"The Interview"

A manager asked his Oracle Master to assess the technical abilities of a potential new hire. The Master agreed and entered a small conference room with the manager and the applicant.

Pleasantries aside, the Master began to question the young applicant:

“Why would one wish to use Cost vs. Rule?”

“How can performance be affected in a MTS environment?”

“If a user complains that the database is slow? What is the first thing that pops into your mind?”

“If you were to write an adventure game, tell me how you would represent the inventory system in memory?”

The applicant appeared to think-through each question carefully and then replied with the answer they felt was appropriate.

When the Master’s questioning was complete, he smiled, said, “Thank you for your time” and excused himself from the conference room.

The manager raced through the door into the hallway and pulled the Master into a small closet. “Those were all the questions you were going to ask him? Were his answers correct?” he said with a tone of concern.

“There are no correct or incorrect answers to the questions I asked”, replied the Master, “he is one with the Tao of Oracle and will greatly benefit this company. Hire him.”

The manager scowled, “But you didn’t ask him anything technical!? Why didn’t you ask him for names of V$ tables or some other memorization question?”

The Master frowned. “First of all, they are V$ Views, not Tables”, he said, “Secondly, I am not concerned with this person’s ability to mindlessly absorb information for the purposes of trivia and test-taking; I do not care if this person has memorized the rules of playing chess… I want know that this person knows how to play chess.”

The Manager looked puzzled.

The Master sighed, “If a person absorbs facts but cannot form simple rationalizations or theories based on the information, then this person has learned nothing. If they have learned nothing, then they cannot act. If they cannot act then they are worthless to your organization.”

The Manager then asked the master, “What about coding? He said that he know C, Java, and PL/SQL. Why didn’t you have him write some sample code blocks in each language or something?”

The Master signed and shook his head, “You do not understand the ways of the Tao. Only a fool would expect that a technical person would have an in-depth knowledge of all things at all times..."

The Master added, "Today our project is in PL/SQL, so I will write in PL/SQL. Tomorrow our project may be in Java, so I will write in Java. During each transitional period where I shift from one language to another, it is foreseeable that these rules of syntax will become a temporary blur to me and I may put THENs on my IF statements. Does this make me an unskilled fool? Does this mean that I am worthless addition to your company? I think not.”

The Manager nodded in agreement, went back inside the conference room and immediately offered the applicant a job. Today, the applicant is a well respected mentor, responsible for saving the company millions of dollars each year.


If one has read all of the computer books in the library, does it make them a consultant?
If one can recall the answers to memorization questions, does it make them skilled?
If one has taken courses without asking a single question, does it make them wise?
If one can pass Oracle Certification Exams, does it make them an applied expert?
Truly this is not the Tao of Oracle.

If one has a core understanding of technology, they have a strong foundation.
If one is disciplined in the ways of Computer Science, they have common sense.
If one has programmed in a given language, they can easily adapt to others.
Truly this is the way of the Tao.