Becoming an Oracle Certified Master: My Ticket to a Stellar DBA Career



Published08 July 2021at19:21, updated on27 April 2022at10:42

Becoming an Oracle Certified Master: My Ticket to a Stellar DBA Career cover

Born in Brazil, Rodrigo Mufalani is an expert Oracle DBA working at IBM as an Infrastructure Specialist for hybrid cloud projects. He recently sat down with us to discuss how he got started in his DBA career and how becoming an Oracle Certified Master and Oracle ACE catapulted his career and allowed him and his family to start a new life in Luxembourg.

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How did you get started in your DBA career?

My journey in the database world started a long time ago, back in 2004, and it happened by chance. 

I was at college at that time and applied to a developer position at a company, but my programming logic was not as good as that expected from a developer at the company. But the HR department saw that I did pretty well on the SQL part of the test and invited me to apply to an internship position as a DBA. 

Why did you decide to pursue that opportunity and go down the Oracle DBA career path?

When they offered me the position of DBA, I started looking on the Internet for what exactly a DBA was. I had no idea at that time.

I had started my career doing first line IT support, helping out with Windows installations and network stuff. But I was searching for something closer to the development side of things, as that’s what I was studying in college. So, that offer was perfect.

And that’s how I became an Oracle DBA. I think it was destiny. 

And now you are an Oracle Certified Master (OCM) and Oracle ACE. How has that helped you in your DBA career?

It has helped a lot in my career. It’s why I am speaking to you from Luxembourg. Until 2018, I used to live in Brazil with my family (my wife and kid). Because after the certification, I got an invitation from a company based here in Europe to move here and help them with their customers.

How is the exam to become an OCM?

I cannot talk a lot about it because I have an NDA, but I can tell you it’s pretty hard. 

You have to prove you have hands-on expertise in a list of skill sets in different areas, some of which you rarely use on a daily basis. And it’s pretty hard because you have time, your mind and the exam itself against you. It’s a two-day exam at Oracle’s headquarters, and I took my exam in the UK.  

At the moment, and due to Covid-19, the exam is suspended, so there have not been new Oracle OCMs since 2020. But the future OCM exam, if there is one, will probably be related to the cloud and offered online.

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What about the Oracle ACE award? When did you receive that one? How has it helped you in your DBA career?

I can’t believe it happened more than ten years ago, in 2009. Especially because it’s not an easy distinction to maintain over the years. If you receive the award but you don’t keep participating in the community, sharing your knowledge with the community, you lose the award. 

It’s funny because I remember I was reading the email in which they notified me that I had been awarded the distinction when my boss at that time called me into his office to go over some stuff. And I told him I just got awarded the Oracle ACE award, and he goes “Oh, congratulations! But what exactly is that?” He just had no idea. It was so long ago. I was the third person in all of Brazil to be given the award. 

The program has grown a lot since then, and it’s a pleasure to continue being part of it. I like talking to a lot with people and love to do presentations and talks at conferences. I founded the Luxembourg Oracle User Group with some colleagues, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several conferences. Also, I even had the opportunity to go to Azerbaijan before the Covid pandemic, and it was amazing. I have met so many great people through these conferences. 

I must really thank the Oracle ACE program for giving me the opportunity to meet all these amazing people.

What is your main role at IBM?

Right now, I am helping with a large migration project for a big customer. I am doing some automation and am involved in all the migration activities as part of the cloud migration team. So, ensuring performance, that all is done according to the plan and on time, etc.  

For the moment, I am mainly helping with Oracle-related subjects. My role is a little bit wider, spanning to all things database-related, but for the moment I am mainly playing with Oracle.  

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As a DBA, what are the most challenging aspects of working in a hybrid cloud environment?

Nothing in particular. The same challenges that we have all the time. So, tight deadlines for delivering projects, ensuring as little downtime as possible, etc. The customer always wants to have the, and we try to deliver the best to them.

What advice would you give to those starting in IT?

My advice for the starters in the field of technology would be to read and research as much as possible. Try to pay attention to the senior people around you and don’t be embarrassed to ask questions. But ask questions after you try. Of course, in a safe environment, not in the production environment.  

I prefer that someone asked me after trying these or that step and failing to find a solution. Sometimes, people get so accustomed to getting every answer at once that they don’t even try.

Check out more of our interviews from our podcast episodes.

For more advice on cloud careers, make sure to follow Rodrigo on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as on his blog.

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