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How do you describe what you do?


How do you describe what you do?

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Beatrix Kiddo
Beatrix Kiddo
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You're at the dinner table with your in-laws, and the conversation turns to what exactly it is that you do anyway. What do you say?

What's your 3-minute summary of what a DBA (or a developer, or whatever) actually does all day, and how do you explain it to a resolutely non-technical audience before they lose interest and wish they hadn't asked? (I'm talking about people who think a database is a front-end application; that sort of level.) I really struggle with this, and my poor in-laws are none the wiser :-D. (I should add that they're very intelligent people, they just have no frame of reference for this stuff.)

What do you say?
Luis Cazares
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I usually say that I take a bunch of raw information from several sources and juggle with it and organize it to make it look nice to generate reports for the executives and people that don't care what a computer does behind the scenes. This applies for a developer.
For a DBA, I would say that is the one in charge of the information and ensures it's protected, correct and available for anyone who needs it at any moment. Preventing problems from happening.


Luis C.
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I groan inwardly and then tell them I'm a fighter pilot! :-D
Beatrix Kiddo
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For a DBA, I would say that is the one in charge of the information and ensures it's protected, correct and available for anyone who needs it at any moment. Preventing problems from happening.

That's interesting, because I think they would infer from that that it's a thoroughly non-technical job in that case! I know you're right of course.

I groan inwardly and then tell them I'm a fighter pilot!

:-D Tempting!

Whenever I try to explain what I mean, I end up feeling like Dr Hibbert explaining a coronary bypass to Homer;

We're going to cut you open and tinker with your ticker


wolfkillj
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On second thought, never mind!

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Jeff Moden
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Tell them that all DBAs are secretly paid by the NSA and they'd better be nice to you or you'll publish their phone number on a porn site. :-P

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I simply say, "I turn chaos into smart and beautiful logical solutions."
RTaylor2208
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I generally compare it to a "Chandler Bing" type job, as its almost impossible to explain it to people that have no knowledge or interest in IT.

Most of my friends and my wife never ask because lets face it, to them the answer will be increidbly dull.

MCITP SQL 2005, MCSA SQL 2012
Eric M Russell
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If someone casually asks what I do for a living, or I'm filling out an application for a car loan or something, then I simply reply that I work in "Information Technology". Most people have at least a vague idea of what IT people do, just like they vaguely know what a doctor or accountant does.

The other day my young kids asked what I do at work, and if I'm the boss. I told them that I'm the boss of a bunch of really big computers: I tell the computers what to do, keep an eye on them to make sure they're working, and fix them when they're broken. I'll revise the story with more detail as they get older.


"The universe is complicated and for the most part beyond your control, but your life is only as complicated as you choose it to be."
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Nobody else in my family works in I.T. so if they ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I'm a database developer. They usually don't probe further.

If someone in the industry asks me what I do...depending on what field they're in...I'll go into much more detail. It's fun meeting random people who are also SQL Server developers/DBAs; I've "talked shop" in line at the supermarket and the other shoppers looked at us like we were speaking Swahili. Cool
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