Today, the IT field is full of diverse categories and jobs. With such a broad industry, it can feel impossible to find a place to start, find a community, and be involved with your work. Luckily, you are not alone.
At Experts Exchange, there’s no denying how vital our Certified Experts are to our community. It’s often easy to wonder how these experts got into such expansive fields. To help close the gap, we’ve chosen a few of our top Oracle Certified Experts to talk to us about career growth in the Oracle world.
Kent Olsen is a Consultant to the Florida Lottery and currently administers 76 Oracle instances on 25 servers and assists with approximately 12 SQL Server databases. Alex Eßer is a Software Developer at MDK Baden-Württemberg and has been working with Oracle since 2007. Mark is a Software Developer that’s been dwelling in Oracle since 1999 and has experience in Oracle Database since version 7.3.
Getting Started in IT
When it comes to starting a career, it’s tempting to think there’s a specific way to begin—questions such as whether to attend college, trade school, or programming school arise. Fortunately, there are a plethora of options. The good news is that all three Certified Experts agreed that there’s no “right” way to start a career in Oracle.
For Alex, programming was a hobby for him since childhood, and over time it slowly turned into his profession. Kent had a completely different experience, saying, “I had never seen a computer until a friend had access to one at his university. He offered me to play chess against it, and it turned out to be pretty good at it! Losing to it bothered me so much that I wanted to know how it worked, and I changed my field of study.” Mark took himself through an IT-focused school to get into the IT field before the boom that occurred in the 2000s. All three took a different route and ended up with similar results!
Growing your Career
While each of our experts started their IT career differently, the same can be said for how they expanded their technology careers. Making career choices can sometimes be extremely challenging for those in a field with as many options as IT.
Kent’s experience with growth was one of desired knowledge. He tore everything apart down to the smallest detail to see how it worked below the surface. To add to that, he’s only had one database class his entire life, and it was 30 years ago. The one thing he’s linked to his success was the idea that if you know what the data looks like, you’ll know how the engine in the data works.
Alex and Mark had a more progressive approach, having to learn Oracle actively on the job. Alex ‘had’ to learn Oracle because of the job he got in 2006/2007. Once he became proficient in Oracle, he ended up sticking around. Mark had to do a lot of self-teaching and practice on the job. He credits his success to Experts Exchange and Google, where he was able to find a community to help him solve complex problems and gain experience with no judgment.
Whether you come from a place of curiosity or a place of sustainability, one of the most critical factors in growing in your Oracle career is to have an open perspective. Be willing to learn, do what it takes to get the job done, and do your best to get help where you need it.
How to Get Started in Oracle
Our experts had more specific things to share to help any professional looking to get their start in Oracle. Each one gave valuable insight based on their unique experiences working with the product.
Kent’s main piece of advice was to be a sponge. As developers, we need to learn everything we possibly can, even if we don’t think we’ll need it. The number of times that he learned something he didn’t need at the moment but came in handy in the future was astounding. “You’re going to want to do more than learn just because you can. You truly want to learn to understand the subject.”
Alex expands on the idea of learning while including others in the IT field, “share what you know, learn with others!” We’re lucky to be in a field where we don’t have to do our work alone if we need help. We can attend any Oracle related conferences, like DOAG or PSOUG, where we can connect with other like-minded people to learn and solve problems.
Mark merges the two ideas above by taking advantage of the resources given to him. Experts Exchange and Oracle Devgym were his two primary examples. He noted the importance of trying, practicing, being willing to make mistakes, and revisiting your code later to see if you can improve it. “I’m still learning something new when checking my code from two years ago, and I’ll still find at least one new possibility to improve something.” If Mark is still learning new things after 20+ years of experience in Oracle, you can too.
The Future of Oracle
The first lesson when working in IT is understanding that it’s one of the most rapidly evolving fields. With each expert having 10+ years of experience in IT, they had things to say about what to expect in the next five years.
COVID-19 has had a pronounced impact on the IT industry. While many IT roles were relatively easy to shift to remote work, the surrounding industry has done its best to adjust. However, it means that people are now more reliant on their computers and software than ever before. The change gave Alex a few concerns, as he mentions that the shift may negatively affect the entire industry, but only time will tell.
Kent showed a concern with the way people in the industry today are forgetting what they truly do. These days, hardware improves and evolves rapidly, to the point where instead of learning what’s going on and fixing the problem, people are just following directions. The idea of articulating a problem and finding the real solution is beginning to dissolve. He worries that there will be a shift where good design triumphs over coding deficiencies, creating a never before seen era of coding issues and maintenance nightmares.
That shouldn’t scare away new programmers. In a world where we’re more connected than ever, tapping into a collaborative tech community is essential for advancing your career.
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