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We Need a DBA Boot Camp

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren.

Boot camps and basic training bring to mind a certain image don't they? Long days, hard work, and instructors yelling at you, right? I can tell you first hand that they are exactly like that, or more so, paying my dues long ago at the Infantry School at Ft Benning. From the outside it looks like hazing for the sake of it, but it's far from it. By the time you graduate you've learned the core skills and language that will let you step in and join a team of people that do the same thing you've just learned how to do. You'll understand the culture. No, you won't be an expert, but you won't be an amateur either.

I think about the value of that experience and how it might help our profession. So many of us become DBA's accidentally or incidentally, and along the way we make mistakes, learn bad or incorrect lessons, and hopefully over time get to the point of being comfortable with what we know and what we don't know. But we learn unevenly. We learn the things our employees or clients need us to learn, we get by, but many of us lack the knowledge base and sense of belonging that would have come with going through a shared experience like basic training.

In IT too often boot camp is synonymous with cramming a lot of stuff into 5 days. That works for some, but not most. A real boot camp would be 12-16 weeks of training, and yes, stress, to learn the core skills every DBA needs. At the end you could say "I am a DBA" without doubt or hesitation. You'd still have lessons to learn and specialties to develop, but you'd never doubt - nor would anyone else - that you were a DBA.

So, I've got two questions for you:

  1. Have you attended boot camp/basic training?
  2. Regardless of your answer to question #1, do you think a DBA boot camp would be valuable to our profession?

I'm looking forward to the discussion!

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