Advice on how to move forward in my career

  • I've been working as a DBA for close to 10 years now. However I do not have any sort of education or professional certification in any database technology, whatever I have now is mainly through working experience. I started off as an IT support officer handling various IT issues. I am not a big fan of development, even as a DBA, I often create simple PL/SQL scripts or edit existing scripts to do what I needed.

    Now I'm hitting the big 40 and are currently a senior DBA at a local MNC in my country. Initially I thought of going for certification in SQL server & Oracle in order advance my career but I'm not sure if it's worth the effort or not. As I myself are not sure if I still want to continue to be a DBA or move on to another field of work or even moving up to a management level.

    Could use some valuable advice from anyone who's in similar situation as me. 🙂

  • JasonO wrote:

    As I myself are not sure if I still want to continue to be a DBA or move on to another field of work or even moving up to a management level.

    My suggestion is, determine what you LIKE to do and will want to do for the next 5 years (or more if you like it).  Then, find a way to make yourself invaluably useful and enjoy doing what you LIKE to do for the rest of your life.  Take it from an old dude that did it.

    And, the really cool part is, I have no direct reports!  YAY! 😀  And, nope... I'm an FTE... not a consultant.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • As someone without a computer science degree or any certifications of any kind (except for a couple back in 1995, which are maybe a tad out of date at this point), as you get more and more experience, those certifications are going to do less and less for you. They may tick a box with some employers. I know people who have gotten certified because it helps their employer as a Microsoft (or whomever) partner. At this point in your career, I think I'd only suggest getting the certs if it helps in that way.

    Otherwise, you just need to explore what's out there. Data science, or supporting data science people. Automating all the things. Deep dives on HA, DR, performance tuning. You've got the foundational stuff. Now figure out where you want to take it. There are simply tons of options and it's going to be on you to figure out where you want to go. Personally, I went with automation and query tuning. That lead to writing books. That lead to a great job where I teach & write every day. Not the path for most people. However, it's an example of what's possible.

    You're at a point where it's much more on you to decide where and how you want to move forward. The options are out there.

    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood... Theodore Roosevelt
    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2022 Query Performance Tuning, 6th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Further, on the back of Jeff's and Grant's fine comments, I suggest looking at the trends in your technical environment and where it is heading, i.e. Cloud, AI etc.


    As one cannot know "it all", it is essential to know "what to know" tomorrow 😉

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