Lately, I have been experimenting with different storage engines. MongoDB is interesting, especially to the developer in me, the ability to get JSON objects in one simple call is attractive. Most recently, with a little help from Tom I have setup Oracle 11g Express, simply to get a feel for how it operates.
First off, the nomenclature is different than what I'm used to, so I have to get my head around that. Authentication is different too. Gone are the user:host users of MySQL. Good riddance! In Oracle, users are users. Interestingly, when creating a user, they automatically get their own "schema," akin to a MySQL database,
I explored Oracle's Application Express, but being more of a command line guy, I ditched that and started poking around with SQL*Plus. After figuring out how to view tables (SELECT * FROM CAT instead of SHOW TABLES) etc, it felt much like learning a new programming language. The main concepts are similar to other RDBMS's and it ends up being more about learning the semantics than new concepts. Sure, some things are different, but if you know SQL, you can get around in Oracle - at least from a data perspective.
With little difficulty, I was able to install Oracle 11g Express, create a user, grant privileges, create tables, and insert data. I then installed php-oci8 and pulled out the data.
To become a true Oracle DBA, however, and learning how Oracle is working behind the scenes, creating clusters and other administrative tasks - that will take time and perhaps a few courses.