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Underwater in Fiji Firstly, be aware of Top 10 Oracle DBA Mistakes - BTW, this link is to a third-party site - if it doesn't work, I'd appreciate it if you let me know.

Updated August 2nd. 2003 :- A common question is how to get started as an Oracle DBA because employers look for experience, and it's always Catch 22. One option is to find work as a backend developer, (focus on SQL*Plus and PL/SQL). Then read and practise in the office or at home on Performance, Backup and recovery, RMAN and Concepts of Architecture.

Updated April 19th. 2003 :-
I recommend that you check the Oracle Web Site for the latest information on Certification.

Oracle has recently announced three levels of Certification :-
1) Associate.
2) Professional.
3) Master.
The best way to get started is to buy a Sybex book called :-
   "OCA/OCP Introduction to Oracle 9i SQL Study Guide", (ISBN 0-7821-4062-9).
Then work your way through it,(it assumes you know almost nothing and teaches the fundamentals).
Then take the Exam 1Z0-007 at your nearest Sylvan Prometric facility,
and then you are halfway to getting certified at the Associate level.

If you accomplish this,(and the best thing is that you have your destiny in your own hands) 
then you can be sure that you are going in the right direction. 

If you don't like it, or fail the Certification test, then it might be good to go to a 
Career Guidance company for psychometric evaluation to figure out what are your natural 
strengths and weaknesses.

Follow this with the Oracle 9i Database: Fundamentals (1Z0-031) and you emerge fully qualified. 
However, don't expect to walk into a job without any experience, (Catch-22 is about to bite you 
in a sensitive area).

Oracle introduced a qualification of Internet Database Operator, which offers the cheapest path to Certification, at a relatively modest(for Oracle Education) cost of one 4-day Course and a Certification Examination. However, I think they are withdrawing it.
This qualification will look good on your CV but it will not help you get a job because it only teaches you how to install Oracle Products and get them to work,(although that's a valuable skill but it is not enough on its own).
It also teaches you some basics about SQL in Oracle.
One option is to sign up as an Oracle Partner, which gives you 5 days free training and then use the training to get Certification as an Internet Database Operator.
There is a very useful set of Oracle Documentation available online, courtesy of the University of Indiana ,which will help you learn a lot about how Oracle works.

The announcement of Oracle 9i means that the water has just become muddier because it means that a great deal of the current lengthy training may be unnecessary.
9i is moving much closer to point and click and away from command-line administration,
although there will be plenty of Oracle 8i installations for a long time to come.
Check out the Oracle 9i Home Page as a starting-point.
I had some links to specific 9i pages on the Oracle OTN Web Site but Oracle moved these pages without telling me so my links were broken. I'd like to thank Greg Bouras for making me aware of this situation on May 24th. so that I was able to correct it.

Oracle - another Career Option as a 'Database Developer'
In addition to DBA work,a very attractive Career Option involves using Databases as a Developer.
This requires good knowledge of PL/SQL, which is Oracle's Procedural Language.
PL/SQL includes and extends SQL, and is primarily intended for developers who work close to the Database,
rather than close to the User.
Working with PL/SQL often includes some DBA work, for example, in data extraction and migration from one Database to another.
It is therefore much more of a development job and offers design challenges and is more creative than 100% DBA work. It's an excellent way to get close to being offered DBA work without a DBA background.

Here's a typical Help Wanted Ad to give you a feeling for the skills required -
"PL/SQL Developer With DBA Skills"
Multinational Multimedia organisation requires an experienced PL/SQL Developer who also has had DBA exposure, with good Unix Shell Scripting skills. Working on a systems migration project, you will have proven technical ability and excellent interpersonal skills.
An ability to be able to write PL/SQL packages & procedures, create database load scripts and set-up development databases is essential.
The position will demand some DBA support (approximately 20% of the role) however the support will be of a wholly ad-hoc nature.
Working within an Oracle 7, 8 & v8i environment, associated experience is essential,as is solid commercial experience with PL/SQL.

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