Before spending a great deal of time, effort, and money to get ready to pass an Oracle certification test, it is important that you decide whether or not passing the test matters to you. If obtaining the certification will not have any positive effect on your career, then there are almost assuredly better things that you could be doing with your time and money than studying for an exam that will mean nothing to you in the end. I see people post questions asking if a certification will help their career fairly often on Oracle certification forums. Seldom do the people asking the question supply sufficient information about themselves to answer the question. Just about any certification will be valuable to someone. However, that someone may not be you.
When you pursue an Oracle certification, you might be doing so to add a new knowledge area to your skill set that you have not had before. Alternately, you may already have this knowledge and are taking the certification to validate it. Finally, you might be doing a combination of the two — taking a test on an area that you are familiar with, but gaining new information during the study process. From the standpoint of assisting your career, the impact of a certification is in the perception of competence that it provides. If an employer perceives that you are more skilled because you have a certification, then this has the potential to affect your career in a positive fashion.
There are three primary means by which this can potentially affect your career:
- Increase your job prospects.
- Add to your job security.
- Improve your chances of being given a raise or promotion.
With the above, it seems that I have answered the question. Certifications are great for your career. You should go out and pick up two or three, right? Possibly. However, the information you need to make the decision is in the next couple of paragraphs. What has been defined so far is the basic tenet of becoming certified. You become certified in a particular area of expertise in order to present yourself as competent in that area. It will only help in your career if expertise in that area is perceived to be valuable. You need to ask yourself these questions:
- What work are you doing currently?
- What work have you done in the past?
- What work would you like to be doing in the future?
- What certification are you considering?
The answers to those four questions can help to determine if a given certification will be useful to you. As an example, I work as a DBA and PL/SQL developer. On several occasions I have dabbled with Java. I could code in Java if I had to, but have never had a sufficient need in my work to become really skilled at it. I have considered obtaining the Oracle Java certifications as a means of learning enough for it to become a viable option in my development. However, I’ve been working with Oracle for better than fifteen years and haven not needed to know Java yet. Improving my Java skills just for the certification would not make sense. I’m a skilled PL/SQL developer, so that’s how I present myself to employers (current and future). Adding a Java certification would not add to their perception of my value. Putting that into the perspective of the above four questions. I’m a PL/SQL programmer now. I have been one for years. I plan to be one in the future. Adding a Java certification is not likely to aid my career at this time.
By contrast, if a certification is closely related to work that you have done in the past, or more importantly are doing now or wish to do in the future, then it almost assuredly will help in your career. Human resources staff and hiring managers do look on certifications favorably. They are a search term that recruiters use when mining LinkedIn. So long as you pick certifications that make sense for you, adding some to your credentials are likely to benefit your career.