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Most important DBA Skill?

By Jim Youmans,

Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is traveling.

If you were interviewing for a SQL Server DBA position and they asked you, "What is the most important skill that a DBA should have?", what would you say?

Technical skills? Working under pressure? Ability to work as part of a team? Ability to follow the standard procedures and rules that apply to your position?

All of these are important, but I think that one of the most important skills, if not the most important, is people skill.

I have known lots of people with excellent technical skills. They were smarter than me by a long shot, but they could not communicate with people to save their lives. They were either socially hindered, arrogant, or just plain rude when it came to talking to our customers. This led to our customers requesting that DBA X not be assigned to their project. The DBA in question was very good at his job from a technical point of view, but he was condescending and short tempered. He did not play well with others and this caused tensions inside the DBA team until the DBA in question finally left, much to the relief of all.

I would rather hire someone with a little less experience and technical skill who is a great communicator and people person than an expert who cannot relate to people or is rude and arrogant. If you have the right base skills, you can always learn the technical stuff. Learning the people stuff is not so easy.

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