Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Alexandre Barcelos, coordinator of database instruction, FIAP, Brazil.
FIAP - Centro Universitário is Brazil’s largest higher education institution specializing in Information Technology. Its mission is to produce graduates skilled in the technologies required by the corporate world. In 2022, FIAP merged with an e-learning company to form the largest technology education ecosystem in Brazil.
FIAP offers its 10,000 students 21 postgraduate degree paths—known as Post Tech courses—in coding and database development; systems architecture; cybersecurity; and data analytics. By partnering with global technology companies, it claims to deliver a seamless route from academia into the day-to-day business environment.
Oracle Academy is FIAP’s choice for teaching database design, programming and cloud integration. Alexandre Barcelos deploys the Oracle Academy database curriculum in his Post Tech course entitled Coding & Tech Journey, From User to Creator. His undergraduate and graduate classes focus on the interconnected disciplines of database, big data and data science.
As coordinator of database teaching, Barcelos has over 25 years of industry experience as a Database Administrator (DBA) in critical environments requiring high availability of systems and data. His leitmotiv—‘Database is my life’—stems from a passion for data and technology acquired at an early age and the subsequent conviction that socioeconomic development can only be achieved through a deep understanding of data.
Oracle Academy: What led FIAP to adopt Oracle Academy resources for its database instruction?
Alexandre Barcelos: Data is at the heart of value generation, competitive edge, and business development. Oracle is the leading database company in the world, and we have been using its educational resources for more than 15 years. All our undergraduate and Post Tech programs are specifically linked to Oracle technology and provide a mixture of theory with hands-on real-life exercises. We embrace the Project Based Learning methodology, as used by major industry players.
Our students really appreciate that the technology we use in the classroom is the very same that businesses use. They benefit from the alignment between classroom theory and corporate practice. To illustrate this, last year a couple of my graduates wrote back from companies that hired them to say, ”what I learned at FIAP is exactly what my company is doing.”
Oracle Academy: How many students take the Coding & Tech Journey class?
Alexandre Barcelos: Roughly 850 students per year. That splits into 17 different units: mornings, afternoons, and evenings because we cater online and in-class to people aged 17 to 50; most are in the 22-25 age bracket.
We are 10 teachers delivering the program. All of us have deep Oracle experience from working with the Oracle database in corporate environments, where we usually stay up to date through Oracle University and now, at FIAP, with online courses from the Oracle Academy Member Hub.
Oracle Academy: How do you structure your database classes?
Alexandre Barcelos: Before getting to Oracle Cloud they must know the basics: entities, attributes, relationships, and how to construct a database. Using Database Design and Programming with SQL and Programming with PL/SQL they learn how to build a conceptual model, translate that into a logical data model, and then transform the logical data model to a physical data model.
There is still a great demand for SQL skills and people who know how to manage databases. These courses provide the necessary building blocks for future professionals who can manipulate data with SQL, program with PL/SQL and fulfill the roles of DBAs, system engineers, data scientists, and other front and back office functions.
And since we partner with all the major vendors, I introduce them to big data processing tools such as Hadoop. They learn to install and configure the Hadoop Distributed File System, and open source platforms such as the NoSQL Database, MySQL and many others.
Oracle Academy: And then you move into the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure…
Alexandre Barcelos: Correct. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) provides the huge differential of offering credits for resources requiring money in the businesss world. You could say we induct students into industry ‘for free’.
It is important to note that during the pandemic, the Oracle Academy Cloud Program was a life saver in maintaining continuity in our teaching, accessible at any time from anywhere. The program equips us with Virtual Machines allowing us to optimize SQL programming, configure big data ecosystems, and simulate disaster recovery. All of this maps to what students will do when they get into industry.
We use other Oracle technologies for data analytics and machine learning, namely Oracle Data Miner, an extension to Oracle SQL Developer that enables data analysts to view data and rapidly build machine learning models. By using Data Miner I keep the class focused on SQL and the worldwide ecosystem that derives from that programming language.
Oracle Academy: And just where does the Coding & Tech Journey class lead your students?
Alexandre Barcelos: FIAP’s goal is to turn out graduates with the knowledge and skills that industry is looking for, specifically data analytics but also the administration of the data that makes that analysis possible. I am a specialist in data mining, predictive analysis, data science, database management and data processing… everything that is related to data.
I leverage the entire Oracle Academy database curriculum, from the fundamentals up to the Autonomous Database. My colleagues and I serve up everything that industry itself requires. We apply theory and practice through day to day exercises in the classroom and in the labs.
Oracle Academy: In what way do you use the Oracle Academy Member Hub?
Alexandre Barcelos: Our teachers receive their quota of Oracle Cloud accounts via the Member Hub. In São Paulo we are connected through Oracle’s Cloud Region in Queretaro, Mexico, giving us access to the full range of Free Tier resources. We use all the materials—classroom work, case studies, problem solving, laboratory work, teaching updates.
Oracle Academy: And what can you tell us of the job market?
Alexandre Barcelos: FIAP, as mentioned, constitutes the largest technology education ecosystem in Brazil. Demand for our skills is consistently high—immense I would say. DBA, data engineer, machine learning expert, data scientist—FIAP feeds industry with graduates who have earned their wings.
The corporate world today is all about data for decision making, data for predicting the future. In conjunction with Oracle Academy we guarantee graduates who can manipulate data and help companies to make strategic decisions.
Oracle Academy: Do you encourage Oracle professional certification?
Alexandre Barcelos: It’s on our schedule. I am an Oracle Certified Professional and encourage all students to go for this certification, which differentiates them in the market. FIAP is partnering with Oracle University in order to promote the certification path.
Oracle Academy: That’s great. And, last question, what motivates you outside of teaching?
Alexandre Barcelos: It’s quite simple. I never deviate from my motto: Database is my life. I’m a deep-dyed, tried and true Oracle database fan. Currently I am working towards a doctorate in data analytics based on what Oracle Academy has enriched me with.
I am dedicated to turning out graduates that fit the needs of businesses today. Industry requirements have changed dramatically and we in the teaching profession are challenged to equip students accordingly.
Using Oracle Academy resources inside our Project Based Learning methodology, we are supplying industry with tomorrow’s data scientists, DBAs, and cloud professionals. That’s what motivates me. FIAP calls it "transforming people's lives through education and technology." The partnership with Oracle Academy is indispensable to our objectives.
Thank you, Alexandre Barcelos, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.