The Oracle ACE program is one way that Oracle recognizes community members that make significant contributions to the Oracle community through blogging, forum participation, user group presentations, and other similar volunteering activities. As one of the Oracle ACE Directors, I have tried to promote the program by raising awareness of its existence and the importance of spreading your knowledge for the good of all Oracle technologists. With help from Google, almost everyone consumes the knowledge posted by the good deeds of others, but a relative few (but growing) contribute to the body of knowledge available online.

There are a lot of smart people working in technology communities these days. Oracle’s community has been growing steadily and I think relatively rapidly in the last few years. Other non-Oracle communities have deep roots and dedicated individuals volunteering lots of their time to help build and maintain networks of technologists too. This afternoon, I read a blog post written by Sheeri Cabral who is a bona fide MySQL community leader and has the awards to prove it. Her post offers a bullet-list of tasks that, if followed, will put you on the road to being a community leader as well.

I think it’s a good time to note that community involvement is becoming a bigger factor in the job market. As a consulting practice manager that regularly interviews and occasionally hires talented individuals, I look at community involvement as a significant factor in my evaluation process. Those that are engaged in the community are more likely to get my attention and those that lead parts of the community receive and deserve a special place near the front of the line in my book. Right or wrong, those involved with the community have typically been more resourceful, harder working, and easier to work with in my experiences. Of course, you also have to “know your stuff”, but that’s becoming the easy part with such an active community producing tons of valuable technical content daily.

So, consider the blueprint Sheeri offers as the motivation to get you more involved. I know I will be working to check off the items on that list for my own community involvement in the coming months! For example, the ODTUG Kaleidoscope and Oracle OpenWorld events are going to be here before you know it and presenting at these events is a great way to give back some knowledge to the rest of the community.

If you want to present at Oracle OpenWorld, you’ve got an opportunity to do so (yes, YOU!). Oracle has made a few session slots available to those that have good ideas. To get started, see the blog postings about the submission process and then go to Oracle Mix and submit your idea! Once submitted, start blogging about it yourself and get others to vote for your idea so you can present at OOW08. If your idea doesn’t get picked, you can always choose to present at one of the OTN Unconference slots at OOW08 too. If timing doesn’t work out for you to attend OOW this year, we’re only a few months away from the start of the call for speakers for the Collaborate 09 conference (in Orlando, May, 2009). IOUG starts their call for papers in the fall, probably sometime in August or September. Watch the IOUG home page for your chance to submit a session proposal there too.

Finally, congratulations, Sheeri, on your well-deserved award and thanks for offering sage advice on community involvement!