As a business professional with little prior technical experience who moved over to the technical side of an Oracle-centric organization, the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) was an invaluable resource for me to quickly make the transition from newbie to full fledged Oracle developer. Thanks to OTN resources like product documentation, technical articles, discussion forums, tutorials, etc. (I could go on, and on, and on), I was cranking out rudimentary ETL solutions, building out OBIEE metadata, and rolling out enterprise OBIEE dashboards and reporting mere weeks after my organization decided to kick off its BI initiative and crown me it’s sole initial developer. Without these OTN resources, it’s very likely that I’d still be trying to get up to speed a decade later.

Today I’d consider myself an Oracle veteran with deep experience in products across the complete BI stack. From ODI to SQL Developer to OBIEE to Advanced Analytics to Big Data Discovery, I’ve not only been able to obtain these wonderful products from OTN, but learn them from the ground up. I’d say that’s a pretty amazing (and free, at that!) resource to have at your disposal.

While all of the amazing offerings of OTN would be impossible to describe in one blog post, I’ve recapped just a few of my favorites.

Software Downloads

Did you know that OTN readily provides all Oracle software downloads, for free, so long as you have an Oracle account? Most all come with a Developer License that allows you to use full versions of the products for developing, prototyping, and self-education.

Yes, you read that correctly. OTN has made these amazing products readily available to you in their full form. What better way to learn a product than by obtaining and using it?

If you will be using the product for commercial purposes, you must purchase the necessary commercial licenses.

Product Documentation

OTN provides you a one stop shop for all product documentation — no scouring the internet necessary!

If you’ve worked with Oracle products for a while and you haven’t thoroughly explored the documentation, you are missing out. Oracle provides some of the most thorough documentation I’ve found, and you can achieve expert level in a product by using this documentation to your advantage.

Technical Articles

With their technical articles, OTN provides you with a collection of helpful writeups that cover everything from how to get started to how to solve uncommon, but not unheard of, issues to how to utilize products in innovative fashions. These articles are written by renowned experts in the industry that have the experience in these products to back up their solutions.

Not sure how to get started with a new products, or why, or how to solve a problem you are facing? There’s probably been an article written on it!

Hands-On Workshops

Want to sharpen your skills in a particular area? The OTN on-demand hands-on workshops provide that opportunity. These workshops cover the full Oracle stack and provide in-depth overviews of their particular topics as well as links to other helpful resources on the topic, such as white papers, discussion forums, podcasts, etc.

OTN is continuously adding to its workshop library so the content never becomes stagnant.

Sample Code and Virtual Machines

Not sure how to build out something you have scoped? It’s very likely that OTN has provided sample code that can be adapted to achieve your end.

The most robust sample code of all comes in the forms of pre-built virtual machines that provide fully configured instances of Products covering an entire function. For example, the OBIEE Sample Application v607 provides fully configured instances of Oracle Database 12c, OBIEE 12c, Visual Analyzer, and Advanced Analytics. The current Big Data Lite Virtual Machine includes the full Oracle Big Data stack, including Big Data Discovery, Big Data Connectors, and ODI 12c. With no additional configuration necessary, you have a ready to go implementation as soon as you start up your virtual machine. Even better? These machines come with extensive samples on how to leverage the out of the box functionality of the products, as well samples that incorporate extensive customizations.

Confession: The Virtual Machines are my favorite OTN offering of all.

Tutorials

The best way to learn is by doing. With it’s tutorial library, OTN has provided you the ability to gain experience in Oracle products and concepts in a safe, guided environment. From introductory to advanced topics across all Oracle products, these tutorials can progress with you as you grow in your development knowledge.

A Hearty Thank You

Thank you OTN! You’ve been with me from the beginning and have provided the support and knowledge that have formed me into Developer I am today. I know that countless others can say the same.

Here’s to many more years of growing the community and the knowledge held by it.

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