This editorial was originally published on Nov 26, 2007. It is being republished as Steve is at DevConnections.
These days it seems that the demand for IT workers is still growing, but there is no shortage of companies still looking to lay people off or get rid of employees that aren't performing up to some standard.
I saw an interesting article on how to better ensure IT job security and wanted to comment on a few of the items listed from the DBA perspective. I think that different groups of IT workers have different tendencies, but DBAs often are in a very strange position in a company and they need to ensure that their contributions are recognized as well as their work is valued and understood.
I remember in the dot-com boom days when "quirky" IT workers were tolerated and even valued. The strange people wearing flip flops and t-shirts could perform wonders with computers and their eccentricities were tolerated. Often when they were just competent at their jobs and no one really understood just how much or little they actually could do with systems.
The world has changed and expectations for most of our systems are higher than they were a decade ago. Management is more realistic in their view of their business, with most of our employers not expecting to get bought out by some large corporation and retire. Our job is to provide stability and long terms strategic value to our companies.
As a DBA, you have a varied job. You're in charge of data, need to technically manage the systems, but also work with business users to ensure their data is properly qualified, the meta data is understood (even if not explicitly written down) and you can help them ensure data quality and recognize the importance of the information that is being stored in databases.
This means that you need to better fit into the business as well as providing value. You should respect the dress codes and other habits of the rest of the company. You also need to learn to communicate effectively with others. Don't talk down to someone with technical acronyms and descriptions and make sure that you are trying to solve the business problems, not fit the solution into come cool piece of technology.
By trying to better fit in, you become an asset to the business as a whole. People should feel comfortable asking for your help and appreciate the work you do.
And they're likely to keep you around for the long term.
The Voice of the DBA Podcasts
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