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From One of the Pack to ‘Top Dog’ – Honeymoon Period Over! Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:16 AM


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I noticed that a transition from a DBA to manager is getting more and more difficult. Today's managers are largely business graduates with technical skills, no longer techies with (some) management skills.

Over the past three years I have seen six techies promoted to management roles; only two of them succeeded. It is a risky move, becausee if you do not succeed as a manager, you (usually) cqannot go back to your old role -- you have to find another employer.
Post #1004480
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:27 AM


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The article's author wrote:

I’m never going to be the manager that simply lets the team research/evaluate and recommend solutions, but is this a workable approach?

My advice would be to set the general technical direction you wish your staffers to take, but then stand back and let them do their job; that's what you're paying them for, and they need to feel they have some 'skin in the game', too.

Once they've returned their recommended solutions to you, sit down with them:

* Talk about how and why they reached the solutions they did, so you might have an insight into their thinking before taking any further action.

* If you're unhappy with the results, be very careful about how, when, and where you offer any criticism. Critique the work, not the individual. Never belittle anyone, especially not in front of others. Offer your own thoughts and ideas about how the technical problem should be solved, but allow your staffers to critique those, too.

* Seek to find the best overall solution that fits within the known technical and fiscal constraints, and avoid accepting a solution strictly for political reasons whenever possible. Solutions to complex problems will likely require the contributions from a number of individuals; it will be your job to identify the best of them, and to meld them effectively.

Good luck. You've taken on a very tough job, and you'll make mistakes along the way. Learn from them, and be persistent. At the end of the day, the rewards of doing the job well are many.
Post #1004497
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2010 9:28 AM
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[/quote]
Needing to stay abreast of the latest technology is utterly irrelevant: that's what your staff is supposed to do.
[/quote]

This is true for some environments. In my role I'm also the database architect as well as the database manager. Part of my job is to stay abreast of upcoming technologies so I can lay a path for the future. I think to chart the technical course for a particular platform you need deep knowledge about your options. If one didn't have that knowledge, I don't see how that person could drive the platform forward. At that point I think the role is reduced to more of a care-taker role, just maintaining status quo, which is fine for some environments. I think if the environment is in a growth phase, the real value from the database manager role is someone who can initiate and drive creative technical solutions which constantly help scale the platform.
Post #1004498
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 1:49 AM
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david.wright-948385 (10/14/2010)

People with the wrong personality will never be ready.

I completely agree with this! Although if you don't have the right personality hopefully you'll be good enough at the technical stuff to progress down that career path.

david.wright-948385 (10/14/2010)

The importance of certification is inversely proportional to the number of jobs around, so at the moment it's quite/very important; three years ago it wasn't.

I better start looking in at certification then! With Lloyds TSB laying of 1600 odd IT staff the job market is going to be even more competitive.

What really annoys me with the Oracle certification is their insistence on attending a hands-on course before you can get your certification. So if you don't or can't afford to pay the £2500 fee to attend one of these you can never be certified. Even after you pass the written exams.
Post #1004944
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 6:56 AM


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LSCIV (10/14/2010)

Needing to stay abreast of the latest technology is utterly irrelevant: that's what your staff is supposed to do.


This is true for some environments. In my role I'm also the database architect as well as the database manager. Part of my job is to stay abreast of upcoming technologies so I can lay a path for the future.


It's true for your architect job, not the manager job. If you are strictly a manager, and I think that is important, than you shouldn't need lots of technical knowledge.







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Post #1005120
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 10:50 AM
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (10/15/2010)

If you are strictly a manager, and I think that is important, than you shouldn't need lots of technical knowledge.

Agreed, you just need the ability to ask the right people for the right information in the right way, at the right time, judge its veracity, understand if/how it fits into the bigger picture and act on it

Not an easy job
Post #1005369
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