March 27, 2009

Meet The Experts: Jim Czuprynski

OCP Advisor got a chance to interview a leading Oracle expert, Jim Czuprynski. Jim's roots trace back to Oracle database administration roles. Currently, Jim is responsible for teaching Oracle University classes in the Midwest and Southwest and travels a lot, sometimes about 25%-50% of the time. The audience for Jim's classes are either prospective database administrators (DBAs) for the foundation classes and highly experienced DBAs for classes on advanced features.

OCP Advisor (OCPA): Please share with us your background and professional experience.

Jim Czuprynski (JC): I have been working in IT since the early 1980’s, back when the concept of database administrator was wrapped together with several different roles, including writing reports, building data entry screens, as well as making sure that database is up and available. I transitioned to client-server development in the mid-1990s and then spent several years as a business analyst and project team lead, but something always brought me back to the DBA track. I finally became an “official” Oracle DBA earlier this decade. About four years ago I started teaching the Oracle database administration courses for Fujitsu America, one of the first Oracle Education partner in the United States.

OCPA: You are an OCP on 9i, 10g and just recently on 11g. Congratulations! What motivates you to seek Oracle certification?

JC: I spend a lot of time as an instructor, but I still consider myself a DBA first, teacher second. So my motivation (aside from trying to keep ahead of my students! ) is to know everything I can about the Oracle database. In my opinion, preparing for an OCP exam is like working on a master’s degree or getting board-certified as a surgeon: You got to be able to demonstrate mastery of not just what the database can do and how it does it, but also why it works the way it does. Otherwise, you are just a “paper DBA.”
OCPA: Based on your certification experience, what is your advice for candidates preparing for the exams?
JC: I am constantly experimenting with different features of the Oracle database release. I heartily recommend using some sort of test-taking simulator like Self-Test Software . I always think I have done worse than I have actually done on the test, but I am yet to fail an OCP exam when I have simulated tests before the actual exams!
OCPA: As an Oracle University instructor, what is your recommendation of the courses to attend?

JC: If you’re thinking about upgrading your certification from Oracle 10g to Oracle 11g, the New Features for Administrators class is an obvious choice. I really see a need out there for DBAs who are familiar with recommended best practices for Oracle 11g Real Application Clusters (RAC), so that is one of my favorite classes to teach. The 11g Performance Tuning course teaches DBAs the best practices of how to tune a database instance from the “top down,” starting with the Shared Pool and winding our way from that most tunable part of memory down to the least tunable parts of an Oracle instance.
OCPA: You are a regular contributor for the Database Journal . Please tell us what you write about. How are the topics relevant for Oracle certification?

JC: For the past 18 months I have been writing a lot about all the new Oracle Database 11g features, so it’s a great way to take a deep dive into what is going to be covered on the Oracle 10g to 11g OCP upgrade test. I just finished a three-part series on how to implement the various features of SecureFile LOBs, including a quick foray into how to deploy DICOM files as SecureFile LOBs within an Oracle 11g database. And I am now working on a multi-part series on all the new DataGuard features, especially Active DataGuard.
OCPA: Can you please let us know one habit that has contributed most to your professional success?
JC: In a word: passion. I treat what I do as my career, not just my current assignment, so I believe it is really important to experiment with the tools Oracle 11g gives me, on my own time and at my own expense, not at that of my company or client and especially not on production! So I have got several desktop machines at home that are dedicated Oracle database “sandboxes.” My goal is to try something new against the Oracle database environments on those machines every month, maybe even breaking something, because figuring out how to recover from failure is a real test of our true worth!


  1. Hey Jim, I attended one of your classes (Oracle Performance Tuning 10g) in Columbia, MD and I told everybody I met you drove it home for me. Like I told you in class, I am getting ready for my OCP exam (end of October) which I have been preparing for the last year and half; your lecture is a boost for my preparation. Again - thank you.

    Thank you,
    Albert Zaza

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