Becoming a Better DBA

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Becoming a Better DBA

  • To be sure, I could never do the job that you do.  Thanks for what you do.

    As far as the article you posted a link to, it's pretty good advice but it never mentions the word "code".  That's a short coming I see for many DBAs.  They can survive with monitoring tools and dashboards but I find that the really good DBAs know how to write T-SQL for special things and even daily work even if you're "just" a system dba.

    If you're an "application" DBA or a "hybrid" (system and application), you really, really need to learn some of the finer art (and, sometimes, the "Black Arts") of coding in SQL.  You also need to be willing to teach it to Developers and other DBAs, as well.  A lot of "bad" code that eats the face off your servers can be avoided by showing people how to code.

    To wit, I've found dashboards are nice and all but they don't quite do the trick for me when it comes to certain important stuff.  For example, I not only want to know things like what ran/failed/was cancelled last night but I want counts, averages, and need to know things like was a job changed and who did it, etc, etc.  So I need to see everything about jobs including what ran successfully.  With that, I wrote a ditty that sends me a formatted email for the relatively small numbers of servers that I have.  If I was line-tending 10's or even hundreds of servers, I'd do roughly the same but only report the failures and changes and missing servers and the like.

    Sounds like a monitoring system but it's not.  It's all in morning reports and I don't have to remember to "save" a copy for audits, etc.  It's a part of the email history.  That also allows me to delete job history from MSDB, which can grow by leaps and bounds when you have a whole lot of "per minute" jobs.

    You can certainly survive with purchased monitors but every company is different.  If you have "special" things you want to do, you're going to have to know how to write some decent code to do it or at least know how to read someone else's code and modify it without it becoming a "usage issue" as well.

    If you're an "Application" or "Hybrid" DBA, you really need to learn how to code so when the Developers say "there's no way to make it faster or less resource intensive) when you present them with a problem, you can use that to make a "Mentor Moment" that can have a huge impact on the success of the company.

    --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)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Aarron's and Jeff's advice is pretty sound.

    As a senior, a sharing mentality and the nurturing of your teaching skills will be valued by those over whom you are senior.

    One thing I have made a habit of is to write things down as if I was training someone at the start of their career to be my replacement.  It's not just having a routine and operational play books, it is being proactive in passing your skills on.

    To my mind, jealously guarding your knowledge puts you at risk.  A weak manager will look at a SPOF employee as too valuable to lose.  A strong manager will regard a SPOF employee as a too much of a liability to keep.  There are plenty of strong managers out there.

    Ring fencing a responsibility for your own selfish benefit can backfire spectacularly.  The risk is that, far from being regarded as an area of your expertise, it is regarded as the only thing you do and are capable of doing.

    Aspire to being the DBA that people choose to go to when they need help, advice or someone to bounce ideas off.  You will learn a lot and be kept abreast of what is going outside of your role.  Some of it is extremely interesting.  I love working with data scientists.  My skillset is useful to them, their area is interesting to me even if the maths is often too advanced for me to grasp.

    As an ex-DBA I can say that my technical skills were table stakes (the minimum required skill).  Unless your technical skills are in the super-league it is the soft-skills that really make a difference to your career.  The ability to communicate, convince and interest those around you.

     

  • Wasn't it you, David, that said (admittedly paraphrasing a bit) "If you're the first person people seek out for help on a problem rather than the last, you might be an 'Exceptional DBA'".

    --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)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

  • Yes it was me and I still feel that it is part of being an exceptional DBA. 

  • David.Poole wrote:

    Yes it was me and I still feel that it is part of being an exceptional DBA.

    Me too.  Always have.

    --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)
    Intro to Tally Tables and Functions

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply