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IT Skills Shortage? No, Just Looking in the wrong place Expand / Collapse
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Posted Saturday, March 29, 2014 6:59 PM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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Comments posted to this topic are about the item IT Skills Shortage? No, Just Looking in the wrong place


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
Post #1556256
Posted Saturday, March 29, 2014 8:52 PM


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I look at the DBA roles as generally the production or support role. Then the development DBA's and a small chunk of QA DBA roles.

The support DBA works on the day-to-day applications to make sure they are up and running. If the DBA works for an end user company he's going to interface with the SW production company to find out the cause of the error. If the support DBA for the SW company the responsibility is to figure out if the error was caused by a SW feature or end user error.

The dev DBA does the building of SPs, functions and such to automate the process.

The QA is the in-between that doesn't let crap get to the end-user.

Where the problem seems to come in is that you have a bunch of developers that think it is faster to grab 3K rows in a hundred column table of millions and process it RBAR rather than ask the DBA "Can we get these 25 rows by feeding in these parameters."

I've seen it done in the past, and I'm sure I'll see it again.






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Post #1556258
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 2:45 AM
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"As well as computer scientists, I know of several DBAs who were once professional musicians, actors, hairdressers, artists, scientists, athletes, soldiers and even solicitors and architects. They all make good DBAs too. If only developers were able to bring such a range of skills, experience and knowledge to the job!"

The trouble is, not everyone can program. I'm a developer, and I've met many people in IT that by their own admission cannot program in any language - and I've certainly encountered developers that really should be doing something else! Your statement, quoted above, implies that anyone can become a DBA
Post #1556268
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 6:26 AM
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I have a conspiracy theory about the so-called "IT skills shortage" : it's just a ploy to get more people into IT in order to increase the pool of job applicants so salaries will decrease. The public perception of the "problem" would be very different if it was called the "IT high salary problem".
Post #1556270
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 9:25 AM


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calzakk (3/30/2014)
"As well as computer scientists, I know of several DBAs who were once professional musicians, actors, hairdressers, artists, scientists, athletes, soldiers and even solicitors and architects. They all make good DBAs too. If only developers were able to bring such a range of skills, experience and knowledge to the job!"

The trouble is, not everyone can program. I'm a developer, and I've met many people in IT that by their own admission cannot program in any language - and I've certainly encountered developers that really should be doing something else! Your statement, quoted above, implies that anyone can become a DBA


No, it doesn't. It means many DBA's have varied backgrounds, some of which have nothing to do with IT or technology. And yes, there are some people who should not be allowed to write a line of code, but I have met people like that who can architect a system exceptionally well but couldn't write the underlying code worth beans.

Not everyone can develop code to meet requirements.



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Post #1556285
Posted Sunday, March 30, 2014 11:44 AM


Mr or Mrs. 500

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"As well as computer scientists, I know of several DBAs who were once professional musicians, actors, hairdressers, artists, scientists, athletes, soldiers and even solicitors and architects. They all make good DBAs too. If only developers were able to bring such a range of skills, experience and knowledge to the job!"

The trouble is, not everyone can program. I'm a developer, and I've met many people in IT that by their own admission cannot program in any language - and I've certainly encountered developers that really should be doing something else! Your statement, quoted above, implies that anyone can become a DBA


It implies only that good DBAs come with the hard-won ability to find out and learn new skills rapidly. Despite their wide range of backgrounds, the DBAs and Database developers I respect are 'quick on their feet' to acquire new skills. In a sense, anyone can become a good DBA, no matter their background or experience, but it takes a great deal of work and application to get there. One of the best DBAs I ever worked with, and one of the most expert, had once been a champion weightlifter and policeman who specialized in responding to violent incidents. He was brilliant at moving servers around and we always got served first in nightclubs. His background gave him the tenacity and determination that he applied to learning the role of DBA. The sight of him marching grimly towards me after I'd done a small but necessary modification to a production server is one I shall carry with me to the grave.



Best wishes,

Phil Factor
Simple Talk
Post #1556295
Posted Monday, March 31, 2014 2:00 AM
Mr or Mrs. 500

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The IT skills shortage is just like the so called plumbers shortage we had 10 years ago. A government initiative pushed teenagers into training as plumbers at the colleges, but when they had passed the basic qualification there were no jobs or places available for them to complete the on-the-job part of the qualifications. Most gave up plumbing and felt the time had been wasted, including my nephew who now repairs computers.
And also to break the stereotypes our development team is mostly 50 plus and female.
Post #1556371
Posted Monday, March 31, 2014 2:21 AM
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Phil Factor (3/30/2014)
Despite their wide range of backgrounds, the DBAs and Database developers I respect are 'quick on their feet' to acquire new skills.


Wow this really rubs me the wrong way! I guess we value different things and you wouldn't respect me, luckily I don't obsess over acceptance from strangers

I know some DBAs who fit your profile, they can learn a lot of technical minutiae rapidly and retain it to bring up in meetings ad-nausea. I'll admit it's a very cool and unique skill to have but in my experience those same people are usually also: extremely abrasive, create bug-riddled code, don't care about formatting or documentation to the point of making everything unreadable and unmaintainable, and every task seems to become an exercise in obfuscation and job security.

But management loves them because they answer, "Yes", to everything! They're heroes, constantly putting out the fires they themselves have caused in production from their arrogance I can't say I don't respect them, I do, in many ways, but ... not every way.

If I had to specifically single out some criteria for respect, it would be the methodical DBAs who tick the boxes properly; I don't care if it takes someone longer to learn something because learning shouldn't be treated as a competition. I would hazard a guess that they are more curious about testing and understanding the "why" of things and hitting them with hammers until they click... as opposed to reading one article after another to pass another certification and boast about how smart they are.
Post #1556377
Posted Monday, March 31, 2014 2:34 AM


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Cody K (3/31/2014)
I do knows some DBAs that fall into your criteria of learning a lot of technical minutiae quickly and even retain it. That's a cool skill to have. But they are usually also extremely abrasive, create bug-riddled code, don't care about formatting, and every task seems an exercise in obfuscation and job security.


Nice generalisation there. I'd write a longer comment, but I have some bug-ridden, poorly formatted, obsfucated code to go and write...

The best database people I know (and not all of them are DBAs, a good number are developers) learn fast, learn details and take a great deal of pride in their work, which means well-written, well formatted and well documented and a desire to help others learn and improve.

Bug-ridden, poorly formatted and uncommented implies to me at least that someone doesn't care about their job (and it doesn't matter what they say, their actions are what count)

btw, job security, in the way you describe it there, means 'can't take vacations, can't get promoted/transferred'. To hell with job security.



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Post #1556381
Posted Monday, March 31, 2014 2:50 AM
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GilaMonster (3/31/2014)
Nice generalisation there.


It is a generalization, speaking from limited experience, and open to discussion. I'm sorry if you felt I was saying, "every fast learner is like this". Especially not you... because you're amazing

I guess my argument is with the idea of correlation between fast learning and every other quality you and I listed. Between, "I want someone who learns fast!" and "I want someone who does their job properly!" I know which one I would pick.

If someone is doing their job well, why would it matter if it took them a few extra days to learn something?

Bug-ridden, poorly formatted and uncommented implies to me at least that someone doesn't care about their job (and it doesn't matter what they say, their actions are what count)


Funnily enough I don't see it that way. And I feel that those people love their jobs.

They just have different motivations and values to you or me. They love feeling important, management admires them for always getting the job done "quickly", looking very busy, and communicating with everyone about how they just put out another late-night fire (leaving out they caused it).

I don't think it's healthy, for them or the business, but those people certainly seem to be everywhere and it's not for me to judge.

On the other hand I get my job satisfaction from the feeling of implementing a logical, robust solution, on clean data, and the aesthetics of beautifully formatted and easily maintainable code. I'm probably crazy but that's what I care about and what makes me smile.

But I don't think I "love" my job more than them. The job, to me, is secondary. I suspect the job is secondary to them too. We're all getting different stuff.

btw, job security, in the way you describe it there, means 'can't take vacations, can't get promoted/transferred'. To hell with job security.


Here here. One of our developers came in sick for a week having lost their voice, and has now taken a month holiday with a brand new company laptop and sim card... to get some urgent work done. To me that's atrocious.

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