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The Value of Experience

By Steve Jones,

Writing and talking about careers has made me think about my own career, and that of the people I've worked with. It seems that quite almost every DBA I meet has a story about starting out in some other aspect of computers or technology and then evolving into a DBA. That made me wonder if about the career path one might, or even should, to become a good database administrator, architect, or developer.

I thought this might make a good Friday poll, so I'll ask you this week:

Do you need other experience to be a good DBA?

I mean experience outside of databases, in some other type of technology. To be a good DBA does someone really need development, testing, or system administration experience? Or maybe even have had a career in some aspect of business?

I know there are more and more database courses available in formal schooling, but can someone start their career as a database administrator just from coursework and perhaps some type of apprenticeship with a senior DBA?

I tend to think not. One of the things that seems to be important for a DBA is a wide perspective of the value and importance of data. Of understanding other points of view, and knowing how SQL Server fits in with other types of technology. Most of the people that I've met with limited experience in other areas struggle to be really good DBAs. They might understand SQL Server, but they often don't have a wide view about to best use the platform or position it.

I'm curious to see if most of you agree with me. Let us know what your opinion is, and if any of you have become DBAs without holding any other jobs in technology.

Steve Jones


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