Oracle 11G has been out for several years now. If you are an Oracle 10g DBA certified professional and have not yet upgraded, you really should consider doing so. I was first certified in Oracle 7, so I have taken several upgrade certifications. I have always found studying for the upgrade certifications to be valuable for learning about changes to the capabilities of Oracle that are useful to me in my work. Mind you, I will freely grant that for every new feature that is of use to me, there are another eight or nine that I really don't care about in the least. In this article I will try to provide a glimpse into some of what types of questions you will encounter on the test to help guide your preparation.
All of the topics that will be covered in the 1Z0-050 exam are listed on the Oracle Education website. There are features that are new in Oracle 11G that are not on that list. These features will not appear in test questions. The topic lists from Oracle Education are always complete. The 11G New Features exam has fifty-eight topics spread among sixteen subject areas. With 77 questions, you will generally see one or two questions per topic.
From my experience, Oracle upgrade tests bear some resemblance to marketing documents. The features that will appear most prominently on the exams will be the ones that provide Oracle with an edge over competing RDBMS platforms. These will be the features that will get the most questions asked. When you are studying for 1Z0-050, put in some extra effort on these types of enhancements. Also, keep in mind that new features exams are not really about testing your ability to use Oracle. As an Oracle Certified DBA, it is assumed that you can already use the database. For this exam, you will be expected to be able to answer questions about:
What new capabilities have been added to the database with 11G.
Specific concerns when upgrading an existing database to the new version.
How changes in the release affect routine administration of the database.
The steps required to enable, disable, or configure the new feature.
For the last, understand that the test will not have you programming PL/SQL statements or navigating a GUI interface during the test. Questions for features that involve coding or use of Oracle Enterprise Manager can only be tested indirectly. What is primarily being tested is whether or not you are aware of the existence of the new features, the purpose of the features, and the basics of enabling them. Some features might require a simple command, or new keyword to implement. If that is the case, you should know the new command or keyword. Other features might require dozens of lines of PL/SQL. In these cases, you might need to know the steps to implement, but you won't be required to look at a page full of code and determine whether or not it will work.
1Z0-050 was not one of the more complex of the Oracle certification tests that I have taken. It is almost entirely fact-based rather than being experience-based. Given the nature of the material being tested, it could hardly be otherwise. Reading the New Features manual available with the Oracle 11G documentation is a reasonable place to start studying, but is not sufficient in and of itself to pass the exam. The manual contains many features that are not on the test, and few of the tested topics are covered in enough depth for the questions that will be asked. Make sure you are comfortable with all of the topics before scheduling the exam. Good luck on the test.
Matthew is an experienced DBA and developer. He holds Oracle DBA Certifications for releases 7, 8i, 9i, 10G and 11G; and Oracle Expert Certifications for SQL and Application Express. He is the author of several Oracle certification guides, including one for 1Z0-050.
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