On working with Oracle, writing, and the latest edition of Oracle Essentials

An interview with Robert Stackowiak, co-author of Oracle Essentials 5th Edition

Robert Stackowiak

Robert Stackowiak

Robert Stackowiak and Rick Greenwald are super busy. They both handle a lot of responsibilities in their “day” jobs at Oracle. They also managed to squeeze in enough time to complete the latest update to their book, Oracle Essentials. It is currently available here as an early release. Both Robert and Rick took some time out to answer a few questions about the book, how they started working with Oracle, and writing. I’ve focused on Robert for this post but stay tuned for a later post that provides some behind the scenes insight from Rick Greenwald.

How did you get started working with Oracle technologies? How long have you been working with them?

Robert Stackowiak: I started working with the Oracle Database while at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul in about 1984. The St. Paul District was one of the first Corps Districts to use the Oracle Database to write applications.

What is your day-to-day job with data entail?

Robert Stackowiak: I help guide Oracle’s sales and architecture teams and Oracle’s customers in defining and building information architectures. This includes all aspects including databases, Big Data solutions, business intelligence and data discovery tools, and integration tools and strategies.

Is there a particular feature of Oracle 12c that you think will be particularly useful to those working with data?

Robert Stackowiak: The features generating the most buzz (that I am sure Rick will talk about) are Pluggable Databases and heat maps. In the analytics area, I think that pattern matching could draw quite a bit of interest where organizations are looking for Map Reduce-like capabilities to be used in making sense of data stored in Oracle.

Any advice for someone who is looking to balance working and writing?

Robert Stackowiak: Most of my writing takes place on weekends and long plane rides. A lot of my writing helps me better articulate how Oracle’s products work, so writing helps me a lot in my day job.

Who is the audience for the book?

Robert Stackowiak: This book is about concepts and fundamentals important to understanding how the Oracle Database works. Those that most appreciate the book are often new to Oracle or want a concise overview of what Oracle is about in a single volume. The book is not for those who want a detailed how-to description of one specific aspect of Oracle – the Oracle documents and other more targeted books cover that.

What do you hope the reader will learn after reading the book?

Robert Stackowiak: They should gain an understanding as to the scope of capabilities provided by the Oracle Database. They should also begin to understand where they might need to do further exploration.

When did you first start writing? How did that come about?

Robert Stackowiak: My first professional journal article discussed the value of networked computers to civil engineering solutions and was written in 1986. The Corps of Engineers was an early agency to explore using Unix servers for email and applications. I began to write articles for a variety of technical journals shortly thereafter. Oracle Essentials was my first book and led to many others.

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