It appears to be fairly common for people when they are invited onto the Oracle Ace program to blog about it (like this). Understandably so as it is no small achievement. And guess what, I have been invited to join the program as an Associate. So with a bit of meme, here is why the Ace program is important to me, and perhaps why my view is a little different.
So what makes my story any different? Well, if you look at the membership of the Ace programme a significant proportion of the membership are people working for organisations who are Oracle partners; but for me I work for an end user organisation, so don’t get the opportunity to leverage the additional benefits of the Oracle Partner Network.
The benefits for a partner to have Oracle Ace’s are clear – sending a message to potential customers we have expertise and to Oracle to show the commitment to the partnership. But what does it mean to me for an end user organisation who have no need for those types of signal?
Well for my employer it means several things firstly, it helps show the company as a progressive organisation who invests in its people. The investment in my case has been membership to user groups (UKOUG, OAUG), the chance to get out of the office and attend those invaluable SIG sessions along with conference events, such as Oracle UK’s one day sessions along with Open World. This not to say the pursuit of this goal hasn’t meant a fair bit of personal hard graft.
There is a saying that goes ‘knowledge is power‘; in my view the power only manifests itself properly when the used for the benefit of all. Or put it another way share what you know. Sharing knowledge when you know has, or will benefit others is greatly rewarding. It is that sense or reward that propelled me forwards with the Ace program. So if you come across something that helps, then it’s always worth telling the author you appreciated the effort, that can be simply liking a post or retweeting or sharing it. But preparing that information to be shared does take effort, sometimes a lot of effort.
Aside from the reward from sharing knowledge, there are other benefits. Like most in the more engineering aspects of IT, I am not an naturally gregarious person, so social discourse is hardwork, but activities that have lead to the Ace have provided a foundation on which conversations can be easily started.
The final reward, is in many respects rather selfish, in so far as it demonstrates to the wider world recognition of my capabilities. Yes, you could do this by attending training courses and siting the relevant Oracle exams. But as an EA making a case for very hands on training is very difficult, it’s not as if the resultant skills will get practised everyday. The one relevant Oracle training stream (Certified Architecture Specialist) is actually only offered to partners. So again, graft needed to self educate (some might say this is the cost of working in this industry). But comes back to, why do training if you’re not going to share the benefit of it?