PL/SQL Developer Prospects
PL/SQL is a procedure based programming language extension for the database language, Structured Query Language or SQL, used by the Oracle Database Engine. In effect it combines database languages and programming languages helping provide optimized, secure and robust solutions. It acts as a layer close to the database on which Oracle Applications are built.
There is a widespread perception that PL/SQL is a legacy programming language as Oracle is being used less for developing enterprise applications lately. However this is not true as there are many existing enterprise applications which are built on Oracle, and for which PL/SQL developers will always be needed. It is here to stay as a specialized career option and will never become obsolete. As the number of people opting to specialize in this technology steadily decreases and experienced PL/SQL developers move into other roles the demand for PL/SQL developers will increase manifold.
Recent studies have shown that the average salary of a PL/SQL developer is less than desirable. However there are ways in which a PL/SQL developer can leverage his skills to become more valuable in the job market and thus earn an enviable salary.
How can PL/SQL Developers become Highly Paid IT Professionals
- Diversify your Database Engine Knowledge
In today’s world employers avoid getting tied to a single (and expensive) database engine like Oracle. Although they understand that for existing enterprise systems it is next to impossible to migrate to newer database engines many employers continually try to move away from Oracle when building new applications. In this scenario experience or knowledge of other database engines such as MySQL, SQL Server, NoSQL is valued by employers and employees are compensated accordingly. So it makes sense to continually keep updating yourself on database engines other than Oracle.
- Diversify Your Programming Skills
- Transforming into a DBA
A PL/SQL developer can extend his skills to become a professional database developer or a DBA in addition to performing assigned PL/SQL tasks .This includes creating and maintaining database users, roles, permissions etc. This will increase their value in the job market and fetch higher salaries.
- Learn New Programming Paradigms
Since PL/SQL is a procedural language it is worthwhile investing time and money learning Object Oriented Programming to stay abreast with the latest programming trends. This helps you create truly extensible and reusable software which is a valuable asset in an IT professional increasing their employee value and ultimately their pay package.
- Certifications – A Valuable Asset
Certifications can help increase your value as a professional in an organization. There are a number of certifications available for PL/SQL developers which will help highlight their expertise and technical prowess and at the same time will help fetch a better salary. Many employers are willing to pay more to retain certified PL/SQL developers as they recognize not only their expertise but also their interest and ability to stay up-to-date with latest technologies. Such employees are valuable assets to any organization. They see enormous potential in employees who have put in hard work to excel in their chosen technology. They ensure that such employees are happy with the package that the company offers them.
- A Well Laid out Career Path
While ‘PL/SQL developer’ is a specialization it cannot be called a career path which yields high returns on its own. PL/SQL Developers constantly need to evolve and leverage their skills for a more stable and rewarding career. Data warehousing (via the Oracle database design and development route ), Oracle financials developer , Oracle Business Intelligence, DBA building enterprise databases, Data Analyst or simply a database developer can be some career paths that a PL/SQL Developer can adopt to increase their employee worth and subsequently salary.
Some Useful Technologies for a PL/SQL Developer
- Alternate Procedural Language – Python
As PL/SQL is a procedural language learning Python with Oracle database 11-g or R-Programming could be easy and beneficial when compared to other OOP’s technologies. Big Data Hadoop could also be the logical next step.
- Unix shell scripting and Java – a necessity
Oracle is increasingly using Java for developing middleware and it is necessary for a PL/SQL Developer to be able to program using Java.
- Datawarehousing – Informatica, Ablnitio, NoSQL
ETL Tools like Informatica, AbInitio and NoSQL have to be studied when a PL/SQL developer wants to follow the Data warehousing path.
- OOP Languages
Programming in OOPs has its own advantages of performance and optimization. PL/SQL developers can invest time learning OOP languages such as Java, C# and Ruby. Once developers have learnt them , they can master concurrent programming languages such as Erlang, Clojure. This will help them eventually become full-stack developers who are in high demand.
- Oracle Applications Express
An Oracle developer who has little or no programming experience other than PL/SQL can start his foray into the application developer world by learning the Oracle Application Express for Web Apps which has all the trappings of a full fledged application development technology yet is close to the database and can be easily mastered by a database developer.
Certifications prove the expertise, hard work and initiative of an IT professional and make him more valuable to an organization. It gives him an edge over his peers and he can expect a higher pay scale than them. Some certifications which a PL/SQL Developer can complete are
- Oracle Certified Associate (OCA) PL/SQL Developer
- Oracle AdvancedPL/SQL Professional Certification (OCP)
- Oracle Database 11gAdministrator Associate
Front-end designs which don’t have a strong robust database that processes and optimizes data using procedures at the database level will not succeed in the long run. PL/SQL though viewed as a legacy language is in no way going to become obsolete as it is a niche technology that has carved its own market-space and for which there is a steady demand.
People who have invested time and money acquiring PL/SQL skills have made the right choice. At the same time it is important to diversify your portfolio and skill set to survive, to remain valuable to employers and to have a bright and lucrative career.
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