Kamran Agayev's Oracle Blog

Oracle Certified Master

Exclusive Interview with Rob van Wijk

Posted by Kamran Agayev A. on September 23rd, 2011

Rob has worked with Oracle databases and related products since 1995. First as a developer and analyst using Oracle Forms, Reports and Designer. Currently he works as a technical architect, QA-consultant and/or performance consultant. His main areas of expertise are the database, SQL, PL/SQL and performance. He’s an Oracle ACE


Could u please provide answer to the following questions as follows:

  • Brief information about yourself and your family

I live in Utrecht in the Netherlands with my wife and three sons of 5, 4 and 0 years old. I work at CIBER as a principal Oracle consultant.

  • Your education

I studied “Technische Informatica” at the Technical University of Eindhoven from 1991 to 1995.


  • Your experience with Oracle. When you started first? Has it been interest of your side or just a coincidence?

For the last part of my study I worked six months at Shell, building a query generator using Oracle6. When applying for jobs at the end of 1995, I noticed several HR departments had put a red circle around the word Oracle, because it was in demand. So it was coincidence.

  • What was the motive behind to prefer Oracle? Who you have been influenced by?

I had some bad experiences using other (M$) technologies at Shell and the front end tools of Oracle, especially Forms and Designer were very good at that time. I still believe you cannot top the productivity we got from using those tools. Nowadays I have only seen APEX coming close.

From 2003 to 2006 I read a few threads each day on AskTom, so Tom Kyte has had a big influence on me. From then on I started participating in forums and reading Oracle related blogs. Currently I have more than 100 blogs in my reader, who all influence me in one way or the other.


  • What would your preference of profession if not Oracle?

I would probably still work in IT, maybe as a web developer or for Google.

  • What motivates you in your job?

Getting better at what I do and learning new things.


  • Do you give lectures on Oracle?

Yes. At CIBER I have give (and attend) knowledge sessions for (by) colleagues. I have presented at several conferences like UKOUG and Oracle OpenWorld. And I just started to give a seminar for Oracle University called SQL Masterclass in their celebrity series.

  • Have you authored any book in Oracle?


  • Do you manage with your time as to read books on Oracle? What is the name of the book that you read recently?

Yes, but not very much. One or two per year at most. The last one was Oracle Insights – Tales from the Oak Table.

  • What do you think on OTN forums?

It’s where I started to answer questions in 2006. Besides trying to help, I quickly found that it’s a great way to learn as well. There are lots of very knowledgeable people there that you can learn a lot from. My participation has dropped significantly the last two years because I don’t like the forum software. These days I answer more at Stack Overflow. Their forum engine is absolute fabulous compared to OTN.

  • Do you refer to the documentation? And how often does it happen?

I always do. A lot.

  • What is the biggest mistake you have ever made during your DBA career?

I’m not a DBA, but I have made a lot of mistakes of course. I once completely refactored a very important and complex batch job to run in 2 hours instead of 5-6 hours using bulk processing. This went good, but a half year later, I implemented a change, where I screwed up the relation between accounts and bill lines in the bulk collections. The result was tens of thousands of people would get charged energy bills for someone else’s products. The end users had already accepted the change in UAT and it was ready for production. Because of some dependencies, my change stayed in UAT for two months. And by coincidence, a colleague implementing another change at the same module noticed my mistake, just in time. I’m still thankful to him. Thanks Riné!


  • What was your greatest achivement as an Oracle DBA?

As a developer, I introduced instrumentation at a customer site. Experiencing how solving production issues was hard or even impossible and became a piece of cake, is very rewarding. The return on investment is just phenomenal.


  • What are your best skills which make you differ from others?

In the world it’s not unique by far, but in my job I think it’s rare to find the combination of being able to retrieve or manipulate data in any way you want combined with understanding what you’re asking the database to do for you.


  • What’s your major weakness?

Spending too much time behind my laptop.


  • How do you balance your daily life with your career?

That’s a struggle with only 24 hours in each day.


  • Please describe your one day summary of activities?

There is no such thing as a typical day, so this question is almost impossible to answer.


  • How many hours do you work and sleep in a day?

I work 8 hours a day and I try to sleep 8 hours a day.

  • Where and how do you spend your daily, weekly and annual holidays?

Different locations, but we love to go to Turkey one week each year.

  • Do you think about Oracle during vacations?

I usually bring one Oracle book with me, but a vacation is mostly offline for me.

  • Do you have time or motivation to go in for any sports? If yes, which kind of sport do you go in for?

Once a week I play tennis with friends. At amateur level, but with great enthusiasm.


  • What’s your favorite meal and non-alcoholic drink?

Sandwich with ragout made by my mom, and cola.

  • What foreign languages do you know?

English and a little bit of French. Dutch is my mother language.

  • What’s your average typing speed?

I don’t know exactly, but I type with 10 fingers and quite fast, so probably around 200 strokes per minute. Unfortunately I write code much slower :-)

  • Have you ever get involved in politics?


  • What are your hobbies?

Oracle of course. And listening to music, working on my APEX application for Tour de France poules, playing Civilization and playing tennis.


  • How do you spend your free time?

With my family and exercising the above mentioned hobbies.

  • What’s your biggest ambition?

To raise my children well.

  • What would be your advice to the beginners in Oracle?

Read and try to understand the Concepts Manual and participate in a forum.

  • Would you like your children to follow in your footsteps or take a different path in life?

I hope they will do what they like best, whatever that may be.

  • Do you have any followers of you?

According to Google Reader, 247 readers have currently subscribed to the RSS feed of my blog. I seriously doubt they all consider them “followers of me”, though.

  • What is your vision on the future of Oracle?

I don’t have a vision on Oracle’s future. They’ll probably do fine and expand some more. And their database will remain the best one.


  • Could you please take a photo in your office near to your desktop?

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>