Technical writer working on a project

From its beginnings as a database company, Oracle has expanded into multiple software arenas, from human capital management (HCM) software to customer relationship management (CRM) software to analytics and cloud. Much of what it builds is geared toward the enterprise, so if you want to work at big companies, chances are good you’ll end up interacting with an Oracle product in some way. In light of that, what skills do you need to succeed as an Oracle developer?

For starters, many organizations need Oracle software for radically different purposes. As a result, any Oracle developer will need to master “soft skills” such as communication, because they’ll talk with stakeholders throughout an organization to figure out how to customize Oracle products to fit business requirements. You’ll need to understand end-user needs and have a problem-solving attitude.

What Skills Do Oracle Developers Need to Learn?

It is important for an Oracle developer to move from basic technical skills to Oracle-specific skills. Deep domain knowledge is essential if you want to be hired as a master of Oracle software.

“This can be achieved only with hands-on experience working on the said products,” explains Sudhir Kumar, group vice president of global Oracle support at Rimini Street. He notes that Oracle has a large portfolio of applications and related development tools.

Before falling down the proverbial rabbit-hole around buzzwords such as "Oracle Cloud" or "Microservices ML/AI," Kumar adds, any beginner to the Oracle ecosystem should master the following:  

“It would be prudent to follow the trend and focus on tools and technologies that Oracle promotes for at least next 5 to 10 years’ timeframe,” he says.

Thomas Vick, senior regional director at Robert Half Technology, agrees on the importance of having strong back-end language experience (i.e., SQL) and at least some understanding of the front-end languages (i.e., Python) that they're going to be working with, depending on the environment.

“More recently, hiring managers want to see more people who have cloud experience,” he adds. “They want someone who has helped with the process of transitioning one of the systems or multiple systems to the cloud at any given time.”

What Do Developers Need to Know About Oracle Products?

Broadly speaking, Oracle products broadly fall into seven streams:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  • Middleware and integration
  • Business intelligence
  • Databases
  • Operating systems and server technology
  • Cloud
  • Machine learning and A.I.

While domain and product knowledge are quite important, a developer beginning his or her career should have a solid base in the aforementioned SQL, Java, Python or Perl, as they form the basis for most of the streams they are likely to work with.

“After solidifying the base, a developer can aim to gain knowledge on the relevant products depending on the stream they choose,” Kumar says.

Developers opting to choose the middleware and integration path should additionally develop skills in SOA Suite components such as:

Likewise, business intelligence developers must develop their skills in relation to OBIEE, OBIA, Hyperion, Report Development and ETL development. “ERP developers will benefit from the ERP module knowledge, forms development, workflow development and underlying data relationship and database structure,” Kumar notes.

He adds that hiring managers often look for "T"-shaped skill base individuals, which means the candidate possesses a breadth of knowledge across several products, and deep knowledge in at least one or two products.

Where Can I Learn Oracle Developer Skills?

Oracle University offers various training and certification programs for Oracle products, while numerous third-party training providers (including online trainer Udemy, also in partnership with Oracle) provide training and certification.

Key certifications for an Oracle developer include:

What Else to Learn: Problem Solving, Security, More

Vick says that, beyond technical expertise, Oracle developers can distinguish themselves by demonstrating their capability for problem-solving.

“We'll ask our candidates to help us understand times where they saved the client time money or created revenue for them,” he says. “That's what employers really want to know: if were you able to execute a project that helped save them time or helped create revenue. That's important in any skill set, especially a large tool like Oracle.”

Vick says it is a “major differentiator” when a developer can understand impact to the business unit through adjustments and implementations: “That's the next step in a developer's career. Can you code, can you work with the tools—that's of course important. But can you understand the impact to the particular business unit or unit? That's a big differentiator.”

Kumar agrees that problem-solving experience using Oracle database and Oracle development tools, as well as understanding of business requirements, are key additional skills for Oracle developers. “This includes exposure to how various business functions operate and what the business needs are key for a developer to connect their solutions with end users,” he says. “A strong developer must also have the tenacity to create effective and efficient applications to enhance the end user experience.”

Kumar notes how, for developers, continued learning is a must to keep up with ever-changing technologies and applications. “For a successful career, one needs to be relevant in their skills, and a developer’s role is most on the edge to be impacted by the rapid advancement of technologies,” he says. “Learning more about the database functioning or securing the APIs, as an example, adds on to the relevancy of their professional goals and the advancement in career.”

Vick points out the speed with which technology changes makes continued learning indispensable, highlighting the cloud and security as two important areas of focus for Oracle developers.

“Any additional experience that someone can gain around IT security is going to be very important because that's top of mind right now for organizations,” he says. “How can the tools create efficiencies and revenue going to the cloud, but in a secure manner? Security right now is very important and will be going forward. I don't see that fading at all.”