Advice for a newbie

  • Hey guys, not sure if this is the place to ask this question, and if it isn’t I do apologize.  I am almost done with school, and looking to pursue an entry level DBA job.  From what I have seen online at CareerBuilder and monster there really doesn’t seem to be too many offerings for this position in my area, central Indiana.  My question (and would appreciate any advice! J ) is how does one get started in the DBA field after school.  I have been taking courses part time at a local community college since ’03.  I will be graduating with an associate’s degree in the spring.  I have taken both Oracle and Microsoft courses but I really haven’t narrowed it down to which I would prefer to specialize in.  Perhaps a few certs wouldn’t hurt either, eh?

    My current job is not in IT, I guess I am a bit apprehensive on getting my foot in that elusive door.  A few people that I have spoke to that are in IT but not DBAs suggested temp services as a possible solution.  Any advice, criticism or info would be welcomed. 

    I appreciate your insight and time!

    -Jon Heck


  • Jon,

      In the places I have been, CERTS have been a big factor.  Microsoft CERTS are very good, as I have seen new DBA's hired based on these (for Both Oracle and Microsoft).  I think many hiring managers see CERTS  as a good indication that you can take the knowledge from books and put it to work (as the MS Certs can prove, to a point).  Temp jobs are not a bad idea either, as it will give you some experience (and many managers put more emphasis on experience than education when hiring).  Good luck!!!

  • I came to this site for the same reasons. I am about to finish my BS in Networking but lately I have been playing with MySQL and finding the process an interesting one. I know I can get certs to help how I look employers. I am curious are there certain lines of work that lead to being a DBA. Must I be a database developer first? Also do DBA's need to know other languages like C# or Java? Basically, I am graduating in a few months and I want to explore a career in database administration but because my degree is geared towards networking, my lack of experience, and I won't be able to get certs before then I want to make sure any job I try to get leads me down that path. I was also unsure if DBA's are expected to come from a certain area in the IT world. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for any problems with the flow of this email. It was written in between help desk calls and I don't have the time to regain my thought process 😀

  • To be a DBA it is not necessary to have previously worked as a database developer but it helps. Having done at least some work in development using either SQL or Oracle helps in understanding database models and practical problems that developer face in terms of security, naming conventions, perrformance and other issues that you as a DBA may be expected to help with. I would encourage you to try get a position as a developer creating code that uses SQL before looking into a DBA roles. Perhaps check out companies that have both positions available and the transition from one to another may be easier. Good luck.


  • Central Indiana (I live and work in Indy) is actually pretty fertile ground for SQL Server DBAs. Many places don't post ads on Monster because (and I've been through this myself) you get 2,000 resumes overnight from people who haven't even heard of SQL Server. Instead, they'll search resumes for keywords and reach out to those they are interested in.

    When posting your resume, you'll go through a similar thing, though. You'll get plenty of offers for crappy sales jobs, folks selling bogus jobs lists, training companies, etc. But there will still be actual people who are looking for fill real paying positions look at your resume.

    Have you attended an IndyPASS meeting? ( )Other folks reading this post: have you attended a meeting of your local cahapter? You may notice some other columns on this board about PASS - the Professional Association for SQL Server. We have a rather large well-run chapter in Indy, and there are several recruiters at every meeting. At the beginning of each meeting, there's an 'open mike' segment where people with job openings stand and announce them. Opportunities to network! There's free pizza and sodas before each meeting, and lots of folks just milling around outside the theater where the presentations will take place. Walk up to someone, introduce yourself, and tell them you're graduating soon and looking for advice. Throw some resumes in a backpack. You may want to make it through one meeting before you go hitting everybody up for work, just to get a feel for what's going on. There's giveaways after each meeting, so you could win some books useful to your career (At some of the bigger meetings, such as the annual 'birthday meeting', they even have XBoxes and Zunes which do nothing for your career, but are still pretty cool to get for free:D ).

    No registration of any kind is required. Just show up, eat pizza, talk to folks, and listen to some presentations with tips and tricks for working with SQL Server.


    Eddie Wuerch
    MCM: SQL

  • Thank you so much for the advice. This helped me understand a lot more of things to come. I looked into PASS and was excited to find out there is a chapter in my area. I look forward to my first meeting and finding out more.

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