Making choice about which path you should take (DBA or PL/SQL programming), primarily depends upon your interest.
But for interest to be the deciding factor, you need to have knowledge of what activities are there in each path.
Best will be if you have some hands-on experience in both, then you will be in best position to decide which way to go.
If you ask me, I have experience in both, and have interest in both, so I am a mix of both that's why I ended up getting certified in both :)) ........
I will here mention some points about each path, as per my experience. Hope that will help in making a sound decision !
- DBA's job is one of the best paid job in the market, and will remain too. Moreover, Oracle database is here to stay.
- Being a DBA gives you some sort of power to control things as applications rely heavily on database. Whatever data comes in, it resides in database, under the eyes of DBA.
- You become one of the central point in every one's eyes in your team, as everyone, sooner or later, in one way or another, needs your assistance about database.
- Most probably, DBA support is needed 24 x 7 x 365, including on-call support. This may be one of the cons of this job for some people.
- There is lots of learning in this field, with new things being added in every new edition of product.
- Being an Oracle DBA, you will know about good and bad things about others databases in market. Will also know how to migrate them to Oracle, or connecting to one database from another via Oracle heterogeneous services or database links.
- You will know how to load large amount of data from some file like txt or excel into the database, via sql loader etc.
- Being Oracle DBA, you will have SQL, PL/SQL, perl, shell scripting, windows batch programming, various Operating Systems knowledge too.
- I hope above points gave an idea about DBA path. I believe doing some more research will give you a clear idea about DBA job... go ahead...
- PL/SQL programmers are also paid well, not not as good as DBAs.
- Being a PL/SQL developer, you will primarily be engaged in doing programming in Oracle's PL/SQL language, i.e. writing business logic.
- You will follow software flow models like SDLC to develop software as per requirements.
- You will interact with DBA for tuning issues, or you can do it yourself too given you have necessary privileges.
- You can become a performance tuning expert too following this path. There is a tuning related Oracle certification too.
- Basically you will be doing lots of coding, implementing various logic, using different capabilities of PL/SQL.
- With each version of Oracle, new capabilities are added to PL/SQL too, so learning never stops.