Tonight I took another Oracle certification beta exam, Oracle Application Server 10g: Administration II (1Z1-312). Since it was a beta, the fee was only $50 and I knew some of the topics to be covered, so I figured I’d wing it and see how I did. I doubt I passed as I wasn’t well-prepared–especially for the questions related to Application Server Guard and some of the questions on Cold Failover Clusters. We’ll see in a few months if I managed to squeak by it or not (they don’t announce scores for the beta exams for about 10 weeks after the beta period ends). The good part about beta exams is the price, but the bad part is that they have you answer all the questions in the test pool. For this exam, there were over 215 questions in 180 minutes (3 hours). I should know better than to schedule such a span through dinner time, but that was all I could fit in to my schedule this time!
Another reason it was challenging for me was due to a thought that occurred to me as I got about half way through the exam. That is, why are Oracle ACE Directors (for Middleware, Database, or otherwise) not required to have completed some certification. I’ll be the first to agree that having a certification doesn’t necessarily mean you know what you’re talking about. I also know from friends that have already been given the ACE Director honor, the process can be a long one and, at least for them, there were several technical interviews that were required as well. I guess if I were in Oracle’s Certification Program Office, I’d sure like the ACE Directors to take and pass my exams as a sign that the exams were worth taking and that they actually stood for something meaningful. After all, if the ACE Directors are required to take them, it would add at least a little legitimacy to the certification program, wouldn’t it?
I’m not looking to start a flame war or drag the ACE Director program over the coals. I am wondering what others may think of certifications. Note that I’ve already posted my thoughts on certifications, so you’ll see I’m not proposing that certifications be the sole measure of anything. However, they are an interesting tool and provide at least one relatively objective metric as a starting point for evaluating a candidate (for a job or for an elite honorary title like ACE Director).
Let’s see if anyone’s reading…comment away!