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What is a Database Administrator today? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 7:01 AM
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The size of your organisation/company is also very relevant as mentioned above. When in a small organisation, whatever role you have you will always have to wear many hats.
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 7:13 AM
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In the two DBA roles I have held, it has been company size that dictated the scope. Working in the smaller of the two companies, I was employed as a DBA but the role also included db development and front-end VB programming. The variety was great but I wondered what it would be like to simply be a 'DBA'. In my current role in a much larger company, I am more of pure DBA doing installations, optimisations, and looking after SQL, SSRS, and a little bit of SSAS. The job title is a more generic 'SQL Server Specialist' which seems appropriate.

I do try get involved with what the developers are doing (out of interest and trying to save myself work later) and feel it is possible to be proficient in numerous aspects of the product, particularly as the years go by...
Post #1520577
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 7:31 AM
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In 19 years (7 of them as consultant) of working with SQL, I think only once did I only do one part of what many describes as a DBA (and that was at one of the top 5 banks by size). In most places, where my title has ranged from Client Servers Applications Specialist (this was when most companies where just introducing SQL 6/6.5) to Senior SQL Database Architect, I have mostly been "the SQL guy", if it had anything to do with SQL, it was my responsibility to get it done (or to find the right consultants to get it done if I did not have the needed experience).

As some have said, titles are pretty meaningless. Maybe in larger organizations they make some sense just to make sure people know who is in charge....

The job today is a magnitude harder in some respects (i.e. much wider experience needed), but also a LOT easier in some ways (disk management, oh what a joy that was in 6 and 6.5, and 4.21 but I luckily just had a few months of exposure to it).
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 8:16 AM
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I do all the traditional Database Administrator tasks and then some, which includes the following. A little database design for custom database needs, as well as a little bit of development for a front end to manage the data. I also do a lot of SSIS for extract and load to a database warehouse. I like the change every now and then for some development, because just Installing, Backing up, Restoring and Upgrading database servers can get a bit boring and a change in the norm is welcome.
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 8:18 AM


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I prefer the "Jack of All Trade, master of none" verses being a so-called expert at 1 or 2 things. Keeps things from getting stale or boring.
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 8:23 AM
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It would appear that a 'Database Administrator' is whatever the organization wants you to be for the role and goals to be accomplished.

In a 10-year period, I had worked for various organizations as a 'Senior Systems Administrator'. However, my role in each of those companies included database administration, and sometimes network administration or applications support. Today, I am noticing that there is a "blending" of roles such that there is no "ideal" database administrator position. One has to be "multi-lingual" when it comes to interfacing with internal customers, whether they are part of the database, systems, application, and business analyst teams.
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Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 8:40 AM


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VictorSQL (12/6/2013)
It would appear that a 'Database Administrator' is whatever the organization wants you to be for the role and goals to be accomplished.

In a 10-year period, I had worked for various organizations as a 'Senior Systems Administrator'. However, my role in each of those companies included database administration, and sometimes network administration or applications support. Today, I am noticing that there is a "blending" of roles such that there is no "ideal" database administrator position. One has to be "multi-lingual" when it comes to interfacing with internal customers, whether they are part of the database, systems, application, and business analyst teams.

The role of system administrator and database administrator are blended, perhaps more so in recent years due to corporate downsizing and staff shuffling. However, going forward I think that the two roles will start to diverge again as databases move to 3rd party hosted cloud environments or even in-house data warehouse appliances like Netezza or SQL Server PDW that are 3rd party supported. The DBA will lose his sysadmin privillages to the physical environment and instead take on more roles at the business intelligence level. But of course there will always be plenty of us who have remote server console open in one window and a SQL query window open in another.
Post #1520617
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 8:44 AM
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I've been contracting for the last several years and it really is a challenge to figure out what each contract is actually looking for. I'm really a SQL Server Developer, but almost all reqs ask for a 'DBA'. Recruiters never seem to have a clue what the client wants and I find that the job descriptions, if they exist, are often unclear as well--they usually ask for everything even though the task at hand only need a subset.

It would be lovely to standardize the vocabulary around different task areas. Admin DBA, Developer DBA, etc.

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Post #1520619
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 10:14 AM
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Eric M Russell (12/6/2013)

The role of system administrator and database administrator are blended, perhaps more so in recent years due to corporate downsizing and staff shuffling. However, going forward I think that the two roles will start to diverge again ...


I could d not agree more. The cyclical nature of the business, software, hardware, and management and architectural ideas/strategies shift from time to time, we will continue to see this swing like the proverbial pendulum.

Well said Eric

M.


edited to fix the quote


Not all gray hairs are Dinosaurs!
Post #1520660
Posted Friday, December 6, 2013 11:17 AM
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I am a database administration, and also, I am the database developer, and then asp.net, C#, Jquery, Java script, CSS, front end developer; and also C#, windows programmer, and then, Microsoft BI, office 2010, 2007 powerpivot user to do rapid prototype, business analysis.
I work on SQL server 2008, SQL server 2005, create a new database, back up, and then, set up agents to report web database server daily disk space, database size, auto growth etc.
One of things brings me most concern is to how to create an IT career for myself, what is my best strategy to learn, grow, and also enjoy the short career I may have.
From other end, I also try to improve data structure, algorithm skills, improve my work performance etc.
I could not believe what I could do as one person; but the task I worked on opened my eye and forced me think smart and work smart.

I want to use an example to end my comment, what kind of work involves for you to send out market team thousands of contact in Microsoft outlook address book an email without being treated as spam?
Post #1520688
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