Jidaw Systems

Oracle: Application Developer or Database Administrator

Hello Jidaw,

I'm new to the IT sector. After much deliberation, I've decided to take an Oracle course. It's the Application developer from Oracle. I only have a vague idea of what a developers does and was wondering if you could please paint me the whole picture. I would like to know what they do as professionals and what the future holds for a person who has the certification.

Also much as I'd like to take the Oracle Application Developer course, I'm being advised to take the Administrator course instead. The person said that administrators are more sought after than developers. Please, is this true? I'm really interested in the developer course but what use will it be if it can't fetch a decent pay?



Dear FA,

Thanks for your mail. It always makes sense to get as much useful information on programs you are want to invest your resources (time, money effort, etc) on. This helps to improve the quality of your decision-making. Being wise means knowing if a program is good and if it is good for you. And not all good programs are necessarily good for you.

A lot depends on you and not what people believe or say. You can't afford to allow your career decisions to swing with the opinion of others. The only way to do what's best for you is to build up knowledge on opportunities and challenges in your area of interest. There are opportunities in all areas of IT just as there are challenges. There may be more challenges than opportunities in some than others. It can also depend on your background. But what is important is that you have the interest and a passion for your area of interest. Not only that you must have the right attitude towards acquisition of knowledge and experience. 

Passion and motivation helps you to advance and sustain yourself in times of opportunities or challenges. So what is your career plan? Where are you? Where are you going? You must have a direction and a sense of purpose. To be realistic, your career plan should be based on your interests, requirements, personal self-assessment, skills, experience and your career goals (http://www.jidaw.com/careerplan.html).


Oracle Database

In the database field, Oracle is the recognized market leader. Oracle software suits all businesses. It has the most robust database and supports highly critical systems with both database and development tools. This creates a need for Oracle Database Administrators as well as Application Developers. Oracle has therefore identified and created certification tracks for these job profiles.

Oracle Application Developer

An application developer is more of a business analyst / software developer. The developer is concerned with planning and designing a database whose structure meets the users current and future needs for data storage and reporting. This is very similar to programming in that developmental languages are used to develop database applications.  Simply put, Application Developers develop applications on Oracle. This requires sound understanding and grasp of SQL, PL/SQL, and the ability to develop Internet applications using Form Builder and Report Builder. Most modern technologies including e-commerce rely on database systems. And today's application developer must be equipped with Internet skills because of database advancements and developments in this area, most especially in e-commerce.

In developing systems, application developers must have the skills and attributes of a programmer such as logical thinking, attention to detail, ability to focus for long periods. Common activities include: gathering and analyzing requirements, coding and testing. Visit the Programming/Developers page (http://www.jidaw.com/certarticles/programcerts.html) to gain detailed information about the Oracle Application Developer exams.

Oracle Database Administrator

A Database administrator is more of a data facilitator - making sure data is secure, available and is used productively. This involves administrative, maintenance and routine activities such as installing database, user account maintenance, management of backups, performance tuning and data recovery. This requires good knowledge of the Oracle database architecture. Essentially the DBA is responsible for designing and maintaining an organization's database, and ensuring that data is only available only to authorized users (http://www.jidaw.com/dba.html).  Visit the DBA Certification page (http://www.jidaw.com/certarticles/databasecerts.html) to gain detailed information about the Oracle DBA exams

It can be seen that though both the Database administrator and the Application Developer are critical to the database, there are significant differences in work expectations. 

Before we conclude let's take another perspective on the differences from an Oracle specialist:

"I honestly think it depends on the person. Developer courses are more time consuming and change frequently. Also, developer has a wider range of things to learn. There's JDeveloper, Developer 2000, Developer6i, Java/XML related issues and all sorts. The database administrator (DBA) is more streamlined and stable. You don't have to study to hard to grasp it and have tools that will help you understand these stuffs. Almost everything is web based now and Oracle does not really seem to pull its own when it comes to its UI (user interface) tools compared to UI tools like VB, Java, C-Sharp, Visual C++, Microsft.Net, ASP, ColdFusion to mention a few. But Oracle beats all comers completely when it comes to database. From my observation of the market here, the market demand for oracle developers has not been that great for sometime.  If you're a developer, you can't limit yourself to Oracle UI tools because other software from other companies like Microsoft, Sun and others seem to do better there and have a higher demand. But an Oracle DBA is solid and can easily transition to other databases.

In a nutshell, as long as the person understands that he/she will have to be ready to learn a lot of other programming languages/tools because they keep enhancing the way programs are written. So one has to constantly study or else your knowledge becomes obsolete".

From the views above and insight into the nature of work, you can see that it's an easier learning curve to become a DBA compared to a developer. And in order to be a successful developer, you have to learn other programming languages and constantly be on your toes learning new technologies.

The ball is back in your court. What is your choice based on your personal and career focus? You need to analyze the opportunities and make sound decisions in your interest. Don't think only of immediate benefits but also your long-term career goals. Assume responsibility and craft your career strategy. 

In which area do you have the passion? What will excite or motivate you? DBA is routine, faster to acquire but demand is steady, while Application development is more dynamic, but requires more continuous learning. No career is better than the other. It depends on what you want to achieve. What is your purpose?

The following are some other issues that you should consider:

Certification and Experience

Certifications are a great way to acquire skills and knowledge you need. But experience is also important for career growth. Oracle Application Developer or DBA, what plans do you have for experience? Training and certification gives you advantage, but you will still have to make the effort to get experience and prove yourself on the job. An Oracle certification is helpful but is no guarantee of work experience.

A lot depends on your marketing and soft skills, your background as well as the extent of Oracle deployment where you live. We all live and work in different environments with varying levels of Oracle deployment. What is the Oracle spread where you are, or where you hope to be? In your business environment what is the size of the installed Oracle base? How many organizations have Oracle installed? Opportunities will exist with organizations that have Oracle installed as well as consulting firms that support and develop Oracle applications and installations. Having an Oracle qualification is good but you can only apply knowledge you have acquired in an environment that has Oracle database installed, or in an organization that supports clients using Oracle. Have you done your research on such opportunities?

For example, in developing countries, the cost limits acquisition of Oracle as well as activities relating to Oracle support and installation. If you're a newcomer in such an environment, getting Oracle work experience may not be straightforward, with or without an Oracle certification.


Certification or not, Application Developer or DBA, make sure you are strong in the fundamentals. You need to understand the underlying concepts of database. Don't restrict yourself to Oracle. Learn about Microsoft Access even though it is in the small league. Understand basic concepts of Tables, Views, Queries, Primary Keys, Foreign Keys, Types of Indexes, Columns and the different data types.

And also learn concepts of tablespaces, partitions, stored procedures, packages and functions, business objects, etc.

Get books and Internet resources and start from there. Your interest or quest will motivate you to pursue more once you have some grasps of the basics and concepts.

I hope this has given insight that will help you in taking the right decision for your IT career. There is no formula for career success. Be wise and use what you have - information, resources, opportunities and a can-do attitude!

All the best in your IT Career,


Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Founder of Jidaw.com (http://www.jidaw.com)   

What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this content resource Here.



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June 1, 2010


The Team @ Jidaw says:


Glad you all found the information interesting and useful. Please circulate and share with others. 


June 1, 2010


Gbadebo Kenny of Agege, Lagos, Nigeria says:



Job well done, interesting and insightful article. I am an IT graduate considering DBA or Developer, I have really gained about what it is all about now. As a lady i will rather go for DBA. Thanks. If i may ask can you be on your own as a DBA?


January 18, 2009


Segun of Lagos, Nigeria says:



This article is an eye opener. It has resolved so many disturbing questions from within. You are great, thanks. 


January 17, 2009


Shilpa Pradip Pushkar Tiwari of India, Gujarat, Anand says:



As I was just confused whether to go for DBA /Developer course , i think this article has really cleared my confusion. Thanx boss. 


December 15, 2008


Samuel of Abuja, Nigeria says:



Excellent Article, It is Eye Opening and Informative But I have a question. Is the Nigerian environment conducive for Oracle Deployment? 


October 29, 2008


Olayinka Bello of Lagos, Nigeria says:



The article was insightful and daring. You have really helped in preparing my mind for the chances ahead as a prospective DBA. Thanks! 


September 2, 2008


Neeraj of India says:



Well written article. All the points have been covered in detail. Excellent for those moving to Oracle Domain. 


June 25, 2008


McLaine Keari from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea says:



Thanks a lot for this article. I am an IT graduate, pondering on taking Oracle Developer as a career and this article really help me in seeing the roles they perform in a nutshell. Well, since i like challenges and learning new technologies, Oracle developer it is. 

January 16, 2007

Theophilus from Zaria says:


Your article is great and inspiring for the determined, willing to excel in IT industry. Am a novice in oracle db. As a user of the application, I found the tool very great, and wish to know it greatly. I opt for an Administrator having read your article. Though the dream is being a developer. But how and where could I get relevant materials (books, handouts or literature) that will build my knowledge in this field to enable me put the best IT industry.

October 8, 2006

A. T. O.  from Benin says:


Dba jobs. It is really wonderful being on your site. I've been a certified Dba for a year now, still looking for where to begin gaining experience irrespective of the money i am been paid. It  will be indeed wonderful if i and others can be told where to go to, Or alternatively have a Dba trainee office where those that are certified can come to learn on previous jobs or work or projects, so that we can have experience and also have value for our money. 

I live in Benin, work with a telecom company, as a customer care officer,  that does not use Oracle database 


August 21, 2006

Bharath from India says:


Doubts. Thanks i found your site to tell me difference between a developer, I am a trainee and I've been given an option of a developer or to take DBA, i think i have the right attitude as you mentioned to take dba field, 


June 20, 2006

Peter from Lagos says:


I also concur with previous individuals who have repeatedly cited the problem of getting the all important experience. Most firms do not want to hire people who are fresh in the Oracle World. One has to persevere and keep the fire burning if not one can easily get frustrated. I am an Oracle Certified Database Associate still looking for a place to work, it hasn't been easy so far because everyone wants someone who is vastly experienced. 


May 29, 2006

Alan from Lagos says:


Where do you get experience? I think this forum is a valuable guide for intending oracle pros. Also providing information on how and where to gather that valuable experience for fresh dba/developers is a common question I think You should try to address.


May 20, 2006

Wole from Lagos says:


This is a very good Forum, I must say, this is a site where every aspiring guys should always watch out for. Its very educative and makes you know to an extent what is going on in the world of IT. 
Everybody knows that no company will want to give it a try and error thing when it comes to managing their most valuable data and i must say here that that is why they look for people with vest experience when it comes to employment, especially on the side of oracle DBA,
I was once a victim of such but this is what i did during my time and i believe that if you do the same, it will help you a lot. I started Oracle when i knew nothing about Computer, but the zeal was burning in me to know Oracle so i decided to give it my best shot. I gathered all the materials i could on Oracle and i also made sure that i got friends that are professionals to be my close pals simply because i wanted to build a career in IT and honestly, it really helped me. i also read like no man business because what worth doing is worth doing well. I bought a lot of materials, got a system for myself and cooked up a scenario for myself. and asked my friends who has already being working with Oracle when i needed to know what's going on in the world of Oracle, 

i was made to understand that to be a very good Oracle DBA, you must be equally good on the programming and must be very vast when it comes to the OS supporting Oracle Database. All these i took upon myself since i want to make it in the world of IT. Even though i graduated in the University as a Microbiologist. 
But today I work for a telecom firm, a part time lecturer in LASU teching Computer, I'm an Oracle DBA/Developer and Solaris Lecturer.
What i just want to bring out of this is that you need to do a lot of assignment yourself if you really want to excel in the world of IT. You don't need to wait for a company to employ you before you start building up your experience, 

You can start it up right in your room, Get materials and see how live problems are solved and try to do the same on your datebase at home. If you don't have a computer, read as much you can, Lay your hands on books that deals with live xperience.
And with this i can assure you that companies will come looking for you.

May 12, 2006

Mohammed Saidu Koro from Abuja says:


I was opportune to read some comments and honest advice given to the intending Developers/DBA. I equally benefits from the piece. I Just got my OCA-DBA and preparing to obtain OCP. As you rightly said that experience is equally important to excel, my major problem now is how to get somewhere to acquire this required experience. I am really ready to get the experience but could not lay my hand on any place for now. I am still in search of one. I shall be grateful if you can help, I don't mind to do it for free as long as I will be expose to the Oracle environment and see physically how things work. Thanks. 

Mar 31, 2006

Viswa says:


I was looking for the articles on 'how to become an oracle developer' and found this article really interesting for giving me a good insight into what to do really. Thanks a lot!

Adewale from Abuja says:


Great Advice! I agree. You really need to know what your passion is.


Ron from Mauritius says:

Thanks but I need to know more about what a database administrator does.


Alabi A from Akure says:

Great advice that rekindles my interest in programming.



Oseni Yaya Ayokanmi  from Abuja says:

I welcome the ideas posted in the write-ups, They are key points the new comers needs to know.
Infact, I want a new comer to take my own case as a case study.

After very attractive and made to believe information from the Scholarship program in 2002, I sat for the exam and I eventually started the certifications. I got certified in oracle9i Database Administration in September 2003.

After my certification, to get job is a big problem. I was invited by Diamond Bank, Capital Bank International, and some other private companies, What they asked me was my experience, they did not feel for my certification, I was told bluntly that they needed somebody that can do the job not the certification.

I think about the money and time I spent to obtain the certification, I have to look for a small company where I can start gaining little experience with a very small salary.

Though now, I am in a project understudying an experienced Oracle DBA who is not certified but a guru when it comes to Oracle Database Administration. I now understand that to be an Oracle DBA is more than getting the certification. There are a lot of factors you need to consider. Some of these factors include: You must be vast in Operating System where Oracle Database is installed e.g You must be good in Unix Administration whether on Solaris or Linux. And you must be ready to read widely and understand because Oracle is wide.

Presently, I can say I have just started coming up as Oracle DBA.

Finally, If you want to become Oracle DBA, think about how to acquire experience first, not the big pay, the big pay comes after the experience. 

I am presently working as Junior DBA in Oracle E-Business suite project of Central Bank of Nigeria.



Apeh Gabriel Sunday from Lagos says:

Thank you for "Shinning my Eyes". Now I can continue my slow and steady pace to becoming an Oracle Developer. Knowing the codes, not certification crazy. Once again thank you. 


Oye who lives in London and works in Essex says:


Excellent article! I too am trying to decide between becoming an Oracle DBA or an Application Developer. I currently develop programs in COBOL but have lost interest in it, and feel that programming in general is not for me. Thanks!



Echelibe John  Media support and computer services (trainee) in Lagos says:


 I'm very pleased reading your article. Well I'm also Oracle Certified Database Administrator with little experience. Cus of the market. I Have keen interest in database but not got the right working experience, and also might have misplaced my priorities cus im a school cert holder but into IT. Well i don't want to regret that cus there is a purpose. Now my parents are dead and not a better job to enhance my skill and also to further my education.



Victoria in Lagos says:


That was a vey educative article but its not that easy in getting experience that is. I'm a certified oracle application developer but all the places i've applied to all require experience and i ask them how am i supposed to get this if no one is ready to give me a trial. I'm even ready to be a trainee with minimal pay just to use my knowledge in solving real-time solutions.
Do u have any ideas were i can apply to? I really need practical solutions.



Akanbi Olayinka Abdulrahman in Nigeria says:


Well, After spending much on Oracle Hands on training and certification, You still have cases of Oracle Skilled and certified persons hustling day and night searching for Jobs after being rejected in most places because of experience. In the developed countries this could be a case, But In developing countries it should'nt be, If work experience is a prerequisite, Then where do you start From?



Emeka Ejiofor in Nigeria says:


It is true about these certification thing but i believe it's a step in the right direction. About the experience thing it is something u get on the way if u're really commited to be a DBA or AD. It might even mean you not getting paid for your effort(time). All i mean to say just keep pushing and keeping making contact in the field and you will succeed.



Jamilu Jiddere in Kaduna says:


NO knowledge is a waste! With the way I.T is going in this age (information age) it'll be hard to keep on ignoring the ADs & the DBAs. the way i see it it is only a matter of time. Sooner or later the employers 'll need us more than we need them with or without experience, believe no matter how long it takes any body into I.T now will be glad he did whatever course. It is expensive time consuming and all but it'll surely pay now or later. Just have more patience. 


Aug 17, 2005

Collins Edward in Lagos says:


Good job. I got to this site via the google.com, i want to commend your effort. it was quite useful for me in particular. this is because i, at the moment before now, had my interest in DBA divided but now, i'm taking that training. but truly, i always wonder, if i put in so much to acquire this skill, will i truly be paid in the way i expected it or will be one of those stories that one would not be able to tell? I really wish you could say something to me concerning this.

Aug 21, 2005

Olanrewaju Akinwumi in Abuja says:


Your Advise was precise and useful. I now believe emphasis should be placed on experience rather than certification. You don't blame employees for choosing experience over certification, because, certification you can buy with money, but experience, no way!

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