Oracle Certification announced the retirement of several exams on March 13, including 1Z0-147: Program with PL/SQL. This exam satisfies the PL/SQL component to become a Oracle PL/SQL Developer Certified Associate. Originally developed while Oracle 9i was the current database release, there has been speculation for some time that this exam would be retired. As of the announcement, the exam will no longer be available after July 31, 2013. Oracle professionals that are pursuing the PL/SQL development path have been asking what effect this retirement will have on the process of getting the PL/SQL OCA certification. The impact of the announcement and what actions you should take depend on what stage of the PL/SQL certification process you are in.
- If you have passed 1Z0-147 — For people who have already passed the test, the exam retirement means nothing at all. Oracle certifications and exam results do not change when an exam is retired. The only people affected by the retirement are those who have not yet taken it. After the cut-off date, it will no longer be possible to schedule the exam.
- If you are currently preparing for 1Z0-147 — If you are currently in the process of studying for this exam, and are nearly ready to take it, then you should complete your preparation and schedule the exam. Do not wait until the last minute. You want to leave enough time to retake it if you do not pass on the first attempt. Once the deadline has passed, you will not be able to schedule the exam for any reason. If you are preparing for the exam, but have just started, you might consider the next option.
- If you have not begun preparing yet — If you are planning to take the 1Z0-147 exam, but have not begun to prepare for it at this time, I would recommend that you pursue the replacement exam, 1Z0-144: Oracle Database 11g: Program with PL/SQL. The two exams have the same purpose and passing either in conjunction with a SQL exam will grant you the PL/SQL OCA. The 1Z0-144 exam will not be retired for many years, so you will have plenty of time to prepare for it.
1Z0-147 and 1Z0-144 have a significant percentage of common topics. However, 1Z0-144 has been considerably rewritten. The exam contains new features that were added to the PL/SQL engine in Oracle 10G and 11G. However, the exam has also added a significant number of topics for core PL/SQL skills. Most of these arguably should have been included as part of 1Z0-147. I have researched both tests in-depth and I firmly believe that 1Z0-144 is the better of the two by far. The retirement of 1Z0-147 is long overdue.
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