Earlier this month, I cleared all 5 OCI certifications along with Oracle Autonomous Db. In this post, I’ll talk about my preparation journey starting from Foundations all the way to OCI Professional. This post was originally meant for OCI Professional only, but I believe it is important to talk about the background on how to get there. So, we will go one certification at a time as it is important to start from the basics.
I’ve never worked on OCI before and one reason I got into OCI is because of the Free certifications and training materials offered by Oracle. So, for those of you who are giving these free exams, all the way up to OCI Professional Architect, I would highly recommend go in order from OCI Foundations, OCI Architect Associate, OCI Developer, OCI Operations, OCI Architect Professional. The reason being with each OCI certification you learn something new and there is obviously an overlap in all these certifications. Having prior experience on AWS and Azure definitely helped me in the OCI certifications.
I’ve tried to include the official feedback from Oracle Exams as an FYI for all you, so that you can learn from my mistakes.
OCI Foundations (1Z0-1085)
This is perhaps the easiest of all the OCI certifications. The objective of this certification is to make you familiar with the different OCI services available. Overall, I prepared for a couple of days for this cert. You can check out my earlier blog here for this OCI Foundation cert. Important things to remember for this cert:
- Some common cloud fundamentals like Capex-Opex, Iaas, Paas, Scale in/out, RTO vs RPO.
- Understand how OCI is structured in terms of Regions, Availability Domains (AD’s), Fault Domains.
- Because this is foundations course, you don’t need to dig deep but understand the storage services offered at a high level. Know what is Boot Volume, Block Volume, NVMe, Object Storage.
- Networking is an important topic for all OCI certs. Again, understand what is VCN, the different gateways (IGW, NAT Gateway, DRG, Service Gateway), along with IPSec VPN and Fast Connect.
- Within security know what is Route Table, Security List, Network Security Group, Web Application Firewall, MFA, Federation.
- As with all certifications know what is IAM and Role Based Access control
- Oracle is known for its Database(s) so it goes without saying to know services offered here like Exadata, Autonomous db, RAC, Golden Gate, Data Guard.
- Finally know what the pricing and the SLA model is. New videos got added after I took the exam.
- You can learn from my mistakes. Below is a snapshot of topics where I did not answer right
OCI Architect Associate (1Z0-1072)
To begin with check out Mukesh Sharma’s blog that talks about in depth of all the topics covered in the exam. It is important that you provision the resources at least once in OCI so that you have hands on experience. This exam is a little more practical (mostly multiple-choice answers) when compared to foundations. Here are the tips:
- You will get scenario-based questions and some of them might be around how to triage the set up. So, having an understanding of IGW (Gateway’s in general), Route Tables, Security List, NSG to name a few is important. Try spinning up a VM and then terminating it as well. You might see questions around termination. If you are up for the challenge, use a Load Balancer with autoscaling – again an important topic for the exam.
- In almost all exams you get the questions for connectivity with On-Premises network using either FastConnect or IPSec VPN. Understand the practical shown in the video.
- Understand the CIDR block range. It is the basics of all networking for all cloud vendors and often people get confused in this topic.
- It is important to remember what type of database to use when and for what option the db storage and/or CPU can be changed. You will see File Storage questions (along with troubleshooting) as well.
- High Availability is an important concept. Having a basic understanding of Oracle Data Guard, Active Data Guard, Golden Gate is important. Also, understand Cross Region copy of Object Storage, Backups of Object Storage (automated, manual) along with their retention.
- Cloning from Boot Volume, Block Volume, cloning an instance, Cloning a Volume group, Autonomous data base is another important topic. Image Import/Export enable you to share custom image across tenancies and region.
- You will definitely see questions on Object Storage, Pre-Authenticated Requests, Multi-Part upload, Hot/Archive Storage, how object storage plays an important role for migrating from on-premises to OCI.
- For additional practice, check out our free exams here on reviewNprep.com
- As you can tell from the below screenshot, I did a lot of mistakes in the OCI Architect Associate Exam. You can read more details in my earlier blog for this.
OCI Developer (1Z0-1084)
If you have been a developer in your career on a distributed architecture, this exam would not be that difficult for you. Here are some important tips:
- As a developer it is expected that you are working on API’s and should also be familiar with API Gateway. A very important topic and must not be missed.
- Some questions in the exam were truly Kubernetes and had nothing to do with OCI. So, brush up your K8 skills if you haven’t done that. I’ve some commands and K8 policies in my flashcards. It will come in handy to memorize them. Since we are talking K8, also go through Docker and OCI registry. I got couple of questions here.
- All cloud providers these days have serverless offerings. In the exam you might be asked some commands on initialize and deploy of functions.
- Along with functions, OCI Events, Notifications, Monitoring and Streaming are important topics. You might see few questions here in conjunction with Functions and some scenario-based questions.
- Some generic topics include CAP Theorem and architecture patterns that you can read more on Microsoft website.
- Again, as you can tell from the below screenshot, I did a lot of mistakes in the OCI Architect Associate Exam. You can read my complete blog here for this certification.
OCI Operations (1Z0-1067)
Why is the Operations exam always tough? One reason I thought this was slightly difficult exam in comparison to others because the Oracle learning videos lack depth and does not cover all the relevant points that you are being judged on in the exam. Here are my preparation tips:
- Terraform along with OCI Resource Manager is an absolute must for this exam. earn more about Stacks, Jobs, Plan, Apply, Refresh, Rollback/Forward. Know when to apply Ansible vs Terraform.
- If you are an Admin, you must understand Policies and syntax on how to code it. Be prepared for some questions on syntaxes along with CLI commands (specially for OCI Object Storage).
- As is the case for Developer exam, Alarms and Notifications are important for this exam. You might see few questions on Monitoring Query Language (MQL).
- Admins can set up Budgets, Audit Logs and Audit Events. Be prepared for questions related to these topics.
- A common theme for all OCI exams I’ve taken is backup and recovery, high availability, cross region copy.
- You might see scenario-based questions on Networking to figure out what is not working. So, familiarize yourself with Security Lists, NSG, how to write rules (ingress/egress). Console connections to troubleshoot the malfunctioning instances is another important topic.
- I did fairly well in the OCI Architect Associate Exam but it came with a lot of preparation. You can read my complete blog here for this certification.
OCI Architect Professional (1Z0-997)
So, all of the above certifications lead to the grand finale – OCI Architect Professional Exam. There is no set recipe on how to go about preparing for this certification but to take one step at a time and do the associate level certifications first. Here are my tips for this cert:
- Goes without saying, go through the official videos on Oracle University. Some of the lectures could be made better but you have to complete the 16.5 hours of those lecture videos.
- In the actual exam, the questions are big and wordy. They are meant to confuse the students. However, one trick I slowly realized is often the answer lies in the final couple of lines of the question. So, pay close attention to the closing statements in terms of what the ask is.
- Important topic again for this exam is IAM policies, instance principals and their use. You might a couple of questions with syntaxes around policies.
- Object Storage – Backup, Retention, PAR, Hot Storage and Archive, Multi-Part Upload, encryption.
- Connectivity questions between On-Premises and OCI are confusing. Must understand this slide deck.
- Load Balancer is an important topic in almost all certifications. In OCI professional architect, LB (and policies) combined with OCI Traffic Management is an important topic. Health Check Service goes hand in hand with this topic.
- It is expected that you understand how to create your infrastructure not only highly available and fault tolerant but also plan for disaster recovery. For databases you must know Oracle Data Guard and Golden Gate replication.
- From networking standpoint, you will get few questions on troubleshooting. Also remember the different gateways (DRG, IGW, SGW) available in OCI. Check out #6 point in operations and same things apply here as well.
- Another common theme in all exams is policies when applied to a compartment. You should know what happens when the child compartments to a different parent compartment are moved or resources are moved from one compartment to another. Not only creation of compartment, but pay special attention to deletion of compartments as well.
- Autoscaling will be seen in few different questions in the exam. Understand Autoscaling use with load balancer. Also pay attention to compartment quota limits and OCI service limits when you use Autoscaling.
- Cost tracking with the usage of tags, creating budgets, Cost Analysis tool usage. You will see questions around this topic.
- Functions to run serverless applications, how is serverless charged. Remember that you can create automation based on state changes for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources by using event types, rules, and actions.
- I prepared Flashcards – OCI Architect Professional (Part 1 – Part 5) and team effort for Architect Professional Practice Exam for you to prepare for this certification.
- Finally, check out my feedback that will tell you all the mistakes I committed for this exam.
Common Tips Applicable for all Certs:
- Except for OCI Foundations, don’t rely on Oracle University videos thinking you would pass the exam. You need much more than that. Nothing beats hands on practice in your own OCI console.
- Go through my Flashcards (Developer, Operations, Professional Architect) that I prepared for the exams. If you are not clear on any of the card, please go through official documentation on OCI website.
- Take the practice exams (Associate Architect and Professional Architect). Besides knowing the right answer, know why the answer is right. Additionally, for Professional Exam, take all Oracle University exams as well for all 5 certs. It will help you remember OCI services.
- In the actual exam, mark the questions for review later if you are not sure of the answer. Sometimes you might get the right answer in the related subsequent questions.
- In the actual exam, when in doubt, the process of elimination is the right approach to narrow down on the answers rather than marking a random option.
- Free Exams:
- OCI Preparation Blogs
- OCI ARCHITECT PROFESSIONAL STUDY GUIDE 1Z0-997
- Exam Tips for OCI Architect Associate 1Z0-1072
- Preparation Guide for OCI Architect Associate 1Z0-1072
- Preparation Tips for OCI Developer Associate 1Z0-1084
- Preparation Tips for OCI Operations Associate 1Z0-1067
- Preparation Tips for OCI Foundation 1Z0-1085
- Preparation Tips for OCI Autonomous Db 1Z0-931
- Learning Path available from Oracle University:
- Slides used in the Learning Path training videos:
- OCI Official Documentation
Finally, if you find this blog useful and the free resources helpful, you can contribute and support the team at reviewNprep by downloading our app on Google Play Store. Or once you pass the certification, please leave your exam tips and preparation journey on reviewNprep.com.
Author: Haman Sharma is a life long learner, MBA (from UNC Kenan-Flagler) and founder of reviewNprep. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.