- Get certified to demonstrate some basic level of Oracle DBA knowledge.
- Learn the Optimal Flexible Architecture.
- Practice to get some hands on experience to develop basic skills.
- Learn how to sell yourself and understand how to write a good resume, cover letter and prepare for a successful interview.
- Get comfortable with the Oracle documentation and the key reference manuals.
- Learn where to go to network.
Changing careers to become an Oracle DBA is a definite challenge. If you are looking at becoming an Oracle DBA and you are new to technology then I do feel the certification will definitely help you. It will at least show a certain level of knowledge and a commitment to learning the Oracle technology.
Learn the Optimal Flexible Architecture
Practice to develop basic skills
Basic skills you should work on:
- Read OFA 5 times and conform to its guidelines.
- Install Oracle according to OFA. Be able to setup a tnsnames.ora environment.
- Make sure you completely understand the Oracle architecture (SGA, background processes, server processes, data files, system tablespaces, redo logs, archive logs, init.ora and spfile).
- Be able to write a Unix script to perform a cold backup using a cron job.
- Be able to perform full and incremental backups using RMAN. Practice different recover scenarios.
- Get comfortable with the data dictionary main views (DBA_DATA_FILES, V$instance, etc.)
- Search on the Internet for Oracle DBA best practices to see what other DBAs are doing.
- Be able to set up archiving, perform backups and be able to clean up archived files that have been backed up.
- Read some introductory chapters on performance tuning. For SQL tuning understand how to understand an Explain Plan and how to perform a SQL trace and run a TKProf report.
- Read up on top 10, 20 top things to tune for an Oracle DBA.
Be able to present yourself successfully to a potential employer
What do you see as your key assets? What can you do to present yourself well to a potential employer? Read up on how to succeed in an interview and interview tips and interview mistakes. Dress professionally for your interviews and be early for your interview. Read up on the company, see what interests you about working for that company and ask the interview questions about the company that show you are interested in joining a quality organization.
To get an opportunity as a Junior DBA you need to show a potential employer that your personal assets and intangibles can make up for you lack of experience. I can tell you that I know a number of people that have changed careers to become an Oracle DBA and they sold the company on themselves to get their first job as an Oracle DBA. I assure you companies are looking for people that work hard, have great attitudes, are trust worthy and can contribute positively to a team. These type of people are hard to find, finding someone with just DBA skills is pretty easy for a company.
Key Oracle Reference Manuals
Below are key Oracle reference manuals you should be very comfortable with.
- Oracle Concepts Manual - has entire chapters on different parts of the Oracle architecture.
- Oracle Reference Manual - key chapters on data dictionary views and initialization parameters
- Oracle SQL Reference Manual - get comfortable reading documentation to add a tablespace, modify a user, add a redo log group, etc.
Learn how to network
Good networking events to attend:
- Local Oracle user groups. Search on local Oracle user groups in your area. Most major cities have strong local Oracle user groups.
- Local Linux user groups.
- City Business chamber meetings
- Local Toastmasters meetings
- Local small business meetings