Transcender webinar: Understanding Big Data

October 19, 2017 at 9:00 am | Posted in Transcender news | Leave a comment
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Big Data is gathered from nearly everyone and affects almost every aspect of modern life, from health care to hotels and from consumer trends to traffic gridlock. Vast amounts of information is now easily accessible and shared freely among companies, but the average person has little conception of their own contributions to Big Data, or how it affects them in their daily life.

Join our Oracle certification and industry expert, John Brooks, for a free 45-minute webinar on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, at 11:00 am CST.  We will cover the definition, uses, and importance of Big Data in our economy, and explain its increasing significance to our society as a whole. We’ll also mention the main applications that are used in Big Data crunching and point the novice certification-seeker toward the best options in this growing career field.

To register for this FREE webinar, click here. (Your contact information will never be sold or transferred.)

Happy webinaring!

-the Transcender Team

Oracle University is seeking YOUR Java EE 7 input for a Job Task Analysis Survey

September 26, 2013 at 9:17 am | Posted in Oracle | Leave a comment
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Have you ever wondered how vendors actually build their certification exams, or choose the learning objectives for their courseware? Although they employ instructional designers and content writers, vendors also rely heavily on subject matter experts: the people “in the real world” who use the technology day in and day out.

Oracle Certification and Server Technologies Curriculum Development are in the process of building two new Java EE7 Certification exams. They write:

An Oracle certification is typically associated with a particular role related to a single technology. In the case of Java EE7, the technology is very broad and comprehensive. We are looking to you and the industry to validate our definition of these job roles. Our assumption and preliminary investigation shows that programmers and developers working with Java EE technology design and create applications using front-end technologies and/or server-side enterprise technologies.

If you have two to four years experience using the previous Java EE technology versions, or if you are involved in hiring Java programmers for front-end and server-side development, then Oracle wants your input to help shape the next release of certification exams.

Click the link to go to the survey (closes on 30 November 2013):

Become an Oracle SQL Certified Expert

December 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Oracle, Study hints | Leave a comment
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Have you taken a look at the Expert series of certifications that Oracle offers? Normally, the path to an  Expert certification is shorter than the path to OCA or OCP certification, sometimes as little as a single exam, but Expert certification requires a very in-depth knowledge of a particular area of Oracle technology.

If you are an Application Developer or a DBA who uses SQL extensively, you may want to consider the Oracle Database: SQL Certified Expert certification. The only requirement is to receive a passing grade (66% or higher) on Oracle’s certification exam 1Z0-047. However, before you jump to sign up, you need to be warned. This exam is not for your casual user of SQL. It requires an in-depth knowledge of SQL, including all of the enhancements made over recent years. Furthermore, this is one exam where Oracle University does not offer a course which maps almost perfectly to the exam.

The course “Oracle Database 11g: Introduction to SQL” or the equivalent knowledge would be a helpful resource, but you need to look closely at the topics covered. Here are my observations:

  • Be prepared to write joins using the new ANSI standards. You’ll also need to write single row, multiple row, and correlated subqueries.
  • All of the set operators are covered, as well as the new MERGE command and the multi-table INSERT command.
  • You should be well versed in index creation, and the various type of indexes, and more importantly when it’s appropriate to use each kind of index.
  • Understanding privileges, both object and system, as well as roles (both default and non-default) should be in your repetoire. You should also be prepared to answer questions dealing with transaction control, external tables, and the use of the Data Dictionary.
  • Constraints are hit hard, and the multidimensional report writing commands of ROLLUP, CUBE, and GROUPING are covered on the exam.
  • You should be able to deal with all the date and time functions, and provide global support to clients in different time zones.
  • The Oracle propietary commands to produce hierarchical tree-structured reports are definitely covered in the exam objectives.
  • And finally, be prepared to deal with regular expressions and pattern matching using the various REGEXP functions. Perl programming experience would come in handy here.

If you decide to take on this challenge, we have just finished upgrading the Transcender 1z0-047 exam prep practice test to 11g Release 2. This practice test will give you a good idea of what you are in for when you go to take the Oracle exam. Just like the live exam, the questions on the practice exam are challenging and really do require you to be a “SQL Expert”.

Good luck to all!

The Oracle Guy

Oracle OpenWorld 2011 – It’s a wrap!

October 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Oracle | Leave a comment
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Well, Oracle OpenWorld 2011 has come to a close. For one week in October, this year’s conference brought (approx) 45,000 Oracle customers, employees, and partners to the city of San Francisco, but now the crowds have been replaced with fork lifts in a frantic attempt to break down all of the vendor booths as quickly as possible.

In typical fashion, Larry Ellison made some major announcements in his keynote presentation on Wednesday afternoon! Effective immediately, Oracle announced that every one of the 150+ modules that comprise the new Fusion ERP application are now in production. Fusion is the next generation of applications, which Oracle completely wrote from the ground up and developed with 100% open standards for the past 6 years. It’s the upgrade path for customers running Oracle’s e-business suite, and it’s an option for customers on Peoplesoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel as well.

Ellison also announced that Oracle was creating a public cloud using Oracle’s new Exadata and Exalogic machines, designed explicitly for maximum performance when paired with the Oracle Database. Ellison referred to these machines as “parallel everything” with a performance up to 10 times faster than current servers in the marketplace at a cost of 1/10th of those same machines. Everything is built on standards, making it very easy to port your application from your server to the cloud, or from the cloud back to your server, or from the cloud to your server and then back to the cloud again. It’s all up to you. At the same time, Ellison took a number of shots at competitors, keeping alive the banter between Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff which had already provided plenty o’ drama for most of the week!

The other interesting revelation is that social networking is actually built into the new Fusion applications. Facebook is used for identifying yourself and your colleagues who interact with these systems and need to constantly share information. You can extend this social networking to include your customers, your prospects, your partners, your suppliers, etc. This improves overall workflow and communication, but at the same time, you have complete control of the level of access for each player. It definitely had a look and feel that differs from your typical IT applications.

Many excellent small session presentations were offered during the last half of the conference. If you’re not aware, there are some major enhancements in the database in 11g R2. Some of my personal favorites include the Workload Repository and the potential for multiple execution plans, the new SQL Results cache and PL/SQL results cache in the SGA, all the new automatic monitoring features, enhancements to Security, and invisible indexes. I’ll discuss these and other topics featured at OpenWorld 2011 in future blog posts.

Logging off for now; take care!
OracleTestGuy
Bob

Prices They are A-Changin’

July 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Posted in CompTIA, Microsoft, Oracle, Vendor news | Leave a comment
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Seasons change, people change and, yes friends, prices change. While certification exam prices are one of the few things not driven by the price of crude oil these days, the last few months have brought a lot of change to the canvas of IT certifications. While our first reaction to the hike in exam prices may be accompanied by a few choice words mumbled under our breath, it’s worth noting that IT vendors do not make these decisions lightly. Just take a look at their track record…

The news that CompTIA would increase their certification exam prices marked the first increase in three years for the non-profit association. Those interested in security, healthcare and cloud computing are already benefiting from the investments CompTIA contiues to make in the certification area.

Holding out even longer before passing along the costs associated with keeping exams in line with changing technologies was Oracle. Spring of 2010 marked the company’s first exam fee increase since the start of their certification program. Reactions were mixed at first, but changes and updates quickly followed with the integration of Sun certifications into the Oracle family and the eventual transition of all Oracle exams to Vue centers.

The latest to join the pricing game has been Microsoft. Effective tomorrow (July 1st) the Microsoft Learning Group will implement exam price increases of approximately $25 US across most certification tracks. Check out their blog & subsequent comments for more details. Similar to other vendors, Microsoft has not jumped at the chance to pass along the growing costs of exam development. This price increase is the first for Microsoft in almost a decade.

This is not to say that the slightest increase in price for any goods or services these days doesn’t hurt our pockets. And while individually these fee hikes may be minimal, across multiple exams or technologies it can add up quickly. So we would love to know how these numbers impact your certification plans? Do the increases memake the difference between getting certified or not getting certified? Does paying more today than you would have yesterday determine what kind of preparation materials you shop for, or if you’ll invest in prep materials at all? We’d like to hear the impact in your own words, so drop us a comment here or on Facebook, or Tweet us!

All those TLA’s (three letter acronyms)!

March 16, 2011 at 11:15 am | Posted in Oracle | Leave a comment
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If you’re working on your OCA, and possibly even your OCP, you have already run into quite a few product names and acronyms used by Oracle for “add on”  products that enhance the fundamental capabilities of the Oracle database.  But who has the time to investigate all these products while preparing for an exam? Exactly. So I thought I would offer our Oracle exam candidates the Cliff’s notes version of one of Oracle’s most popular products.

RAC, or Real Application Clusters, is probably the hottest “add on” product that Oracle has released in the last 5 years.   It’s important to recall what you already know regarding the Oracle architecture as well as Backup and Recovery if you’re going to properly understand the benefits of RAC.  If you have your OCA in Database Administration, you know that if the Oracle instance fails, the DBA just starts the database back up and it goes through a process called automatic instance recovery. During this process the database is reading the redo log files (and the undo log files) to determine which transactions logically completed but  haven’t been written to the datafiles.  This process also checks the redo and undo log files to determine if a transaction wasn’t completed (either because it was rolled back or just never committed) but the datafiles were updated.  This situation needs to be “fixed” when the database is restarted, so that the logical state of all transactions is synchronized with the physical reality of what’s written to the datafiles.   During this automatic instance recovery, the database  “rolls backward” and “rolls forward” to ensure that data that has been committed but hasn’t been written to the datafiles does get physically written to the datafiles, and that data that hasn’t been committed but has been written to the datafiles is physically scraped off the datafiles.  Once complete, the Oracle database is available for use.

This is all very cool, no? How the only action on the part of the DBA was to start the database. The database recognizes when there was a need to perform automatic instance recovery and begins that process as soon as the database was restarted. Nothing different the DBA does other than start the database regardless of whether it previously suffered instance failure or not.  You just have to wait a little longer for it to become available to users if the software determines it needs to go through this automatic instance recovery process.

STOP! Take note – the time required for the database to complete automatic instance recovery following a crash, even though it happens automatically, may take longer than permitted based upon your business situation.  In some mission critical applications, a corporation may lose thousands of dollars for each minute the database in unavailable.  The solution to this problem is RAC.  RAC provides a second instance to be running mapped to the same set of database files.  Now, if instance failure takes place on one node, the user sessions are swapped over to the second instance which is already running.   There is no loss of data and each user continues to work in their session.  It’s amazing to see this work, if you have a chance to catch a demo of this be sure to take advantage of the opportunity.  RAC is considered to be one of the “high availability” tools that Oracle provides since it eliminates downtime when instance failure takes place.

I realize this doesn’t take care of that growing list of acronyms, but I hope it lets you check at least one thing off that list!

–Bob Bungenstock

What We’re Working On – February Edition

February 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Transcender news | 10 Comments
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We had so much news to share in January that it’s hard to believe it’s time to recap what we’re working on in FEBRUARY.

From looking at our 2011 Development Calendar, I think it’s safe to say we have a jam-packed year ahead. But as always, things change so quickly in this business that I’ll limit the news in this post to the line-up we currently have in development. I’ll start with the most requested products: Windows Server 2008 R2 updates and Visual Studio 2010.

George called in some favors and has Troy helping him with the last few R2 updates for the Cert-70-646 and Cert-70-647 exams. Both of these updates are scheduled to release at the end of February. As George discussed in his previous post, if you already purchased these products, you can log into your Club Account at the end of the month to look for updates. If you’re waiting for the updates to roll out before buying a practice test, you can find out when the new version is released by checking the product description on our Web site. We’ve kept the Marketing team busy, and they’ve updated all product descriptions to include R2 as the new versions become available for sale.

Josh will finish up the VS 2010 practice tests. The 70-513 C# and 70-513 VB are available now, and the 70-516 will be released next month. The order of attack for the remaining practice test products in this track will be as follows:

  1. 70-518
  2. 70-521
  3. 70-519
  4. 70-523

I’m hoping Josh doesn’t check out this blog post because he’s focusing on one project schedule at a time, and I’m afraid seeing this list in writing may cause some anxiety.

You’ve probably read Robin’s posts about the A+ refresh, so it should come as no surprise that her first priority this year is to ensure that our practice tests adequately cover any new content being tested on the exams. As is usual practice here, we will wait to confirm that changes in the CompTIA exam are available nationwide and/or globally before releasing any new content in our practice tests, but since Robin’s made a lot of progress already, those A+ revisions to our products should release within days of the new exam content hitting test centers! Keep checking back with us, or ask Robin directly, and we’ll let you know as soon as we know regarding a release date.

Finally, our Oracle 11g practice tests products are getting a facelift. Most of this product line has been on the shelf for a while and it didn’t take us long to get Bob his very own project blueprint and schedule. He’ll be identifying the Release 2 version changes in the Oracle exams against our practice test content and closing any content gaps in our products. We should release the first revision, Cert-1Z0-051, by mid-March.

That covers the most recent projects & customer requests I’ve received, but if there’s a specific exam you’re studying for or a track you’re looking to explore this year, feel free to email us through the Transcender site or drop a comment at the end of this post. Either way, your emails always make their way to someone on this team and we’ll give you the most updated information we have regarding practice test products.

Thanks for reading & stay warm!
~ Aima

Oracle exam strategies

January 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Oracle, Study hints, Transcender news | 6 Comments
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There have been a number of posts on our Transcender blog that address the issue of how to prepare for a certification exam.  Recommendations have included various study techniques, training classes, and certification prep tests.   All good stuff! With this post, however, I’d like to speak specifically to the strategies you should employ when you’re actually taking the certification exam. 

Disclaimer: My experience comes from the Oracle certification exams, where I have taken approximately 10-12 certification exams and fortunately (or maybe just due to dumb luck) have passed them all thus far. So apply in other areas with caution.

Here are the approaches I recommend. You’ll notice that some of these suggestions apply to all tests, but again, I’m coming from the Oracle test taking experience specifically:

  • Try to schedule your test in the morning.   Most people will have an advantage if they take an exam when they are fresh and ready to go rather than trying to take the test after the stress of a long day at work.
  • Be sure to eat a good breakfast before your exam and don’t forget to grab your picture ID before leaving the house.
  • Read the question carefully.  Break it into pieces if it’s a long question.  Make sure you understand what the question is asking BEFORE you start to formulate an answer in your head. 
  • Answer the easy questions first.  (Please note, this is Oracle-exam specific as not all certification exams allow you to move forward & back between questions.) Feel free to skip around looking for the “low hanging fruit” .  I don’t believe Oracle advertises this, but before you can submit your exam it displays a very nice matrix which makes it obvious which questions haven’t been answered.   That way if you jumped around you can be absolutely sure that you didn’t forget to answer some questions
  • Determine the correct answer (if possible) before looking at the alternatives. 
  • If you aren’t sure of the answer, work with the various alternatives.  You are now going to have to make an educated best guess.  Here are some strategies:
    • Delete alternative choices which you know are wrong
    • Often you run into questions with double negatives.  For example, consider a true/false question which says “It is wrong to say that the Oracle DBA cannot determine a user’s password”.   The double negatives cancel each other out, and the question can be transformed into “It’s true to say the Oracle DBA can determine a user’s password”, or just “The Oracle DBA can determine a user’s password”.  Determining the truth value of the last statement is a lot simpler than working with the original statement that contained the double negative.
    • If there is no penalty for wrong answers, it always makes sense to make your best guess.  In the Oracle certification exams, your score is determined by the number of correct answers, so make sure you have an answer for every question on the test.  Sometimes guessing correctly on say 2 of the 5 questions which you totally don’t understand can mean the difference between passing and failing.
    • If you have two alternatives that are just the direct opposite of each other, it is likely that one of them is right.  For example, “the DBA can start up the database using SQL*Plus” and “the DBA cannot start up the database using SQL*Plus” in most cases implies that one of these statements is true.
    • Always be aware of the number of questions you answered thus far as a percent of the total questions, and how that compares to the number of minutes that have elapsed as a percent of the total minutes allowed for the test.  For example, if you have answered 15 questions so far and there is a total of 60 questions, you’ve answered 15/60 or 25% of the questions.  That means you should have consumed about 25% of the total time allotted for the test.  If the test is 2 hours (120 minutes), you should be 25% through the time, or 25% of 120 minutes, or 30 minutes.  If more than 30 minutes have gone by, you’re not on schedule to answer all the questions and you need to accelerate the pace.

Oracle certification exams typically contain between 60 and 90 questions. You should allow between 90 minutes-2 hours to complete, and aim for a passing score between 60% and 80%, depending on the test.  This is a ballpark, average scenario, but remember Oracle reserves the right to change this at any time so don’t hurt the messenger! When a new test is released and Oracle deems it more difficult than the previous version they may adjust the passing grade to a lower value than the passing grade of the previous version of that exam. 

I hope that these strategies will help you on exam day.  The best strategy is always to be prepared for the exam.  That means reading reference materials, using the software to confirm your understanding of the reading, and taking practice exams to test your readiness for the real thing.  Good luck to all with your career goals and however Oracle certification may be a part of that. 

Give me a holler if you have any Oracle exam day questions!
~ Bob

Glad to be here…so far

January 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Oracle, Transcender news | Leave a comment
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Hello all!

As you probably read earlier this week (Tuesday’s post) I’m new to Transcender and to Kaplan, but excited about the opportunity to once again combine my experience in education along with my Oracle background.  I’ll be developing Oracle certification practice tests for Kaplan IT Learning as well as contributing to this blog.  Contrary to popular belief (everyone keeps asking if I’m coming back Monday morning), I’ve really enjoyed working here. So look out for my profile (on the Team BIOS page) and let’s start an Oracle discussion!

Now that you know a little about me, I’d love to hear from you. Have any of you received either your OCA or OCP in the last 90 days?  If so, congratulations!!!  Let us know what your experience was like and what was especially helpful in preparing yourself for the exams?  Do any of you plan to take an OCA or OCP exam in the next 90 days? If so, best of luck! Let us know what your study habits are and what your approach is to passing your next exam?

Again, glad to be the newbie and I look forward to having you stop by and say hello.
~Bob

Obtainig Your Oracle 11g Database Certified Associate credential

November 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Certification Paths, Oracle | Leave a comment
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In a world where everybody claims to have the skill sets for a particular job, how do you distinguish yourself? By getting yourself certified. Oracle has rolled out the Oracle 11g Database Certified Associate credential.  You can get this certification by passing two exams. The first exam can be any one of the following three:

  • Introduction to Oracle9i SQL (1z0-007) This test has 52 questions and a duration of 120 minutes. You need to get at least 71% of the questions correct to achieve a passing score. The exam price for this test is $95 instead of the normal $125. You can take this exam online instead of traveling to a testing center to take the test. However, this test covers the older Oracle9i version. This test will expire before other tests that you take to achieve any certification. In my opinion, you should test on the latest version.
  • Oracle Database SQL Expert (1z0-047). This test has 70 questions and a duration of 120 minutes. You need to get at least 66% of the questions correct to achieve a passing score. This test costs $125 and you must take this test at a Pearson Vue testing center.
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I (1z0-051) This test has 70 questions and a duration of 120 minutes. You need to get at least 60% of the questions correct to achieve a passing score. The cost of this test is $95 instead of $125. You can take this exam online instead of traveling to a testing center to take the test. I would suggest taking this test because it covers the latest version, Oracle Database 11g. The test can be taken at your convenience since you can take the test online. You do not have to take time off from work to travel to a test center. You can also save some money because the test is $95 instead of $125.

The second exam needed for certification is the Oracle Database 11g: Administration I (1z0-052). This test has 70 questions and has a duration of 120 minutes. You need to get at least 66% of the questions correct to achieve a passing score. The test costs $125 and you must take the test at a Pearson Vue testing center.

None of the above tests are easy. The best way to pass any of the above exams is to know what is on the exam. You can go to the Oracle Web site to find recommended training and prep materials and exam topics. You should go through each of the Exam Topics for each exam. Once you have mastered each exam topic, you should take a practice exam to find where you are deficient. I highly recommend Transcender’s Oracle certification practice tests.

You can also move up to the Oracle 11g Database Administrator Certified Professional once you have achieved your Associate credential. You must take an instructor-led Oracle approved training course either online or at a training center.  You can take any of the following classes to qualify:

  • Oracle Database 11g: Introduction to SQL
  • Oracle Database 11g: Introduction to SQL Ed 1 LVC
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals l Ed 1 LVC
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL and PL/SQL Fundamentals
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL and PL/SQL Fundamentals Ed 1 LVC
  • Oracle Database 11g: Develop PL/SQL Program Units
  • Oracle Database 11g: Administration Workshop I
  • Oracle Database 11g: Administration Workshop I Ed 1.1 LVC
  • Oracle Database 11g: Administration Workshop II
  • Oracle Database 11g: Data Warehousing Fundamentals

Then you must pass the Oracle 11g Database: Administration II Exam (1a0-053).

If you are one of those over-achievers, you can strive for the Oracle 11g Database Administrator Certified Master credential. This is not for the weak. You have to complete a two advanced  hands-on classes from the following list:

  • Oracle Database 11g: Performance Tuning
  • Oracle Database 11g: RAC Administration
  • Oracle Database 11g: Data Guard Administration
  • Oracle Database 11g: Implement Streams
  • Oracle Database 11g: Security
  • Oracle Database 11g: Administer a Data Warehouse
  • Oracle Database 11g: OLAP Essentials
  • Oracle Database 11g: SQL Tuning Workshop
  • Oracle Database 11g: Program with PL/SQL
  • Oracle Database 11g: Program with PL/SQL Ed 1 LVC
  • Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL
  • Oracle Spatial 11g: Essentials
  • Oracle Database 11g: New Features for Administrators
  • Oracle Database 11g: New Features for 9i DBAs

These classes can be taken online or at a training center.   You must also pass a grueling examination that takes two days. Two days, I tells ya!  This examination is not offered through Pearson Vue but at Oracle’s testing center in Chicago. Oh yeah, the cost of this exam is $2000. Hotel, airfare and the cost of psychological care that you may need after taking the test is not included.

Happy certifying,

–George Monsalvatge

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