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How to prepare for the OCI Architect Associate certification

Author of 'Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide' Roopesh Ramklass shares his expert advice on OCI concepts and certification in this Q&A.

IT professionals working with, or interested in, Oracle's IaaS can pursue cloud certifications to advance their careers. These certifications are useful for beginners and experts as Oracle continues to develop its cloud offerings.

For those getting started in the cloud, the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) Architect Associate certification is a good place to begin. Candidates for this certification must pass Exam 1Z0-1072, an introductory exam, which requires understanding OCI concepts such as networking, compute instances, database, storage, and identity and access management.

Oracle cloud expert Roopesh Ramklass explains these topics in his book, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide. Ramklass' book provides details on the subjects covered in the exam, as well as practice questions and exercises.

In this Q&A, Ramklass shares some insight on how to prepare for the OCI Architect Associate certification and discusses why this certification is valuable. Be sure to check out the chapter excerpt at the end for more guidance from his book.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Prior to taking the OCI Architect Associate exam and getting started with your guide, what foundational knowledge should a certification candidate or reader have?

Roopesh Ramklass: You can have no background. For many Oracle professionals, even though they bring in maybe decades of database and middleware experience and knowledge, this is brand new. It also makes sense for a lot of new people to enter the IT game and the Oracle space at this time because this is such a great level setter.

Working with Oracle cloud, or other cloud vendors, is exactly like a data center that you would have in your on-premises environment, except it's virtualized and abstracted. Conceptually, it's comprised of the same pieces such as subnets, gateways and routing rules. If you frame it that way, you don't need an advanced understanding to get started.

How can IT professionals who consider taking the OCI Architect Associate exam best master the concepts covered in your book?

Book cover: Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide

Ramklass: Sign up for an OCI account. There's a free tier, which gives you access to a free network of virtual machines, compute hosts, compute nodes and even a free autonomous database. It gives you a chance to experiment.

Spin up a free tier tenancy and then work through the examples in the book. It starts with the concepts and progresses as you would building your data center for your company or organization. You set up your network, security rules and structure. You draw it on paper or on one of the graphical design tools.

Which OCI concepts do you find the most challenging for people trying to understand?

Ramklass: If you're not a DBA, probably the database content.

Twenty years ago, computer scientists would have studied a lot of these networking concepts and possibly worked in jobs where if you were a DBA, you were required to set up the operating system and the storage and the networking. Systems became rather complex over time and now people who start off as DBAs, their exposure to the infrastructure is very limited. They know a bit about the database, but they don't know much about the infrastructure.

How does an IT pro benefit from passing the Architect Associate exam and becoming certified in OCI?

Ramklass: Cloud is the future. And Oracle Cloud, in particular, is a great option for people seeking employment because Oracle is so prolific and pervasive in the industry.

For example, in my consulting role, we support Oracle cloud, as well as AWS and Google Cloud. However, most of our enterprise customers run Oracle databases. And because Oracle owns the intellectual property for the software, as well as the hardware used in the cloud, they offer deals and migration pathways other cloud vendors cannot match. So, in my opinion, this certification positions any incumbent person into this field really well to have a great career.

You write that understanding identity and access management (IAM) is the key to successful cloud adoption and forms the basis for the remainder of your book. Why is IAM so foundational?

Ramklass: It comes down to the fundamental relationship between resources, users and groups, and how they're governed by the IAM policies. If you don't understand that, you're going to give everyone who accesses your cloud environment access to everything, and then you don't have security. Or you give everyone who wants a cloud account the privilege to create resources, and they end up spinning up massive computers, which breaks the bank.

IAM is a way to manage cost, but it's also governance of your resources and setting up proper policies so your organization understands how to interact with these resources. It's also fundamental because components like compute nodes or compute instances, database instances, networking -- all of these are resources that fit within an IAM framework.

To learn more about OCI Identity and Access Management, read the full chapter excerpt from the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Architect Associate All-in-One Exam Guide.

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