Making a difference with Oracle Academy
The spotlight is on Dr. Nguyen Minh Khiem, Lecturer at Can Tho University, CanTho, Vietnam.
Vietnam, which has a population of 96 million, has a master plan to become a major computer science hub in Southeast Asia. Yet even with 55,000 students per year enrolled in IT studies, the government acknowledges a shortage of skilled IT professionals in the workforce. The 420 universities across the nation are working to address the shortfall.
Dr. Nguyen Minh Khiem teaches database design and programming in the Department of Information Systems at Can Tho University. Dr. Khiem himself graduated from Can Tho University and, after writing his Master’s thesis in Taiwan, returned to his alma mater in 2011 to teach Oracle Academy curriculum, with the goal of preparing students for successful careers using their computing skills.Dr. Khiem believes that graduates skilled in Oracle technologies have more career options and great career paths ahead of them. His courses are based entirely on the materials provided by Oracle Academy, which to date has 29 institutional members in Vietnam and has trained 200 faculty, including Dr. Khiem.
Oracle Academy: What drew you to Oracle Academy for teaching computer science?
Dr. Khiem: As a student, I learned Matlab, C++, and Java for building applications. I was always strong in Oracle database management skills, with top marks. For me, it is the best relational database, with the strongest security and highest performance, and I wanted to pass on what I knew. I received Oracle Academy training at an event in Ho Chi Minh City, and now use the full course curriculum available to Oracle Academy members in iLearning.
Oracle Academy: Can you describe your teaching environment?
Dr. Khiem: Every semester I teach five Oracle Academy courses. My classes average 30 students each, and they take four hours per week of theory, and five hours per week of practice. To teach theory, I use the Oracle Academy slides and materials, and then for hands-on practice, we move to the lab to build databases using our Oracle APEX accounts provided by Oracle Academy.
I teach database functions, triggers, and procedures, and get my students to understand Regular Expression. The courses are based on the Oracle Academy courses Database Design and Programming with SQL and Programming with PL/SQL.
My students are hardworking and love programming, and especially database projects and building databases. I encourage them to learn as much as possible about transactions, because Oracle is the best in the world for transactions.
Oracle Academy: In what way do you help them to get jobs?
Dr. Khiem: Oracle is in one sense fairly new to Vietnam, with SQL Server being widespread, but the Oracle database security and performance are far more powerful. In Vietnam, banking and finance, for example, fully use Oracle database. With the support of Can Tho administration, I meet companies and industries all the time, suggesting that they take our third-year students for unpaid summer work placements. Very often, the students end up being hired by those same companies―in fact, every graduate finds work.
The companies give us valuable feedback, based on the interns’ performance, suggesting to us how we might improve the curriculum so that graduates become even more job-ready when they leave the university. We win, they win.
Every year we do career tracking and know which students found which jobs in various companies. Last year 60 graduates found work using their Oracle skills in jobs such as web and Android apps development, database administration, systems development, database development, database security, and business intelligence.
Oracle Academy: How many of your colleagues also teach Oracle Academy courses?
Dr. Khiem: At the moment, we have eight staff capable of teaching Oracle Academy curriculum. Since I am the only one with Oracle Academy training, we meet once a week for two hours to share knowledge, tips, new Oracle database functions and features, and teaching methods.
Last year I attended an intensive five-day refresher course run by Oracle Academy, focusing on analyzing complex business scenarios and creating data models. I also join Oracle Academy online training sessions where I make contact and interact with teachers at other Vietnamese universities, which is extremely valuable, too.
Can Tho University intends to strengthen the partnership with Oracle Academy by ensuring more faculty are trained so we can help students meet the growing demand for Oracle technology skills in the job market.
Oracle Academy: What about information technology particularly inspires you?
Dr. Khiem: Today, I really want to learn more about big data and machine learning. I have applied for a one-year scholarship to a university in Japan to attend courses on these topics.
Oracle Academy: And in your free time?
Dr. Khiem: After classes, I like to go to the movies, watch football, find goofy clips on YouTube, read books. And reading Oracle documentation is on my agenda, too; there’s no end to what you can learn, always something new. It also helps my English.
Related article: Read how Oracle Academy collaborates with Arizona State University and USAID on the BUILD-IT Alliance to advance work-ready skills and computer science curriculum in Vietnam.
Thank you, Dr. Khiem, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.