Validate your expertise: become WebLogic server certifiedPublished on: Author: Mark Otting Category: Oracle
Are you a Java developer? Are you a system administrator responsible for a WebLogic based platform? Are you a solutions architect or implementation consultant working with Oracle Fusion Middleware? Then you may have considered getting a WebLogic certification. And you may have been wondering what to expect and which exam to choose.
Currently, Oracle offers you three certifications, all three requiring you to pass a single exam. One is 11g based, one is aimed at 12c administrators and the last one is proposed for 12c implementation consultants. The WebLogic 10g exam has been retired and can no longer be taken.
All three exams have the same setup and somewhat similar requirements. Multiple choice questions, some very easy, some quite hard. Some include a small case describing a problem, requiring you to pick the best solution among a number of viable options. Rare for an Oracle exam is that you’ll have plenty of time to finish them in the given time slot.
Preparation in general
There is a lot of overlap in all three: if you managed to pass one you can pass all three with just a little extra effort. As a general preparation for any of the exams you’ll need to have a good understanding of WebLogic concepts in general and, alas, on a number of uncommon topics in detail. Many of these topics may never see use in your daily work environment, making studying and practicing them hard.
It doesn’t really matter if you prepare using documentation on 11g or 12c – both versions are technically and screen-wise the same, the few differences are noted as separate exam topics so you should run into those in your studies anyways (“dynamic clustering?”)
For a good basis, I suggest the following three preparations, or at least two of them:
- Get some experience with administrating a WebLogic environment. You should feel comfortable installing and configuring WebLogic, deploying applications and starting and stopping WebLogic servers. Get a bonus for administrating JMS and JDBC sources, writing a WLST script for automatic deployment or setting up monitoring from Enterprise Manager.
- Take the Oracle WebLogic 12c Administration Course I and II. I don’t know if the 11g courses are still available, but if so, they include JMS in administration courses themselves. This is a separate course in the 12c track, which is overkill if only to be studied for these exams.
- Read one or two books on WebLogic administration before you dive into the Oracle documentation. I would suggest “Oracle WebLogic Server 11g Administration Handbook” by Sam Alapati (or the 12c variant) and “Oracle Weblogic Server 11gR1 PS2: Administration Essentials” by Michel Schildmeijer.
After these, start crossing off all of the exam topics and studying the Oracle documentation on those topics you don’t feel sure off, or don’t have detailed knowledge on.
I would advise against using braindumps. You would dilute the value of your certification. Also, I ran into one while studying: although the questions seemed to originate from the exam, all of the answers were guesswork and wrong at that.
So, onwards into said exams:
Certified Oracle WebLogic Server 11g Administrator
Exam: 1Z0-102 – Oracle Weblogic Server 11g: System Administration I
Title: OCA, Oracle WebLogic Server 11g Administrator
See: 1Z0-102 on oracle.com
Difficulty level: hard
Although 11g has been superseded, it is still the most common version of WebLogic server found in the wild. This exam does a good job of testing candidates for actual WebLogic knowledge and I found it to be the hardest exam of all three.
This exam, contrary to the others, had a number of “cross all that apply” questions, which are very hard since you’ll need to be knowledgeable on all of the given answers. As you might know, there is often more than one way of handling a given action in WLS, for example, starting a server instance or deploying an application. There were a number of questions that required knowledge of all given methods. The Sam Alapati book usually groups them together, so pay extra attention learning them when preparing.
The focus was on JMS configuration and application deployment, with a lot of questions on both subjects. This is the only exam to do so, JMS is not included in the 12c administration exam and only lightly touched in the implementation specialist exam.
Certified Oracle WebLogic Server 12c Administrator
Exam: 1Z0-133 – Oracle WebLogic Server 12c: Administration I
Title: OCA, Oracle WebLogic Server 12c Administrator
See: 1Z0-133 on oracle.com
Difficulty level: hard
- The focus in this exam is on the new features in 12.1.2, so be sure to spend extra time figuring these out and reading up on the documentation. Although it is not meant as a study guide, the second version of Frank Munz’ (excellent) 12c recipes book describes 12.1.2 features well enough to be used as a study resource. Consider this book if you want to apply or practice what you learned – the instructions are more readable than the Oracle documentation.
This exam had a lot of nice case style questions: “this is the situation, that breaks down, how can you fix it?”. These were answerable with just experience or crossing out all answers that were wrong. There were a few questions on exact wording, for example, the exact wording of JVM parameters. All of the questions were new to me, there were no questions recycled from the 11g exam.
What makes this exam somewhat easier than 11g is that JMS and WLST have been excluded from the list of exam topics. Especially the JMS documentation is huge, that’s a great timesaver. I can also imagine that if you do little WLST scripting, the thought that this is not included is a real breather.
Oracle WebLogic Server 12c Certified Implementation Specialist
Exam: 1Z0-599 – Oracle WebLogic Server 12c Essentials
Title: OCP, Oracle WebLogic Server 12c Certified Implementation Specialist
See: 1Z0-599 on oracle.com
Out of the exams, this is the only one that will get you the “Oracle Certified Professional” title. It’s also the easiest of the three.
Difficulty level: moderate
Read the study guide, plan your studies accordingly.
As the description in the tiny lettering on the Oracle website says, this exam is geared towards organizations heading for an Oracle Partner certification. Signs of this are plain to see in the list of topics: it’s HUGE. Reviewing the list; you’ll notice almost all of the topics from the WebLogic 12c administration exam, but with additional topics on the whole ecosystem surrounding WebLogic in the Oracle stack. On most topics you can get away with just superficial knowledge. Unluckily, on certain core topics you’ll need a much greater insight. The study guide goes a long way in pointing out where to pay extra attention
Also, this exam was obviously written after the 12.1.1 release of WebLogic 12c. There are a few questions that have different answers depending on if you’re assuming patch level 12.1.1 or 12.1.2. I think I can mention the changes in the node manager without giving away said questions.
Preparing for the WebLogic exams is a lot of work, but also very doable and with a high chance of succeeding. Given any job opening that in one way or the other involve WLS any certification is a full return on the investment.
Finally, a few tips for when you finally sit down for your exam:
- A strategy for answering the “Choose N of the below answers that apply” would be to cross out all those that don’t apply or don’t make sense.
- You have more than enough time, don’t rush the exam.
- Worst case scenario: you’ll fail the exam. Then you know exactly what to expect, making a second attempt a sure pass.