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I'm .NET Developer with 3 years of experience. Looking to change career to DBA. Advise please. Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 11:17 AM
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Hi All,

I've been working as .NET Developer ever since I grad from college 3 years ago, I've been staying in the same company ever since. Most of my .NET Skills are coming from taking class in college and self-taught at home, I don't have any certification whatsoever.

My company is mid-size (about 400-500 employees), my current salary is 61k. I would like to explore for another IT Field that pay me better and beside, being a developer, but I don't like designing UI, I only like to deal with logic and been a lot helpful to our company's DBA.

I heard that they pay DBA better than Developer. I would like to ask, if I try to follow SQL Server DBA path, getting MCSA SQL Sever 2012 certification in a year from now:

1. At that time, with 4 years of .NET Exp + SQL Server 2012 MCSA certification, how much would I expect to get in Dallas, TX?
2. I learn best through studying the slideshow. I wonder if anyone know where I can get slideshow lecture for SQL Server, from beginning to advanced?
3. There are 3 exams in MCSA, what test format are they? (I heard that they are all multiple choice but I am not sure)

Thanks All,

MTC# (MinhTuCSharper)
Post #1537885
Posted Tuesday, February 4, 2014 1:16 PM


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I fear you may have some misconceptions about the expectations of where you're going.

MinhTuCSharper (2/4/2014)

My company is mid-size (about 400-500 employees), my current salary is 61k. I would like to explore for another IT Field

Always a bonus, if for no other reason then better understanding of all the moving parts can help.
that pay me better and beside,

Hold that thought....

being a developer, but I don't like designing UI, I only like to deal with logic and been a lot helpful to our company's DBA.

There are a number of disciplines in coding that don't revolve around the UI, for example N-tier components and the like. I wouldn't completely switch disciplines simply because you are uninterested in UIs.


I heard that they pay DBA better than Developer.

Nope. Not usually, and only with commensurate experience. The reason the average DBA is paid a lot higher (typically) when you look at averages is that there are less of them and they typically have a lot of years of experience. What you need to do is compare experience levels to determine what you should expect as a rate.


I would like to ask, if I try to follow SQL Server DBA path, getting MCSA SQL Sever 2012 certification in a year from now:

MCSA? It's a paper tiger. It's just a foot in the door sometimes to show you're serious about switching your careers. Doesn't mean much else, really, other than you're a competent intern who can cram for a test.

1. At that time, with 4 years of .NET Exp + SQL Server 2012 MCSA certification, how much would I expect to get in Dallas, TX?

Hard question. Every market is different. However, in the Southwest I find (outside of California) you'll probably be looking at 30-40k as a SQL Junior.

2. I learn best through studying the slideshow. I wonder if anyone know where I can get slideshow lecture for SQL Server, from beginning to advanced?

You want to look up the PASS videos, as well as look around for SQL Saturday presentations and slidedecks from those presenters who are willing to post them. Warning, they stretch across the board and many of those presentations make a lot of assumptions about your basic knowledge.




Having answered your questions, I'm going to answer one unasked. You're doing this for the wrong reasons. If you want to switch careers simply for better money than the one you're in, stop. You want to get on a management track that gets you into the upper hierarchy of the company managing people and issues and finances, not data. Warning, that's a lot worse than UI, though.

I wrote an article a while back about getting started in SQL Server. It still applies. You may want to take a read, when you get some time.

http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Career/71608/



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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:39 AM


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Evil Kraig F (2/4/2014)

I would like to ask, if I try to follow SQL Server DBA path, getting MCSA SQL Sever 2012 certification in a year from now:

MCSA? It's a paper tiger. It's just a foot in the door sometimes to show you're serious about switching your careers. Doesn't mean much else, really, other than you're a competent intern who can cram for a test.


And, from the exam description page:

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers with two or more years of experience, who are seeking to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.



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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:44 AM


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Switching careers just for the money is usually not a good idea. You have to make sure you will actually like what you are going to do.
Being a DBA can mean that you have to be on call at night or in weekends. Are you up to that?




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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 7:59 AM
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So beside .NET and SQL Server, what is the hot MS technical field out there that on high demand, I'm willing to learn whatever MS Technology to get my salary to 6 figures or as close as possible. (Windows Azure, SQL Server, Windows Server, etc)

My comment on your answers:

Hard question. Every market is different. However, in the Southwest I find (outside of California) you'll probably be looking at 30-40k as a SQL Junior.

35-40k salary in California for Junior SQL Server DBA? Isn't it too low for an IT Professional, my current salary as Dev is 61k for 3 years experience, I got 50k when I first got out of college 3 years ago with zero experience.

Switching careers just for the money is usually not a good idea. You have to make sure you will actually like what you are going to do.
Being a DBA can mean that you have to be on call at night or in weekends. Are you up to that?

If it is what it takes to make high paid, I don't mind at all.

This exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers with two or more years of experience, who are seeking to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.

How can I get the foot in the door as SQL Server DBA without any certification, as my experience is .NET Dev. At least with certification, I have something to sell on the table.
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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:03 AM


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GilaMonster (2/5/2014)

And, from the exam description page:

Who should take this exam?

This exam is intended for SQL Server database administrators, system engineers, and developers with two or more years of experience, who are seeking to validate their skills and knowledge in writing queries.


Admittedly, I was thinking of the MTA when I initially scanned the page on MS's site:
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/mcsa-sql-certification.aspx

Particularly when I looked over the syllabus of testing items for the first course:
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/exam-70-461.aspx

Which, other than the XML, I'd expect out of anyone expecting to use SQL Server in any way. I didn't see the 2 years part but I probably didn't look closely enough. Honestly, though, I'd expect the majority of those skills day 1. The administration's test goes deeper, but I hadn't looked at that previously. I suppose it depends on what you're expecting to be doing for your future employer, coding T-SQL and queries or maintaining databases. That's gotten to be a pretty strict deliniation in my last 3 contracts due to SOX and the SEC. IE: I'm the primary SQL dev at my current place and I don't even have access to see sys.sysprocesses in DEV.

So, yeah, I still think of it as a paper tiger that you'll have to prove what you know about. I was inaccurate about the intern level though, at least for the administration test. My bad, thanks for clarifying that for me/us.

MinhTuCSharper (2/5/2014)
Hard question. Every market is different. However, in the Southwest I find (outside of California) you'll probably be looking at 30-40k as a SQL Junior.

35-40k salary in California for Junior SQL Server DBA? Isn't it too low for an IT Professional, my current salary as Dev is 61k for 3 years experience, I got 50k when I first got out of college 3 years ago with zero experience.

No, I said outside of California. I also haven't personally looked at salaries working at the entry level in a long time, and am basing those numbers off two people who recently talked with me for advice and those were the numbers they were seeing having no professional experience in SQL Server. One was here in Phoenix another was in Vegas. That's the best I can offer, I'd recommend you do some research in whatever particular city that you want to work in though.

Call recruiters. Call job offers and find out the expected range. Do the due diligence. And no, it's not too low for an IT professional period. It's too low for one with years of experience and a proven track record, not for someone new. I don't know of many companies willing to hire for 50k out of college, outside the major cities with massive taxes and cost of living (LA/San Diego/San Fran, New York/Boston/Baltimore, etc). You need to take cost of living into the expected adjustments. I keep more money making 2/3's of what I would in New York living/working in Phoenix.



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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:06 AM


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While I certainly applaud the desire to expand your horizons, I would tend to agree with a previous poster that making the move purely for money is likely a bad idea. The reality is that you will end up with a fair amount of thankless tasks no matter what discipline you're in, so it might be more important to find an area you fundamentally enjoy, and then expend your energy in improving your skill in that area. You might end up being better off staying the course and finding a way to specialize as developer rather than starting over. The biggest thing is to find attractive skills for your organization to have incentive to give you something other than UI work: be the best at something else they need and chances are you won't be building web pages for the next decade.

For example - if you like developing, but dislike UI, there's a lot of work to be done around integration (getting applications to talk to each other, automating human/business processes/rules processing, etc.). If you also like data, just investing in data modeling skills/ data dev skjills will make you immensely more effective when building out the infrastructure BEHIND the UI (which is a lot more important than anything on the UI).



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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:17 AM


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Koen Verbeeck (2/5/2014)
Switching careers just for the money is usually not a good idea. You have to make sure you will actually like what you are going to do.
Being a DBA can mean that you have to be on call at night or in weekends. Are you up to that?



+10

Are you ready for long days/weeks/months or even long years? Sometimes the job may not be difficult but will require long hours. Sometimes the job gets very intense - like a Server that is not coming online and the company is losing $1million/hr or worse.

You have to enjoy these types of challenges (IMO) when thinking about being a DBA. Switching to that kind of role just for the money will burn you out fast.




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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:20 AM


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MinhTuCSharper (2/5/2014)
So beside .NET and SQL Server, what is the hot MS technical field out there that on high demand, I'm willing to learn whatever MS Technology to get my salary to 6 figures or as close as possible. (Windows Azure, SQL Server, Windows Server, etc)


If you're chasing the money alone, management. Get an MBA.
If you want to stay in technology, find what you enjoy and the money will follow.

How can I get the foot in the door as SQL Server DBA without any certification, as my experience is .NET Dev. At least with certification, I have something to sell on the table.


You don't. DBAs are seldom hired with no experience. They're responsible for a company's data and if the DBA messes up, the company could be in serious trouble. I know of several who have gone out of business after losing their data. Easiest way is to move across in your current company, where they know you, know your skills and have some trust in you. Move across to the DB side, learn the trade for a year or two then move to a new company once you have some experience.



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Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2014 10:22 AM


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Evil Kraig F (2/5/2014)
I was inaccurate about the intern level though, at least for the administration test. My bad, thanks for clarifying that for me/us.


That quote was actually from 461, the basic querying exam. Down at the bottom of the page below the skills measured.



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