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DBA Value


DBA Value

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Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item DBA Value

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majorbloodnock
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I think there is a hierarchy of requirements that stem from what a company sees as its fundamental needs for IT. As an example, a CEO may decide one of the company's aims is to know its customers better, and will see a CRM application as a means to get there. The IT department will see the app needs a database underneath it, and that both app and database need servers to sit on, and then that the servers will need a network OS to support them, and a network over which to communicate.

My experience has generally been that, whilst market forces fluctuate the cost of rare skills a little, the further someone's job is away from the company's fundamental stated need, the lower the level of remuneration. OK, it's a little simplistic, but a network, no matter how well designed, can never actually add value for the business; it can merely reduce costs. However, an application/database pair does have the ability to add value, so the company's much more ready to spend on people directly related to that pair. And if someone understands two or more of the necessary areas (e.g. a DBA who is also an acceptable programmer), the company will start spouting buzzwords like "synergy" and "integration", and will value that person all the more.

In short, how important a person is to a business doesn't determine how much they're paid so much as how well the decision makers in that business recognise why that person's job is important. Visibility, not utility.

Semper in excretia, sumus solum profundum variat
Loner
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Unfortunately most companies especially medium size companies do not think that way. They hire SQL developers and they are doing DBA duties which sometimes lead to disaster. However most companies just cannot afford to hire a full time DBA especially at this economic hard time. They want to hire someone that can do DBA work, SQL developers, .NET, C#......practically everything under the sun.Exclamation
blandry
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"Visual Studio and development tools are different, and I know quite a few DBAs that are lost within those environments."

A DBA who does not know VS? That's a DBA? I oversee staff for four companies (part of our corporate org) and I have never hired any "DBA" who simply knows SQL Server. Our companies could not run, let alone stay in business with such staff.

To me, that is like a carpenter hiring a "hammer specialist". You build a house with a great deal more than just hammering nails - no matter how good you might be at hammer nails.

Maybe my thinking is this way because I came up in computing from the late 70's when you had to know it "all", and I must admit I am shocked at times these days when I interview or talk to young people who "specialize" in something so narrow that I am left wondering what these people do with the rest of their employment time. I have yet to see a DBA who truly needs 40 hours a week to monitor and maintain SQL Databases and operations - but maybe I am missing something - maybe our companies just run well because I have very talented people.

There are three DBAs that I oversee and I have incredible respect for each of them - they do a great job for us. But one of them is also one of the best VS/C#/VB.NET developers I have ever come across, and the other two are pretty good in the VS world as well.

I think this boils down (yet again) to the great unanswered question: What is a DBA? If that's a Database Administrator, well, how can you administrate a database without knowledge of the tools used to tap-in and utilize the very database you are supposed to be administrating?

Again, to me, that would be like hiring a general contractor to build you a house and then have the same guy pick up a hammer and ask "Hey, what is this thing?".

There's no such thing as dumb questions, only poorly thought-out answers...
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Blandry, I think it depends on what you're trying to achieve. I have development experience, but I'd be a low, intermediate developer at best in terms of coding skill and speed. However I understand how to put applications together and how to get data back they can use.

I'm also a strong administrator from the Windows side. I'm comfortable working in an AD environment and understand networking. That's incredibly valuable for troubleshooting and has saved me (and the company) a few times.

I'm not sure I think a DBA needs to be a great programmer. Unless you're asking them to check that code or watch out for CLR assemblies coming in.

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Joe Johnson-482549
Joe Johnson-482549
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"I think this boils down (yet again) to the great unanswered question: What is a DBA? If that's a Database Administrator, well, how can you administrate a database without knowledge of the tools used to tap-in and utilize the very database you are supposed to be administrating?"

I whole-heartedly agree. I have seen DBA's that cannot develop and they have no idea how to help people optimize their code to take the best advantage of the platform they administrate. I would rather have someone who is a little more well-rounded (not necessarily in their mid-section).

Regards,
Joe
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Hey, I'm starting to resemble that remark. w00t

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OCTom
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I have never worked in an organization big enough where the DBA was only that. The DBA has had to to other things. The DBA is usually combined with the server admin. or programming roles; sometimes all three together.

The problem with this approach is that no one can be expert in all of them so one role suffers. It's very difficult to place a monetary value on the DBA role in the small shop environment. The value comes in the performance, consistency, and quality of the database.
Chris Campbell-415954
Chris Campbell-415954
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Years (and jobs) ago, an interoffice joke circulated that was a list of IT Terminology. The only one I remember from it was the definition of "DBA":

"No one knows exactly what the DBA does but every company has to have one because they can't afford two."

Nuff said?
Ian Massi
Ian Massi
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I think a good part of the premium that is applied to a DBA's salary versus a developer is that the DBA is also an insurance policy againt data loss. If a disaster strikes, you may call in some developers to help bring things online but the DBA is going to have to ensure all the data is in place.
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