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14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 6, 2012 3:01 PM by matthew_morris RSS

Career advice after 10 yr break

Gusora Newbie
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A bit of Oracle career advice needed :)

I live in the UK and currently work in a non-IT role. My last IT and Oracle position was just over 10 years ago as a PL/SQL developer which I held for 4 years. I'm now 47 and would like to get back into an Oracle job. I am aware I will need to update my certifications for SQL and PL/SQL. I imagine if I am lucky enough to be in with a shout for an Oracle position it would be a junior role.


Couple of questions:
Considering my age have I left it too late especially considering the employment situation and the abundance of IT graduates looking for work?

As I said I will be updating my SQL and PL/SQL certifications but am looking at developing a third string to my bow. Should I be looking at Java, Python or ? (suggestions please).

Any suggestions would be appreciated

Thanks
  • 1. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Gusora wrote:
    A bit of Oracle career advice needed :)

    I live in the UK and currently work in a non-IT role. My last IT and Oracle position was just over 10 years ago as a PL/SQL developer which I held for 4 years. I'm now 47 and would like to get back into an Oracle job. I am aware I will need to update my certifications for SQL and PL/SQL. I imagine if I am lucky enough to be in with a shout for an Oracle position it would be a junior role.


    Couple of questions:
    Considering my age have I left it too late especially considering the employment situation and the abundance of IT graduates looking for work?

    As I said I will be updating my SQL and PL/SQL certifications but am looking at developing a third string to my bow. Should I be looking at Java, Python or ? (suggestions please).

    Any suggestions would be appreciated

    Thanks
    Possibly think differently and consider ISEB Software Testing ( or ITIL foundation) ; you might find more opportunity for industry re-entry in a testing role. You may find it hard for people to accept anything you haven't done commercially before. And know what you say you know well. If you have previous done unix and are offering it then esnure your unix command line and editting is up to scratch. These are thoughts ... they are not hard and fast rules. And others know and advise better than I do. View the positions being offered and check which ones have little of no gap on your current knowledge.
  • 2. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Considering my age have I left it too late especially considering the employment situation and the abundance of IT graduates looking for work?
    I would say not. If you worked in PL/SQL for four years, then you should be able to study the topics for and earn the Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate within a matter of months. IT graduates looking to work have not shown that they can program in PL/SQL. In your situation I would concentrate on getting the OCA and then the Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional.

    In the meantime. If you do not have a Linked-in profile, I would suggested creating one. Make sure that the job where you worked as a PL/SQL developer is well documented. If you have no recommendations for that job, but have someone who remembers your work there that would recommend you, it might be worth asking. I'd do that ASAP. Recommendations on LinkedIn are like fine wines, they get better with age. Having a handful of recs from last Tuesday simply looks like you got a bunch of buddies to write something up to kick off your job hunt.

    Join your local IOUG and put that on your LinkedIn profile. On the profile it adds to your Oracle creds without costing you any time and the group itself will allow you to network with others in the local Oracle job market.
    Should I be looking at Java, Python or ? (suggestions please).
    Several times in my Oracle career I've taken a course in Java thinking I'll use it. Haven't yet. Don't think I will in the future. I have a former coworker that gushes about Python. Good for him. Never needed it myself and most hiring managers would think you were referring to a large scaly thing. I'm a developer and DBA which I have found quite useful. If you take 1Z0-051 and 1Z0-144, then you are just one test from the DBA OCA -- 1Z0-052. I'd suggest that before anything non-Oracle. Even if you never work as a DBA, knowing the basics can be a valuable asset.
  • 3. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I couldn't imagine going into a testing role having done it for a short time and absolutely hating it or at least the person managing the testing team who at the time had the management skills of an amoeba.

    I have no problem getting up to speed on Unix/Linux and its something I would be very much embrace. I know probably most servers running Oracle use a Unix variant.

    Is there a Unix scripting language you would recommend?

    Thanks
  • 4. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Thank you for your positive comments they have given me heart.

    I think getting the OCA and the Advanced PL/SQL is what I plan to do. I like your suggestion about concentrating on Oracle without worrying too much about Java, Python and the rest. The only problem when I used to look at vacancies years ago they were always looking for people with complementary Oracle skills e.g. Java, C++, Forms Developer (Don't consider to be part of the pure Oracle toolset and too be honest found it to be very dated) etc. You didn't see many vacancies for just pure Oracle skills. I feel, for someone in my situation it is especially important to get the basics right and just concentrate on pure Oracle basics such as PL/SQL, SQL and some DBA and I guess I could add Unix skills to the mix. I feel trying to also learn Java now would be too much to take on initially.

    I did actually qualify as an Oracle DBA, that was 10 years ago but only on paper and never in anger. I just hope some of it will have stuck.

    I have very recently joined my local OUG as a free associate and your comment about the LinkedIn profile is very valid and I will be more active about building that up.


    I am certainly open to more comments be they positive or negative :)

    Edited by: Gusora on Aug 1, 2012 12:22 AM
  • 5. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    they were always looking for people with complementary Oracle skills e.g. Java, C++, Forms Developer...
    Hiring managers will throw everything (including the kitchen sink) up against the wall to see what sticks. None of them expect to get all of it. Concentrate on core Oracle skills while you are searching. Keep an eye on Indeed.com for jobs in your area. Every couple of weeks I'll run a search for PL/SQL jobs in my area to see what the market looks like locally. If you see a recurring skill come up in multiple unrelated job postings, then you might consider trying to learn it. There are many things that I have picked up over the years. Pretty much all except the core skills have become rusty through disuse. I can code a bit in C. I wrote some really cool shell scripts a few years back. I've done some minor Java coding. Did some Visual Basic in a former life. Used to know some SQL Server. Once upon a time could use Informatica pretty well.

    The point I'm trying to get to is that if you spend time learning auxiliary skills A, B, and C, then get a job where you are writing in PL/SQL but not using those three, they'll rust away and you have wasted your time. It might be that you guess 100% correct and those three skills are just what is needed to get you a job. However, among the many dozens of useful IT skills, you are more likely to guess wrong.
  • 6. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Gusora wrote:
    I couldn't imagine going into a testing role having done it for a short time and absolutely hating it or at least the person managing the testing team who at the time had the management skills of an amoeba.

    I have no problem getting up to speed on Unix/Linux and its something I would be very much embrace. I know probably most servers running Oracle use a Unix variant.

    Is there a Unix scripting language you would recommend?

    Thanks
    Okay so there is no way you'd accept testing.

    Possibly one area that might come up relates to migrations. So you might want to ensure you have the skills for etl. This.can have synergy with unix shell scripting. Ensure you do shell scripts with bash or ksh. And that you can grep awk sed to a standard. Consider using an lpic-1 cert .... There is a cheap book that covers it well ... To help ensure your general unix is up to speed. Some interviewers might accept someone doing a lpic-1 cert to ensure your unix is up to speed. Beyond that perl possibly is more used than others, but it depends on the shop. Having said all this get your SQL and plsql good first .. Know about sqlloader ... And know some tuning tricks.

    To look for jobs look at pompeys sponsors for the last few years. .... Well I have to support local don't I?

    ....... From an iPad ... Expect typos.
  • 7. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I will certainly bear that in mind regarding hiring managers. It is easy to become overwhelmed when looking at the list of skills required when looking at job vacancies but I am convinced for me right now getting the core skills cemented will be enough to keep me busy and is far more important. I'm hoping and am maybe a little naive, that if an employer can recognise you are pretty sound on the basics, that sending you on a course to pick up that extra skill would be an option.

    Thanks again for the advice.
  • 8. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Thanks for highlighting the LPIC-1 cert which I was unaware of and is certainly something I would be happy to include as a core skill since I have in the past been a keen Linux user. Before I start googling around can you recommend a book for doing LPIC?

    Thanks
  • 9. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    bigdelboy Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Gusora wrote:
    Thanks for highlighting the LPIC-1 cert which I was unaware of and is certainly something I would be happy to include as a core skill since I have in the past been a keen Linux user. Before I start googling around can you recommend a book for doing LPIC?

    Thanks
    Consider ISBN-13: 978-0470404836. The paperback edition should have a cdrom. I think that 2nd edition is the latest. Unlike an oracle cert it lasts 5 years. That said the main value may be to force practice of some linux skills. I'm not sure the cert. would be valued b employers, but the practice might help a bit. It probably won't cover some detailed reg-expressions awk/grep/sed you might get asked at interview. Oracle does have the 1z0-402/1z0-403 exams but 1z0-403 is (early) RHEL 4 orientated so a lot irrelevant in this 64-bit OEL5/6 days. Anyway buying the book is cheap, going for the exam is more expensive. Please consider other reviews rather than taking a recommendation from me.

    Edited by: bigdelboy on 04-Aug-2012 04:36 NB: There is also CompTIA Linux+ as an alternative ... but I no next to nothing about i apart from the name.
  • 10. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Okay as a recap this is what I have come up with as core skills needed for a hopeful re-entry into the Oracle jobs market.

    Core Skills:
    Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional
    LPIC-1 certification (quite keen on Unix/Linux whether it turns out to be useful or not)

    Trusted Reading List:
    Expert Oracle Database Architecture 2nd Ed by Tom Kyte (big fan of Tom's books)
    Oracle PL/SQL Programming 5th Ed by Steven Feuerstein (Hard to beat Steve's books)
    Oracle PL/SQL Best Practices 2nd Ed by Steven Feuerstein
    LPIC-1: (Exams 101 and 102) by Roderick W. Smith (20 Feb 2009) ????

    Followed by concentration on:
    Grep, Sed and Awk skills
    SQL Loader skills


    What do you think?


    Any suggestions you would have regarding reading, etc, again gratefully accepted.
  • 11. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    The reading list looks good. I agree with bigdelboy about the value of Linux knowledge. I hold a CompTIA Linux+ cert. I took it a few years back for a former job because I was acting as a DBA, but 'backing up' our Linux admin, and I wanted to brush up on my Linux skills. When I was studying for it, I also picked up one of the 'Linux Bible' books in addition to one specifically for the certification. My goal after all was to learn Linux, not just get a certification. Books made for a certification tend to focus on the certification topics only. Having something broader can help ensure that you don't miss some useful piece of information that just doesn't happen to be on the exam.

    I'll add that the Linux+ certification came in handy with getting my current position. In my current job, I started out being the system administrator (plus the DBA and developer). The company had no Oracle presence when I was hired. I started from ordering the hardware, installed Linux and Oracle, designed and built the tables and apps. It's the first time I've done the whole Oracle solution from A to Z. Whenever I look for a new job, it'll be very cool to be able to say that I did that here.
  • 12. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    dfcii Pro
    Currently Being Moderated
    Good morning,

    I have to chuckle at this statement in your question: +"Considering my age have I left it too late especially considering the employment situation and the abundance of IT graduates looking for work?"+

    You are 47? You are still young. I am 59 and I'm studying for the 1Z0-146 Advanced PL/SQL Developer's exam. Once I get my Oracle OCP Certification, I am considering going back to college and upgrading from an Associates Degree to a Bachelors Degree. It can never hurt.

    Lets say it takes you 2 years to achieve all of your certification goals. How old will you be? Now, ask yourself how old you will be 2 years from now if you do NOT pursue your goals? I'll bet you come out with the same answer. One is never too old to pursue new knowledge, expertise and/or certification.



    Good luck,
    Don.

    REWARDS: Please remember to mark helpful or correct posts on the forum, not just for my answers but for everyone! :)
  • 13. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    Gusora Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Thanks Don, I'm hoping it won't take me 2 years to get those certifications but am looking to be in a position to start applying for jobs (please not a double dip recession here in the UK!!) next April.

    Good luck with your future studies :)
  • 14. Re: Career advice after 10 yr break
    matthew_morris Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    I have written a number of articles on topics that are common questions on this forum. This thread has touched on areas that are covered by three of them so I figured I should include them here. Some of the items in the articles are already covered in my responses, but others are not.

    I Just Got an Oracle Certification - How Can I Get Hired As a DBA?
    http://ezinearticles.com/?I-Just-Got-an-Oracle-Certification---How-Can-I-Get-Hired-As-a-DBA?&id=7057698

    Will Obtaining an Oracle Certification Be Valuable to My Career?
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Will-Obtaining-an-Oracle-Certification-Be-Valuable-to-My-Career?&id=7204261

    Comparing Study Materials for Oracle Certification Exams
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Comparing-Study-Materials-for-Oracle-Certification-Exams&id=7102070

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