>I was asked to sit in on a 9i DBA course a couple of weeks ago.
The training was being given to some of the engineers from our support services provider (we outsource our network and infrastructure support).
I was asked along just to see how the training went, and to provide specifics about our systems if necessary.
I thought it would be a good idea also as the course was around 9i, which we are currently looking to upgrade to, so I might pick up a few tips!
It was a 3 day course, the first day of which concentrated on an introduction to SQL and using SQLPlus.
Out of the 4 delegates, only one had some database experience, using MS SQL Server, the others were complete Newbies.
On looking at creating tables, one delegate asked about the meaning of terms such as ‘initial’, ‘next’, and ‘pctfree’.
They were told simply – ‘you don’t need to know that just yet’.
Similarly, on asking the difference between a database and an instance, the given answer was ‘they are the same thing, you don’t need to worry about it’.
I’m not disputing the trainers decision to not go into a lot of detail.
On a 3 day course it isn’t always advisable, and too much detail can be overload for a Newbie!
So what does a Newbie need to worry about?
Newbies need to learn the basics to form a level of knowledge on which to build.
What has worked well for me the last few years, is to firstly try and gain a broad understanding of all areas of DBA work, without going into too much detail, and without trying to specialise.
I’ve also tended to learn on a ‘need to know’ basis.
Here’s what I would recommend as a starting point:
1) Learn the structure of an Oracle database.
Know the different ‘parts’ that make up a database, and what each of them does.
You should be able to note the difference between datafiles, controlfiles and redo log files.
2) Learn how the different parts work together.
Know the different processes that exist and what they do.
You should be able to explain what the log writer or database writers do. At this stage, it is enough to know what is done, rather than how it is done!
3) Learn the concepts of backup and recovery.
Know the difference between archivelog mode and noarchivelog mode, and what that means to the recovery process.
Understand hot backups and cold backups and when you would use each one.
Once you have a good grounding in the above areas, you will be able to build on your knowledge.
Knowing how things are supposed to work will also make it easier to troubleshoot when things don’t work.
In part II, I’ll look at how to build on the basics and where to go next.