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!

March 23, 2009

Running a marathon for charity

One of my 2009 new year resolutions is to run a marathon for charity. Last month, I started training with the Team in Training team and raise money for charity that funds blood cancer research. I am maintaining a pictorial blog of my marathon training at the One Mile More blog.

I have sent e-mails to many generous donors, some of whom have responded already. Please visit my fundraising page by clicking
here. The fundraising page uses Active X and scripting that is blocked by some corporate firewalls. I have created a 'Donate' button (visible on the right hand side of this blog post) so that one can also donate using PayPal. I will then process your donation on the fundraising site and you will promptly get your tax receipt and donation confirmation.

Preparing for a marathon is like preparing for an Oracle certification exam. Weekly practice drills are a must. It is a test of will power, stamina and endurance. Like the certification exams, one can only practice to an extent. Our marathon running team will only practice a maximum of 20 miles. The coaches say that the last six miles is a battle of the mind over body. No amount of training can address that. While you are practicing hard for the Oracle certification exams with various test prep methods, the actual exam is a test of your nerves of steel and ability to win the race against the clock as you answer the multiple choice questions.

Best of Luck to both of us!

March 6, 2009

Meet The Experts: Arnoud Roth

This week's featured expert is Arnoud Roth from Zwolle, Netherlands. Arnoud has multiple Oracle certifications including Oracle 10gR2 Database Administrator OCP, Oracle 10gR2 RAC OCE and Oracle Applications 11i Database Administrator OCP.

Please read on as Arnoud shares his certification experiences and effective habits that contributed to his spectacular success.
OCP Advisor (OCPA): Please share with us your background and professional experience.
Arnoud Roth (AR) : I started my Oracle career back in 1998 as a BaaN ERP Application Administrator. That was in the good old days of Oracle 7.3. After that I joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to work as an Infrastructure Consultant for Oracle E-Business Suite. This was when Release 11i had just been launched. PwC Consulting was acquired by IBM and I started working at Oracle/IBM Joint Solution Center in Montpelier, France. I have hosted several workshops there on E-Business Suite with Real Applications Cluster technology. I was involved in addressing many problem management assignments throughout the world. In the mean time, I was also involved in one of the largest E-Business Suite implementations in the world, a pan-European roll out for a very large international photo camera manufacturer. After some time I moved away from IBM, because of too much travelling. I joined AMIS Services to establish an Oracle EBS Business SBU. Recently, I took up the role of E-Business Suite Infrastructure Architect at Inter Access in the Netherlands.
OCPA: You have achieved several Oracle Certification credentials. What motivated you to achieve this spectacular success?
AR: Certification gives you a certain degree of acknowledgement. Notwithstanding the fact that experience gives more insight in what one is capable of, it can also be too much focused on certain areas. Certification gives you at least the credentials that on the areas Oracle deems necessary, you have sufficient proficiency. I took the certification exams to find out where I was in that perspective, purely based on experience.
OCPA: Based on your certification experience, what is your advice, tips, suggestions for candidates preparing for the exams?
AR: First of all, experience is essential. Furthermore, take the Oracle University Classes to get the necessary information. As far as I know, there is no self-study material for Oracle E-Business Suite certification. Internet and especially the forums on are a goldmine for information.
OCPA: Oracle is constantly releasing new versions and technologies. How do you keep updated with the changes and upgrade your skills?
AR: When new certifications become available, I immediately try them out when I get the chance. There is however a risk to this: Experience will only grow into the areas that you encounter on the job as I mentioned in my reply to your second question. I also try to get proper training or self-study guides.
OCPA: Which Oracle technologies excite you most? What's your advice to Application DBAs for adopting these?
AR: Real Applications Cluster, Dataguard and SOA Suite technology (Application Server). How to adopt? Well, that depends on what you want to do with it, but most of these can be explored using Virtual Machine (VM) technology. This way it is easy to get acquainted with the technology. There is tons of information available on the Internet on how to setup these kind of virtualized environments. Get yourself some tutorials from OTN and start off!

OCPA: How different is the R12 Application DBA exam from the 11i exam?
AR: It has been years ago since I took the 11i exams. The main difference in the exams comes from the difference in technology stack in R12 as compared to 11i. Sounds like an open door? Well, it is, but it is true. If you know the differences between 11i and R12 you will most likely succeed.
OCPA: You are also a very popular presenter at Oracle conferences. Please tell us about your next conference presentation.
AR: I will be presenting at COLLABORATE09 conference in Orlando, FL in May, 2009. I will be doing a case study on a project that I contributed to as DBA/Technical Architect. The project comprised of the implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite 11i and SOA integration using Oracle BPEL). The presentation is entitled: Mixing E-Business Suite and Pleasure. The white paper explains the project from a DBA’s perspective. I’ll be presenting the case study, the solution, architecture, and issues and challenges we came across during the implementation, and of course the lessons learned. (Editor's Note: It would be a great opportunity to meet many featured experts and OCP Advisor at COLLABORATE09 as many are attending and presenting at the conference)
OCPA: Can you please let us know the habits that have contributed most to your professional success?

AR: This is the credo I live by: C-O-U-R-A-G-E
Creative – Without this habit, somewhere along the line you will get stuck. You absolutely need this habit in order to be successful.
Openness – Be open in what you know and what you do not know; that is what makes a true professional.
Usefulness – Make sure that what you do is appreciated.
Realistic – Be realistic in managing expectations, in everything you do. Do not set too high goals for yourself, because someone will have to pay sometime.
Adoptive – Make sure that you know what is going on in your area of expertise. Try new things and see where you can use them.
Generous – Do not be afraid to share your knowledge.
Eagerness – Be determined to reach your goals.
COURAGE turns out to be very useful indeed everyday. Courage to face the customer, courage to aspire, courage to admit mistakes, to reflect, to say no, to say yes, the list goes on and on. Courage may be the most important habit of all.

March 5, 2009

R12 Beta Exam Closing Dates

Here are the latest closing dates for R12 Beta Exams:

1Z1-206 Oracle E-Business Suite R12: System Administration
Extended to June 30, 2009

1Z1-215 Oracle EBS R12: General Ledger and Payables Fundamentals
Extended to April 15, 2009

1Z1-216 Oracle EBS R12: General Ledger and Receivables Fundamentals
Extended to April 15, 2009

There is just over a month for 1Z1-215 and1Z1-216 beta exams and over 3 months for 1Z1-206 beta exam to close. Please do not miss this great opportunity to get certified at a fraction of the certification list price with the huge discount for beta certification. Let us get enough candidates taking the exams so that Oracle can launch the production release after the current beta testing period closes.