Oracle is a massive company with lots of software offerings, so it stands to reason that it would offer lots of certifications for technologists. Indeed, Oracle offers more than 200 certifications divided into nine primary categories, ranging from Applications to Virtualization. In addition, there are credentials offered at six certification levels, starting with Junior Associate and ending with Specialist.
An analysis of job-posting data via Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass), which collects and analyzes millions of job postings nationwide, shows that a very small percentage of technology jobs require Oracle certifications. However, if you’re applying for jobs at companies that rely on Oracle for their tech stack—particularly positions such as database administrator and database architect—having these certifications can help you stand out in a crowded field of applicants.
Tim Webb, Managing Director of Robert Half Technology, told Dice Insights that Oracle certifications can help boost your chances of getting hired, especially within the enterprise. However, the sheer number of certifications available means you should take a close look at which ones are worth your time and money.
Why are Oracle certifications important?
Oracle is one of the world’s largest vendors of enterprise software, so any tech professional works at a larger company will likely encounter it at some point. Although Oracle focused for decades on on-premises hardware, software, and tooling, it has lately tried to carve out a market in the cloud alongside Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, although it trails those vendors by a significant margin.
Many larger companies and enterprises are sticklers when it comes to tech professionals possessing certain types of certifications. Although you could certainly land a job solely on your skills—especially given the demand out there for tech pros—possessing certifications can help you stand out in a crowded field.
In addition, the certification process can actually teach you valuable lessons about how Oracle’s products actually work, so it’s helpful in that sense. Oracle University offers a digital training library that covers the company’s entire product portfolio, giving you a chance to explore skills before you apply for certifications or even certain jobs.
How does one become Oracle certified?
As Webb explained, while there are various methods of training in Oracle’s technologies out there, from books to university classes and online resources. But to actually get the certifications that employers want, you have go through the company itself.
“That’s really the only way you’re going to get certified,” he said, pointing to Oracle’s online certification courses. “Oracle is [huge], depending on the area you want to focus on, there’s nine disciplines and six classes starting with associate all the way up to specialist, so its very broad.”
The Oracle Applications certification category alone has more than 60 individual credentials across 13 products or product groups. More than 25 individual certifications are available through Oracle Industries. Start off by visiting Oracle’s education portal, which breaks down the company's software and hardware certifications, product certifications, and training courses.
What are some of the most in-demand Oracle certifications?
Webb suggested that certifications on the database and application development side are in demand; that includes database administration or “pretty much anything” around Oracle applications.
“The cloud and database side would be of the most interest, because typically that’s what where more of the jobs are,” he said. “You see the majority of the roles on offer are DBA, implementation and development—Oracle is just so vast. That’s a trend we expect to continue into the future. Code needs to be written, old code needs to be modified and re-written. Those things aren’t going away.”
One of Oracle's newest certification categories is Oracle Cloud, with certifications that fall into seven sub-categories (it covers Java Cloud as well as Oracle Database Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), among others).
Among the most-requested Oracle certifications in 2020 include Database Administration, Database Development and Java Programming; other featured certifications include MySQL 8.0 Database Administrator (1Z0-908), which can advertise your skills in administration, backup, replication, optimization, and securing databases.
What are the benefits of these certifications?
“Certifications validate that you had the skills understanding and experience to work within the system,” Webb said. “It’s more of a validation than anything else, and companies respect that and like that, because it shows that individual is dedicated and competent in the skill set in which they want to be employed.”
He noted that, although we’re currently in a hiring climate that raises the stakes for all applications, possessing certifications is always useful from a competitive perspective. “It just makes you stand out above others, that you’ve dedicated yourself to asserting yourself to understanding that skillset,” he said. “With Oracle, the important thing to keep in mind is when you’re certified in one area, it’s only good as long as that company is running that specific version.”
How much do they cost?
Webb noted the cost of the process depends on the type of certification you want to earn, as well as how much training you’ll require prior to an exam. At the moment, Oracle is offering a 25 percent discount for any online order placed for digital learning subscriptions and exam vouchers until the end of the year.
Most Oracle Certification exams cost $245; junior associate exams, aimed at students and a more entry-level audience, are priced much lower, at $95. Meanwhile, Oracle Certified Master exams (day-long or even multi-day, performance-based exams) cost considerably more.
Do Oracle certifications expire?
Certification credentials are valid for 18 months once successfully achieved, but Oracle’s Java Certificates don’t expire. As Webb pointed out, given the number of updates the company pushes out, it’s important to keep yourself up-to-date on the latest versions of software, lest your knowledge become obsolete.
Despite strong competition on a number of fronts, Oracle remains a strong presence throughout many enterprise tech stacks. If you’re competing for any Oracle-related job, keep in mind that obtaining certifications might be a requirement—and at the very least, can ensure you stand out amidst a pool of candidates when you’re interviewing.