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Lorena Gómez

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The spotlight is on Dr. Lorena Gómez, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico

Tecnológico de Monterrey is a university at the forefront of the use and development of technology, headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico’s third largest city and capital of the Nuevo Leon northern industrial region. It has 26 campuses throughout the country, including three in Mexico City, and a further eight international offices coordinating student exchange agreements worldwide.

The institution, founded in 1943, is one of the largest private, not-for-profit colleges in Latin America. It is home to 90,000 students and 11,500 teachers. Its six areas of study offer degree courses in Built Environment, Business, Law and Internal Relations, Health, Creative Studies, and Engineering. According to the QS World University rankings 2024 Report, Tecnológico de Monterrey is ranked number 4* in Latin American and the Caribbean and number 1 in Mexico.

In 1969, Tecnológico de Monterrey, known as Tec de Monterrey, became the first university in Latin America to offer an undergraduate degree in the field of computer science, under the Faculty of Engineering.

Dr. Lorena Gómez teaches databases, business analytics and software development in the Department of Computer Science and Information Technology. She designed the master’s degree program in Software Engineering and helped steer the college’s digital transformation program as of 2015.

Gómez earned a PhD in Computer Science from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Tecnológico de Monterrey.

During her tenure at Tec de Monterrey she has received awards in the categories Teaching and Research; Special Inspiring Professor; and Service, Leadership and Intellectual Vitality.

Oracle Academy: When did the college become an Oracle Academy member?

Lorena Gómez: It happened in 2023. But there’s the back story. At the end of 2022, I planned for a sabbatical year and chose to spend it at the Oracle Mexico Development Center (MDC) in Guadalajara, the hub of what is known as Mexico’s Silicon Valley. Many years earlier, I had met Héctor García-Molina, originator of the MDC. García-Molina was himself a graduate from Tec de Monterrey, who went on to become chair of the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University and later joined the board of directors of Oracle Corporation. It was he who proposed Guadalajara as a new software development center.

When working on my PhD, García-Molina enthused me with database research in Distributed Systems and Transactions. When I returned to Tec as a faculty, I began to teach Database and Software Engineering courses and to design new curriculum in databases. However, up until the pandemic, we were principally using Microsoft software and students got certificates in Azure Data Fundamentals, which was free back then. But post-covid, the program was no longer free. When I discovered Oracle Academy during my MDC visit, I decided to switch to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). What’s more, Oracle Academy offered a Cloud Program and certification opportunities. It was a windfall. Like most universities, we are attracted by teaching resources that don’t require capital expenditure. At the tail-end of my sabbatical, I began mapping the Oracle Academy materials to the various degree courses for computer science, information technology, and business.

But, the amusing thing was that a month before my sabbatical, Tec de Monterrey had become an Oracle Academy member! This was fantastic news because now I could access all of the resources to build out fresh curricula with far less effort. Immediately I started registering my students for Oracle Cloud accounts.

Oracle Academy: Quite a tale! And what resources did you select for teaching database?

Lorena Gómez: Currently I am using Applied Database Systems, which provides an overview of database basics, database applications development, database management, and even machine learning. It contains a module for Oracle APEX. APEX is extremely useful for low code development. Students can create cloud apps without knowing SQL. Before having access to OCI, our servers could not support Oracle APEX. OCI has been a godsend. This next semester I will teach the APEX module and associated tutorials to business students.

I teach classes in Data Exploration and Analytics, which is data warehousing and data mining; Data Architecture, which is an introductory class on databases; and, for non-technical students, mainly business undergraduates, a class called Advanced Data Analytics.

Oracle Academy: What exercises do you give students based on Oracle APEX?

Lorena Gómez: Being able to use Oracle Cloud has been a fantastic benefit. So many valuable resources are available through the always-free offering. In the past my access to free resources was limited to 30 days and I spent many months cramming myself with knowledge before the time was up.

Oracle Academy: What exercises do you assign students?

Lorena Gómez: One of my projects is to show how databases are used to build e-commerce sites. In APEX, I introduce the Oracle Academy Shopping Cart application that manages products, customers, and stores. For this we use real data taken from the Monterrey Tec online TECstore, one of the retail outlets to be found on each of our campuses, selling branded clothing and other items. Students get a free development environment to build and integrate a data warehouse of sales. We had fun discovering that on the campus in Monterrey, a hot city in the north of Mexico, sweatshirts turned out to be the best-selling product, not t-shirts. Some students refused to believe it. I said, “Here’s the data, check it out!”

In another APEX project, we ran an Oracle Red Bull Racing Workshop, a two-hour dive into ways in which data analytics help adapt and improve behavior and strategic decision-making in Formula1 racing. It’s a great introduction to the challenges of data scientists. And it plays well with my students because one of the drivers on the Red Bull Racing team is Mexican, from Guadalajara. Earlier this year he won second place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix held in Jeddah.

Oracle Academy: Are you the only instructor at the university using Oracle Academy resources?

Lorena Gómez: It was me alone to begin with, but after a train-the-trainer session early this year, 12 faculty members requested cloud accounts for their students and are preparing to use Oracle Academy resources in their Cloud, DevOps and other classes. That’s an additional 12 groups of 30-35 students learning Oracle Database across our campuses, including the major locations of Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puebla, Queretaro, and Toluca.

A total of 29 instructors from computer science, industrial engineering, and business enrolled in the 20-hour course, which I designed to provide an overview of everything on offer, particularly how to use OCI to create cloud native apps with Oracle Autonomous Database. In addition, I invited guest speakers from Oracle Academy and Oracle Mexico, including former students of mine now working in that company. The program has been accredited by the Tec de Monterrey continuous learning program in which faculty must take 40 or 80 hours of training in technology enhancements as part of their annual objectives.

It’s been a success, and I will be repeating the training program in the next semester as more teachers become interested.


Oracle Academy resources are rich. They offer hands-on labs, tutorials, quizzes, exams and I adapt all it for teaching software development, testing, agile DevOps and more. The idea is to permeate Tec de Monterrey bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information technology, engineering and business with Oracle technology.

Oracle Academy: Are the 12 instructors who requested accounts now using the Oracle Academy curriculum?

Lorena Gómez: They are incorporating elements of the Oracle Academy Cloud Program into their classes. My course gave them a solid grounding, but many of them are continuing to self-learn through the excellent Oracle Academy Office Hours sessions. Office Hours is a resource that provides live access to Oracle Academy principal instructors, during predefined office hours posted on the Oracle Academy Member Hub. I use these hours myself to learn about specific topics, or to get recommendations on lab exercises, and find them to be a very valuable resource.

Oracle Academy: We hear you have made good use of opportunities for Oracle Cloud professional certification and other Oracle credentials.

Lorena Gómez: Yes. It is our belief at Tec de Monterrey that credentials demonstrate skill and knowledge and a differentiator when candidates present themselves for internships or jobs. Oracle Academy awards badges and diplomas for successful completion of tutorials, lab exercises and performance-based assignments. As an example, many of my students have earned a badge by completing the course Oracle Applied Database Systems Learner. There are dozens more. What the badges show to prospective employers is the ability to learn and to self-learn. Self-learning abilities mean that the student will have no trouble becoming part of a new team, adapting to whatever technology is in use, and helping the business.

Oracle professional certifications are even more telling. Taking advantage of last year’s four-month window for obtaining certification on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure free of charge, Tec de Monterrey enrolled 120 students to take the exams. All completed the study work and successfully became certified as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Foundations Associates 2023 and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure AI Foundations Associates 2023, the latter exhibiting skills in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This year, I have plans for another 60 students to get OCI AI certifications and 90 to certify in Oracle Applied Database. In summary, I believe that credentials are crucial stepping stones to employment. You have certification, or you don’t.

Oracle Academy: That’s powerful. And how does the job market look for your graduates?

Lorena Gómez: Most of my computer science students are aiming for software development jobs. Business students go into consulting. The great thing about the Oracle Academy relationship is that Oracle itself has given internships and full-time jobs to many of our graduates. The MDC hires 90 interns and 100 fresh graduates each year. When it was set up in 2010, it had 40 employees; today there are 2,500 and growing. It’s one of three major development centers in the world and specializes in developing cloud solutions for hospitality, retail, finance and other industries.

Oracle Academy: We imagine there’s quite some competition for internships and jobs there.

Lorena Gómez: Very true. Last year Tec de Monterrey placed 20 interns for six-month periods. This year we have 125 applications. Currently I am helping with the internship process at Tec. The more students know about Oracle technology, the better their chances of acceptance. This is where credentials come in, but my team also coaches with soft skills. Our goal is to increase the percentage of students who pass the interview. And MDC encourages computer science instructors across Mexico to prepare students in Oracle technology. It’s a win-win situation which also encourages teachers to take sabbaticals at MDC, as I did, or short-term visits.

I have just finished collaborating in a project that I believe will lead to internships and jobs. Over 100 students from Tec de Monterrey Guadalajara campus — most of whom achieved OCI certification — worked with MDC experts on a capstone project involving the design and development of a Java Bot using Oracle Cloud native applications and applying agile DevOps practices. It’s been a major exposure to the real world of databases.

Meanwhile, I’m really happy with my first full year using Oracle Academy. I intend to make much more use of it in the future and train up additional teachers to follow suit. Oracle Academy resources are rich. They offer hands-on labs, tutorials, quizzes, exams and I adapt all it for teaching software development, testing, agile DevOps and more. The idea is to permeate Tec de Monterrey bachelor’s degrees in computer science, information technology, engineering and business with Oracle technology.

Oracle Academy: We understand that the MDC also promotes Women in Tech programs. Have you been involved in those initiatives?

Lorena Gómez: Yes indeed. 12 female students from the Monterrey and Guadalajara campuses took part in the last Ada Lovelace Challenge, organized by Oracle Academy in homage to the pioneer of women in science and math. They joined 40 girls from nine universities across Mexico. Over five days they learned Oracle APEX and how to develop applications on Oracle Autonomous Database using OCI. I was surprised by how well they performed and will be replicating those sessions in my own classes. This year we will enter many more girls for the Ada Lovelace Day.

Oracle Academy: That’s wonderful. And what are your interests outside of the university?

Lorena Gómez: I like to run in the mornings, and I also like to travel. In Mexico we loved Oaxaca and other magical towns. My husband and I enjoy walking through unknown cities, along their riverbanks and soaking up new places.

I take many photos on those trips but also, at home in Monterrey, I snap the beautiful sunsets and sunrises of northern Mexico. It’s an amateur hobby which I love.

* QS World University rankings 2024 Report

Thank you, Dr. Lorena Gómez, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.

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