Oracle making Java, Solaris certifications pricier

Oracle will soon require 'hands-on' training courses to be taken before certification is granted

Later this year, Oracle will begin requiring people interested in gaining Java and Solaris certifications to attend "hands-on" training courses, at an additional cost of thousands of dollars.

The new rule goes into effect Aug. 1 and regards Java Architect, Java Developer, Solaris System Administrator and Solaris Security Administrator certification paths, according to a notice on Oracle's website.

IT professionals can still get certified under existing requirements for those technologies through July 31, the site states. It was not clear when the notice was first posted; Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Web page provides a list of approved, instructor-led training courses, some of which are conducted in-person and others online.

"Self Study CD-Rom and Knowledge Center (including Recorded Web Courses -- RWC) courses are excellent study and reference tools but DO NOT meet the Hands-on Course Requirement for certification," it adds.

In general, the courses listed last between three and five days and cost from about US$2,000 to nearly $4,000, according to prices listed on Oracle's site.

They must be taken through Oracle University Training Center; Oracle Authorized Education Center or Oracle Authorized Education Partner; Oracle Academy and approved programs; and Oracle Workforce Development Program.

Many Oracle certifications already mandate attendance of a hands-on course. "The course requirement is being added to these certification paths to bring them in line with Oracle Certification Program's standards for the levels of certification under which they fall," the site states.

It does not matter how much experience a person has with Java or Solaris; certification will still be made to meet the training requirements, according to the site.

Currently certified individuals will not have to re-certify under the new rules, Oracle said.

The value of IT certifications has been a long-running industry debate. One common argument is that real-world experience is more important. But others note that certifications allow even veteran IT professionals to gain new skills, as well as potentially add some differentiation to their résumés.

But at the same time, certification is a lucrative business for vendors and channel partners, and Oracle's new requirements for Java and Solaris show it has no intentions of leaving any money related to those popular technologies on the table.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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