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Ideal/Top companies/Work Environments a DBA should aim for


Ideal/Top companies/Work Environments a DBA should aim for

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Minnesota - Viking
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I am at teh start of my career as DB Dev/DBA (2 yrs). I am in a small company with no challenging work. I was wondering what would be a more idealistic work environment for a DBA ? I am looking for a workplace where I get a lot of diversity exposure and challnge? I dont want to be so ideal sleeping n reading news papers in da office in my early years of career.

Please advice some top companies one should aim for.

Thanks


Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday:-)

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allin1 (11/29/2010)
I am at teh start of my career as DB Dev/DBA (2 yrs). I am in a small company with no challenging work. I was wondering what would be a more idealistic work environment for a DBA ? I am looking for a workplace where I get a lot of diversity exposure and challnge? I dont want to be so ideal sleeping n reading news papers in da office in my early years of career.

Please advice some top companies one should aim for.

Thanks



I won't recommend companies, because positions at x, y, or z company come by only when they're open, and you're looking for a quicker fix.

If you want to concentrate on DBA specifically, I would start by looking for companies you know will handle large server farms. Finance, Medical, and Sales are usually good places. The next qualification you want to find, since you mentioned you're early in your career, is a team environment. You need a mentor, and that's the best way to get one. It also implies there is a larger workload available if they need multiple people and are bringing on a new person. More workload = more variety.

I applaud your enthusiasm and initiative. Good luck.


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You're going to learn different things in different places. Small companies will give you a lot more breadth of knowledge because you won't be able to specialize in any one area, but will need to be as good as you can be in lots of different areas. Large companies will teach you a lot more about process, documentation, and scale. Plus, with a large firm, you'll be able to specialize and drill down on a particular skill set. Then, of course, there exceptions in both directions. I worked for a small organization that had a larger database than any I manage today.

I'd just be careful about any work environment that is labelled "challenging." It usually means it's just messed up, hard to get anything done and stuff is breaking constantly. That's not a challenge you want.

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allin1 (11/29/2010)
I am at teh start of my career as DB Dev/DBA (2 yrs). I am in a small company with no challenging work. I was wondering what would be a more idealistic work environment for a DBA ? I am looking for a workplace where I get a lot of diversity exposure and challnge? I dont want to be so ideal sleeping n reading news papers in da office in my early years of career.


I agree with Craig. Building on his comment I would say critical/large environments with astringent SLAs provide the more fun... and stress.

Anybody can keep a 50 Gig 8am-to-5pm database in good shape; fun begins when you have to keep in good shape a multiterabyte, 24x7 database doing 80K execs per second and all you get is a two hours maintenance window twice a month.

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Disclaimer: Advice is provided to the best of my knowledge but no implicit or explicit warranties are provided. Since the advisor explicitly encourages testing any and all suggestions on a test non-production environment advisor should not held liable or responsible for any actions taken based on the given advice.
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Good advice above. I'd also add that what you want will change as you mature. There is no "best" to recommend for anyone in general, but there is a "best" for you, at this time.

What would be exciting for you? Can you get some of those challenges in your current job?

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Thank You all for your good peices of advice. Will keep them in mind and act accordingly.


Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday:-)

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If you can stand the risk you could go the consulting route and get lots of experience in different companies.

I started out in large financial firms and found it was a good place to grow - there was an infrastructure, policies and procedures already in place and a team environment. I could concentrate on learning SQL Server and the particular business lines that I supported. Yes, there were department politics to deal with and a lot of paperwork, but it was a good mix of interesting work. Unfortunately my group's responsibility became smaller and smaller as the firm outsourced more and more of the IT department and projects. It was depressing to be one of the last people sitting in an empty room trying to explain to our LOB heads why we couldn't just fix their report for them (even though it would only take 10 minutes) and that they would have to submit a service request to the help desk located across the globe which would then get prioritized and routed and questioned and most likely turned down.
Now that I'm at a more mature place with my career, I love being in my small firm. I have a lot of responsibility and influence. I also get to work with a lot different technologies, from the whole MS SQL BI stack to updating our blog site. I do miss having a team to bounce ideas off of, but that's why I read a lot of SQL sites. There is also more pressure - if something goes bad, it's on me to fix. I also get to work closely with clients and get to see the impact that my work has.



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Improving your skills as a DBA is only half of the equation. You should also look for a business or activity that you actually like or would like to know more about. This makes it easier to translate business requirements into database objects.

While you are learning new skills you will also have to be producing something of value for your employer or client. Being proud of what the activity is producing also boosts your own confidence.

I once went in for an interview for a contract at a company that promoted that it did sales. Well, that sounded interesting. When I walked in the walls were covered with porn videos - that's what they distributed. I walked out and never did the interview because that's an activity that I personally didn't want to have anything to do with.

I kept with businesses and activities that I liked and I've managed to learn a lot of programming/SQL skills and business skills along the way. It also meant that I was working the people that I liked (for the most part).
Todd Fifield
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