SQLServerCentral Editorial

The Job Outlook for 2008


Office Space

It's the beginning of a new year and it looks like salaries for Database people should rise in 2008, at least according to this survey. One amazing note (to me) on the survey is that Oracle people should add 10% to the numbers, but SQL Server people should add 12%! Not sure if that's good or it means that Oracle people make way more so their increase isn't as much.

I know you're thinking that you're not getting 5% raise this year. I know that's been the top raise in many companies that I've worked at, where the norm without a promotion is 2-3%. Being an employee and a business owner over the years, I can certainly see both sides of the issue, and for the most part I've been ok with that. It's made me want to work that much harder for promotions at times in my career.

I have run across some interesting articles over the last month and have been wanting to get them put together in one place. One week I got a newsletter that said "Not that anybody seems to have a firm handle on what exactly is happening with the economy lately, but concerns about a possible recession seem to be slightly affecting demand for IT workers. " The linked article, people still adding staff, but at a slower pace than the past year.

The very next week I got another newsletter from eWeek that said Tech Job Sector Growing at Record Paces Through 2016. Now I'm not sure much changed in a week and it's more likely that no one really has a great set of data and isn't sure what's happening.

I've also followed lots of postings in our boards and if you listen to individual stories, the economy could be doing great or the bottom could be falling out. It's all a matter of perspective.

I've heard some rumblings in a few places that BI hiring might be falling off. I think this is mostly a result of the hype that so many companies put onto BI, especially Microsoft, over the last two years. It's not that BI isn't a good job skill, but I think lots of companies thought to jump in and hire people over the last year and realizes that a good BI system takes years to develop. It moves at a slower pace and so they're not ramping up as quickly and other companies might be rethinking their investment in people. BI is hard and the slowdown in hiring (if there is one), would tend to prove that out.

My guess is that as database people we're becoming more valuable and there will be more jobs over the next few years as DBAs. I also think we'll get worked a little harder with more databases and data to manage.

That being said, I think we'll start to follow network and system administration down to a slightly less revered skill set. More and more of IT is becoming a commodity, like electricity and water. We are providing services that while important, are becoming more and more generic and stable. Which means that there is less tolerance for mistakes and incompetence.

I could be way off, but my advice is to beef up your skills, especially the core ones, automate things as much as you can, and show that you never detract value from the company by not tuning systems, checking backups, or causing downtime. Then show that you can add value by making things better by making improvements, in system, in processes, or even in your relationships with others.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA


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