Where to begin with Oracle and SQL

March 22nd, 2013

Seeing more and more questions on “where do I start with Oracle if I want to be a DBA?”  My perspective is a bit off since I’ve been surrounded by Oracle for over 20 years.  I hardly remember what it was like to start with Oracle and starting with Oracle now in 2013 is quite different than starting with Oracle in 1990.

Here is my list and everything on this list is excellent. I’m sure I missed a few good ones, but maybe people can add them in the comments.

Start with Oracle Docs, they are free and good!

  • http://www.oracle.com/pls/db112/homepage

Get the best books and read them

  • Expert Oracle Database Architecture by Thomas Kyte
  • Troubleshooting Oracle Performance by Christian Antognini
  • Refactoring SQL Applications by Stephane Faroult

A bit old, but this is a great overview of Oracle: Practical Oracle 8i by Jonathan Lewis

After you have read the above, dive into the important details:

  • Optimizing Oracle Performance by Cary Milsap
  • Oracle Core Essential Internals by Jonathan Lewis
  • Oracle Wait Interface by R Shee, K Deshpande, K. Gopalakrishnan

If you know SQL but want to get great at SQL performance, read these books

  • Cost-Based Oracle Fundamentals by Jonathan Lewis
  • SQL Tuning by Dan Tow
  • Relational Database Index Design and the Optimizers by Tapio Lahdenmaki

Join Online discussions and follow blogs

Create your own Oracle blog aggregator, here is mine: http://oracle.collected.info/

Go to conferences. First of all your local Oracle user groups and if you have the time and resources then go to the bigger conferences:

  • Hotsos


  1. Trackbacks

  2. March 25th, 2013: Value of Improving One’s Knowledge | Charles Hooper's Oracle Notes
  3. July 28th, 2019: Instagram Followers: Their Benefits and Why the Cheat is Necessary | buyinstagramsfollowersfast.com

  2. David Mann
    March 22nd, 2013 at 15:39 | #1

    TOP by Christian is at the top of my recommendation list especially for the development teams I work with. It gives a great jumping off point for the titles in your in-depth list.

    I enjoyed Dan Tow’s book as well. In my 10+ years as a DBA I have only ever heard about it from another colleague once. I was just flipping through my copy the other day and was hoping for an update. Dan seems to fly under the radar these days but that book is a gem… It is probably due for a refresh though, and I always wondered about his affinity for Nested Loops.

  3. March 22nd, 2013 at 15:56 | #2

    Yes, I don’t think I’ve found anyone who has actually read Dan’s book. I’ve found a few people, not many, who have it. It’s a pity because its quite a good approach to analyzing query optimization.
    Dan’s approach is a good bit of work that could be automated by software, so that’s what my team at Embarcadero did with DB Optimizer: http://dboptimizer.com/db-optimizer/
    Here is Jonathan Lewis taking a similar approach: https://www.simple-talk.com/sql/performance/designing-efficient-sql-a-visual-approach/

  4. March 22nd, 2013 at 18:02 | #3

    By the way, I haven’t read any of the SQL books that Karen Morten has worked on but just saw Karen present at Hotsos 2013 and she when over some important SQL query transformation for performance. Probably worth checking her books out
    Beginning Oracle SQL
    Pro Oracle SQL

  5. Aleksey
    March 25th, 2013 at 13:03 | #4

    Great article

  6. John Hurley
    April 3rd, 2013 at 12:55 | #5

    The question I used to get all the time when teaching the OCP curriculum was “how do I get my first job as an Oracle DBA” along with “how long before I make 6 figures as an Oracle DBA”.

    The getting the first job as an Oracle DBA is the tricky part because NO ONE wants to hire an inexperienced Oracle DBA and watch them crash and burn systems as they learn. Yes all the documentation and books are all great points and nice recommendations but getting started as a DBA … this is really a chicken and egg kind of question right?

You must be logged in to post a comment.