Date: May 22, 2019
Article by: Joe Malewicki
Since I recently lived through the fun of getting myself Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Architect Associate certified, I wanted to share a little information on how I prepared for the exam. Please note, the opinions, words and views expressed in this article are ONLY a brain dump from my little techy head and there’s no guarantee that if you follow my training regime you will pass. Or maybe you’ll kick my score out of the park by following these steps in which I would expect you to buy me a beer and send me a compliment!
So let’s go….
I wasn’t able to take an actual paid Oracle University class due to time limitations, but I did manage to attend a couple of the free live training sessions found here:
You’ll find a lot of the same content they cover listed below in this article. The biggest issue with these free sessions is availability and timing. I didn’t have 3 months to wait around to cover the free sessions they offered. That being said, I always live by the motto, “if it’s free it’s for me” so I still registered for them all and believe it or not, I’m still taking them. It’s a great post certification exam way to keep your skills up!
To really get started on my training plan I first grabbed the published Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Architect Associate certification path study guide to find out what exactly Oracle’s cloud learning team suggests I learn on this OCI certification journey.
In this PDF (updated February 2019) you’ll find a great list of content as well as resources to help prep for the exam. The most useful resources I found were the series of YouTube based videos:
https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/iaas/training (if the link doesn’t work search YouTube for OCI Level 100 or 200)
I ran through all of the Level 100 videos before I even touched the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) console. I found that seeing everything “once” before helped me to make a lot more efficient use of my practical time once I got my hands into it.
Here’s a list of the Level 100 Videos I watched in order and their times:
|OCI Level 100 – Getting Started with OCI||12|
|OCI Level 100 – Identify and Access Management||44|
|OCI Level 100 – Virtual Cloud Network||70|
|OCI Level 100 – Connectivity||28|
|OCI Core 100 – Compute||40|
|OCI Level 100 – Block Volume||42|
|OCI Level 100 – File Storage||44|
|OCI Level 100 – Object Storage||38|
|OCI Level 100 – Load Balancing||50|
|OCI Level 100 – Database||38|
|OCI Level 100 Autonomous Database||47|
|OCI Level 100 – Monitoring||37|
|OCI Level 100 – Edge Services||40|
After spending 530 minutes/8+ hours (yes I timed it) on the treadmill staring at my iPad I decide to “get practical” and signed up for a Free 300 hour trial for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS – OCI) offering:
You get one free trial so plan your practical hands-on time accordingly, so you don’t waste this great trial.
If you’re like me and want to truly dive into new technology, I’d suggest opening your wallet and spending a few bucks to access some fantastic training labs:
This is by no means a commercial (nobody seems to want to pay me for advice) – I don’t get anything for that referral, I just think their stuff was pretty cool. They have one free level 100 tutorial you can try out to see if you like their format. The best part is, you don’t need an OCI trial or account to use these training labs. You can pick a topic which makes sense for the lesson you are trying to learn and the OCI environment required is staged for you to use for that lesson.
The combination of the Level 100 videos, using the OCI trial for a solid week (I tried out almost every feature in there) and spending a few bucks on those training labs (the Oracle Virtual Cloud Network – VCN and Oracle Cloud Autonomous Database) all got me VERY comfortable with the OCI console.
I then decided it was time to see if this old guy still has it in him to learn. I took a stab at the Oracle provided Practice Exam (if the link doesn’t work, just google it, you’ll find it).
I was able to answer successfully about 80% of the questions after the work I had put in so far. (not bad although my high school son told me if he came home with an 80% I’d take away Xbox rights for a week – he’s right)
To kick it up a notch I went ahead and started watching the Level 200 series videos. Those were “OK.” I think the 100’s were a lot clearer on the presentation/learning angle. The topics range widely for the OCI certification exam so for preparation, I chose to watch (and re-watch) the key areas from level 100 I felt needed some deeper explanation.
Specifically, the following videos were VERY useful (hint hint hint) for the exam prep:
Level 200 – Virtual Cloud Network
Level 200 – Storage
Level 200 – Load Balancing
Level 200 – Terraform
Level 200 – Identity and Access Management
Level 200 – Database (pay close attention to the migration slides)
After going blurry and losing about 12 pounds from walking/hiking and jogging on my treadmill (bad knees ya know) I capped off my learning time by reading Oracle documentation and a series of whitepapers they provide.
So final prep and words of advice for the test……
The exam is NOT an easy one. Yes, the passing score is only 65% but the questions are VERY specific so studying and getting hands on practice are essential for success. Without divulging exam details (hey I had to earn it through hard work and a lot of time) I can offer up some words of advice – remember Oracle is a Database company – KNOW YOUR OCI DATABASE content.
Also – OCI like AWS or Azure is a Public cloud service/solution for the most part (with lots of added enterprise class technology to enhance that). Keep in mind public cloud means connectivity requirements which means what???? Security which means what???? NETWORKING CONCEPTS so make sure Oracle’s Virtual Cloud Network concepts are engrained!
Outside of level 100’s 200’s and OCI hands on labs/trial/videos – the rest was just reading and practice.
At this point I was feeling pretty good at what I’ve learned so I tried the Oracle provided Practice Exam one last time (if the link doesn’t work, just google it, you’ll find it).
This time I was able to answer successfully 100% of the questions. (plenty of Xbox time for this guy!)
From there it was a matter of scheduling my exam test and going for it. A word of advice – some test centers offer the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Architect Associate certification exam online but I would NOT do that. The system is very picky, and it would stink to have an invalid test result due to a glitch. I feel that going to a test center (although it’s a pain) will let you get your head straight with the material and take you out of your comfort zone and I’ve found that helps to hyper focus on the task in front of you. Just my suggestion but it seems to work for me.
As much as I wish I could say I bagged 100% on the exam – alas, I only scored an 83%. Afterward I recalled several of the mistakes I made when I went back and reviewed, but that’s OK. The practice I got prepping as well as the hands-on experience since then has been priceless and I know my clients are much better off that I endured this work and had to master this information.
Last food for thought…. Make sure you register for “Your Acclaim” so you can have bragging rights to all of your friends once you kick butt and pass the exam!!!:
I hope this article was helpful for anyone interested in the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Architect Associate certification exam preparation. I would love any and all feedback, comments, questions you might have or to know your experiences!!!
Thank you and good luck!
I’ve tried to create a list of the URL’s you can find a lot of very relevant information for the OCI certification exam itself. Please feel free to take a look and if you have some suggestions to add to the list, please let me know!