First, being a DBA and a SQL developer is an excellent experience on bothaccounts. This is also a great time as there is a HUGE shortage of DBAs and Database developers (DBAs more so)
I'll tell you how I became a DBA and give you a few tips.
Becoming a DBA
Before I was a DBA I spent about 4 years as a level 1,2, then lead tech support guy working on a SQL based application. Thats how I got exposure to SQL Development and basic DBA tasks (moves, backups, SQL setups, upgrades, etc). I was in college and, when I graduated I did not know what I wanted to do. I ended up doing AD, Exchange, Server administration and alike for a few years.
(no, you don't need to do all this to become a DBA)
Later I spent a couple years as a (though it was not my title) an XML/XSLT developer working on another SQL based product. I began looking for SQL jobs (I would search for "SQL" under job title.) I got some interviews and landed the job. My last DBA job title was 2nd VP of DB Engineering at a Fortune something co. Now I do BI development and am an aspiring Data Scientist.
Conventional wisdom would dictate that people don't go directly from plumber to DBA. I mentioned how I did it to give you an idea of how someone gets there. You will have a good idea of what you need to know after your first interview. If you know from the get-go DBA is what you want then here's how to get there the fastest:
Study, study, study... Paractice, practice, practice...
You don't have to spend a dime at first, really. Books online, Microsoft free Elearning, forums, etc. You can download the SQL Server free version and go to town. Dig around, back up a DB, try to build a cube, whatever: This, too, will help you know how much you like it. If you love it, then study and practice your butt off; the more time you spend doing that the less time you have to wait to get that gig.
If you end up first getting a lower level SQL job then volunteer for everything that will help you learn. If you do that you may become an "Accidental DBA"
Read everything on SSC and other forumns, blogs, etc.
My personal tip: learn XML too! Many people will disagree with that but knowing XML has helped me with being a DBA, SQL Developer and BI guy in many ways and has been a huge advantage.
-- Alan Burstein
Best practices for getting help on SQLServerCentral -- Jeff Moden
How to Post Performance Problems -- Gail Shaw
Nasty fast set-based string manipulation functions:
For splitting strings try DelimitedSplit8K or DelimitedSplit8K_LEAD (SQL Server 2012+)
To split strings based on patterns try PatternSplitCM
Need to clean or transform a string? try NGrams, PatExclude8K, PatReplace8K, DigitsOnlyEE, or Translate8K
I cant stress enough the importance of switching from a sequential files mindset to set-based thinking. After you make the switch, you can spend your time tuning and optimizing your queries instead of maintaining lengthy, poor-performing code. -- Itzik Ben-Gan 2001