Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Short Story & Moment Of Happiness….

I haven’t written anything since I came here (and that was a week ago) because there has been so much of busy schedule for me. I wanted to sit and write today but due to massive rain and huge storm, the power and internet wires were broken. So I had to sit and wait for it to be resolved which happened just few minutes back. Its not just another post of mine to mention that I am in a travel or would be leaving for another travel tomorrow(which is actually true) but its about a little happy moment of mine!

I am not someone who really like to call myself a superior person than the others in any thing, be it whatever! I don’t like to talk about myself much too. When someone says some kind words for me, I truly and whole heartedly appreciate it but I focus more on those points where I am lacking rather than about those, where I perform somewhat okay. Some times I am told that I shouldn’t do this but I can’t help doing so since when I want to call myself somewhat good in something, I encounter something or someone which again makes me realize that I am not still anything and/or someone who can be truly called great or good or guru or genius or anything of that sort of! I somehow believe blindly on Steve Jobs( yes the Apple-guy) statement, stay hungry , stay foolish! Yes, I like to call myself foolish and be hungry more often than being a contended and a  genius person!

Most may already know but for those who don’t, I work in computers as a software professional. To put more specifically , I work with Oracle Database , help other people to work with this marvelous piece of software, train them over different parts of it! Many people know about this and many have asked me that how did I get start with oracle as well? So here is a small note about how did a guy from a very small city did start with oracle database? There is a reason for depicting it too which I shall mention in the end.

Not many people know though that I started with Oracle database purely out of nowhere. It was my second year of graduation when I had got a chance to  do first hand shake of mine with Oracle database. It was version 7.3 and we started like all other oracle professionals, with its basic language S(tructured) Q(uery) L(anguage). We were a group of 15 guys and gals who started with that session. For initial few days, the number remained the same. But than, people started dropping out from that session saying that this white-window( we were using sqlplusw tool ) and only commands is just so boring. Finally, it was just me and one more guy who were left in that session and we did complete that session covering basics of SQL and PL/SQL. There was something in this oracle software which hooked me. I don’t know what it was, I didn’t know at all about it before going into that class , had no idea what other options can be there about it or what and where I can go by learning it but I liked it, I really really liked it so much, this much, that I asked my instructor, what next? He said, you can be a developer which he was himself and can make applications or you can be a database administrator who has value equal to company’s CEO because he manages the database where company’s entire data would reside! WHAT, I said ! Okay, I want to be a DBA then if its that important! Yes, silly I know but I didn’t know anything beyond what my instructor told me and internet at that time(12 years ago) was not available in the form it is available today.

So here I was, a guy who did a month’s course about the basics or even lesser than that about oracle database and now wanted to learn about database and be a DBA, pretty much the same saying which I hear now too from many guys and gals who step into the database world. But I didn’t want to get just jump into it. I wanted to learn about it first as much as was possible! There was no institution in my city which was providing training for oracle dba course at that time. There was another institute in Chandigarh but I couldn’t go there since I had my final year of graduation pending and I couldn’t miss its classes. So I started looking in my city for some one who would teach me. I did find one guy and approached him as well. He kept on calling me to come to him for the class but also used to cancel the class right on the spot! Finally he said no for the class. I was told about one more guy in Chandigarh who was conducting private classes for the same. I approached him and even went to meet him at his room in Chandigarh. I didn’t like him,his way of teaching and setup at all in the very first meet so I didn’t go to him as well. I came to know that there is a course happening from correspondence in version 8 of oracle. I wasn’t doing anything about it so I opted for it and did that. Though it did have lots of content but since there was no one to explain the true meanings of things to me, I still felt that something is missing.

After few weeks I came to know that there would be one institute that would be started in my city only which would teach people oracle technology modules but there was no dba class happening since they couldn’t find an instructor for it. I don’t know how many times I went to that institute and ate the head of the manager lady over there, Mrs Zahida Parveen( who also offered me my first job in that very institute), to make sure that I am not going to waste my money in learning something which I couldn’t understand in the longer run. I can’t give enough respect and regards to that lady that despite me being so fussy, she did address all of my queries very nicely and finally I started an official course in SQL and PL/SQL(yes again) from there. Again, there were many many students who were doing the same course there and with me also, there were two other guys besides me but most of them either left in the midway or didn’t pursue Oracle in the career. We did that and also cleared the exams and became the first 3 guys in Punjab to clear 9i version of exams. By that time, we had an instructor, Akshay Sharma, who taught us the DBA modules.  When I finished half of my course , I was offered to teach in the same very institute by Mrs Zahida based on the feedback she got about me from other instructors and students. It was a moment of great pride for me since getting a job , even a junior post, in that institute was so tough because of its really high standards! I was just lucky enough that I was offered a post there.

Since then, I am trying to learn this Oracle database technology and understand the puzzles of it. In that process, I also started participating(and still do)  in OTN Forums and reading various other people’s work. Doing so again made me realize again and again how less I know about Oracle. Still, I got a chance to share space with the best of the bests in the Oracle Community. I am not putting names since I am afraid I shall surely miss more than I shall put here but I am just so fortunate that I get a chance to be at that same space, even when its virtual, where all these real Gurus hang around!

In between of all of these so many things going on, Oracle started Oracle ACE program. This is an initiative from Oracle to recognize those individuals who has expressed technical expertise in Oracle related technologies as well as shared their expertise with the rest of the community through various channels and ways. This is the most elite club of professionals from around the globe. Being a part of this group, I believe, is a dream of that every single individual who works with Oracle and achieving this award is among the highest achievements of an oracle professional. And yesterday, I was awarded with award from Oracle Corp. Yes, I am an Oracle ACE now. Here is the screenshot of my profile page,

Aman ACE

As I said, I never thought ( and still don’t do) that I know anything about Oracle database technology at all and I can’t even imagine putting myself in the same league where the Gurus like Jonathan Lewis, Hans Forbrich, Francisco Munoz (and many many more) sit! If I look at the profiles of those who are awarded this award, I really feel that I am not worthy enough to get this award. Still I am so much thankful to my friend Francisco to nominate me believing that I actually do deserve it! Thanks so much Francisco, I have no other words to express my feelings except this thanks my friend!

The reason that I depicted the story of my journey in Oracle world is that I still can’t believe it that I have got this award. It just appears like yesterday that I started with Oracle and I never even imagined that this day would ever come! I mean, just think, a guy from such a small city, who never even had attended any computer class in his school, how could he ever possibly imagine that he would receive such an esteemed award? Though I am so greatful and thankful to Oracle Corp and to Francisco, I still have the same belief to follow, “stay hungry, stay foolish”! I know nothing and there is so much about Oracle that I need to know! Hope someday,I would also know a thing or two about this database thingy :-) .

Oh and before I leave, if you are an Oracle professional and are willing to become an Oracle ACE yourself, I would really strongly suggest that you read this excellent post from Andrew Clarke. If ask me, don’t aim to be an ACE but just keep on working to be as good as you can and also, keep on helping others. Who knows when doing so would lead you to become an ACE!


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