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Oracle 1Z0-144: A Firm Foundation for Oracle PL/SQL Developers

Want to kick start your career as an Oracle PL/SQL developer? This exam demonstrates that you have the basics down pat.

1Z0-144: Oracle Database 11g: Program With PL/SQL satisfies one of the two exams required  in order to to become an Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate. The market continues to have a demand for Oracle developers and gaining this OCA-level certification is one way to demonstrate your knowledge of PL/SQL. This exam is primarily targeted at entry-level developers. All of the topics are geared around the basic knowledge that should be familiar to anyone working with PL/SQL.

The 1Z0-144 exam is the successor to the older exam, 1Z0-147: Program with PL/SQL. That exam was developed for Oracle 9i, and there have been numerous changes to Oracle PL/SQL since 9i. The exam, while still available, has a good bit of outdated material and has a significant focus on triggers which made sense at the time because Oracle Forms held more significance than is true today. I highly recommend that candidates take the 1Z0-144 test for those reasons alone. Beyond that, 1Z0-144 isn’t just the 1Z0-147 exam with some updated information tacked on -- the topics of the two tests vary considerably. In my opinion, 1Z0-144 has considerably improved the content being covered. The topics on this test are a much better cross section of the information that an entry-level PL/SQL programmer should know.

The Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate has two required exams: a SQL component and a PL/SQL component. You must pass one exam that meets the SQL requirement and one that meets the PL/SQL requirement to gain the certification (the tests can be taken in either order). There are currently three exams that meet the SQL requirement. You can select any of the following:

  • 1Z0-007: Introduction to Oracle9i SQL
  • 1Z0-051: Oracle Database 11g: SQL Fundamentals I
  • 1Z0-047: Oracle Database SQL Expert

1Z0-007 is another Oracle 9i legacy exam and I recommend against it for that reason. 1Z0-051 contains more current information and is the better exam to pursue unless you have a personal reason for wanting to have Oracle 9i-specific knowledge (including topics on the defunct iSQL*Plus). 1Z0-047 is an expert-level exam and as such is a much more difficult test than the first two. However, this test comes with an Oracle Expert certification if you pass it. As a general rule, I recommend that candidates new to Oracle SQL pursue 1Z0-051.

The PL/SQL requirement can be met by the two exams already mentioned:

  • 1Z0-147: Program with PL/SQL
  • 1Z0-144: Oracle Database 11G: Program with PL/SQL

This 1Z0-144 exam covers a wide range of subjects in the following key areas:

  • PL/SQL basics including variables, structure, and syntax
  • Control Structures
  • Composite Data Types
  • Explicit Cursors
  • Exception Handling
  • Creating Procedures, Functions, Packages, and Triggers
  • Dynamic SQL
  • Design Considerations
  • The PL/SQL Compiler
  • Dependency Management

None of these are advanced topics, which is par for the course in OCA-level exams. The intent of the Oracle Certified Associate designation is to determine whether a candidate has a firm grounding in the fundamentals of the given subject. The topics on the 1Z0-144 exam were well-chosen in that respect. For candidates that gain the PL/SQL Associate certification, there is a follow-on test, 1Z0-146: Oracle Database 11g: Advanced PL/SQL. This exam does contain more advanced PL/SQL topics, and passing it will provide the candidate with the Oracle Advanced PL/SQL Developer Certified Professional certification.