification to version 11g or later, the site states. The cutoff dates for recertification are shown below.

There are several status’ that can be applied to an Oracle certification and they have a website about certifications to assist those in need, it covers the following:

  • RECERTIFICATION – Recertification is the process by which a certification holder demonstrates they have kept up with current technology by earning a current Oracle Database Administration credential.
  • RETIRED – Oracle Database Administration Certification – the Oracle Database Administration certification is no longer attainable for new candidates. If a candidate already holds it, it will remain valid until 12 months from the certification retirement date.
  • CURRENT – Oracle Database Administration Certification – the certification is available for new candidates. All candidates that hold a CURRENT Oracle Database Administration certification are considered in ACTIVE status.
  • ACTIVE certification status – the certification holder holds at least one Oracle Database OCA, OCP or OCM certification credential that is CURRENT (non-retired).
  • INACTIVE certification status – all of the certification holder’s Oracle Database credentials are retired and at least 12 months have passed since the latest credential held has retired.

It’s no secret that Oracle plans to benefit financially from the recertification process. Recertification requires a fee for testing. This has been considered by many to be the main motive for Oracle, while others believe this has been a long time coming. In a recent article* by an anonymous Oracle DBA stated his belief that the new recertification rules will only help the field:

“It was never a good idea that certifications were permanent. Changes in features and architecture, for example 12c multi-tenant, should render previous certifications null and void. Will it ruffle some feathers? Yeah, probably. Should it? No. In my opinion certifications should apply to a single release and nothing more.”

This is certainly a valid argument, and it seems that as time passes we’ll look back on this decision as a good one. Sure, Oracle will benefit with higher revenues, but organizations around the world will also profit from having employees who are well versed in the latest database technology.

You can find more information on the Oracle Education website.