Becoming A DBA, Part 1

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Becoming A DBA, Part 1

    Buck Woody
    MCDBA, MCSE, Novell and Sun Certified

  • Great article, thanks. I especially like the reminder to build and use databases for practice (music catalog, recipes, etc.) - I don't do enough of that experimentation, but it is a good, safe way to learn and try out new things.


    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and asks, "Can I join you?"

  • I think this is a fantastic article. I've never been in a position in my career where I've had "the person" to go talk with regarding technical questions or career concerns in a technical field. I haven't had that more experienced individual that I could reference. That's just how my career has unfolded to date. This article has given me confidence that I am heading in the right direction and that I have the quality traits a DBA should possess. Thank you, Buck. I look forward to part 2!


  • I came from the all-around background (started building/fixing computers, then programming, now full-time DBA) and I can't agree more that the database world has evolved well beyond the ability to 'know-it-all'...specialty knowledge is needed now more than ever!

    I think you pegged the personality and skills part! I can't wait to see part 2.



    ~ Without obstacles, you cannot progress ~

  • Buck:

    Thanks for the article. I will share with my boss and the rest of the troops in order to explain my so called "eccentric" behavior. I fell into this role after performing many others and I must say that database administration has been the most rewarding and the most challenging. I agree with the other posts and I look forward to part 2.

    Howard Pincham

  • As a middle aged guy heading back to (finally) finish a degree and change my career, I really appreciate the article. I've dabbled in programming and SQL on a mainframe back in the mid 90s, and an instructor told me it was something I should look into. ... only took me another decade. A friend turned me on to SQL Server Central - hopefully I can suck up all the articles I can find!


  • Excellent article, thank you for posting it.

    Timothy A Wiseman
    SQL Blog:

  • There is nothing more important than a DBA taking responsibility for the protection of a company's data and I really like the part about confidence as well.

    Many times I've been at odds with so called IT specialists or our customers that try to cut corners and implement some hair brained scheme to protect the data and when this happens I have to be willing to take it to the mat with anyone and everyone that questions my position.

    Another trait that I find to be very important but sadly lacking from many dba's (or technical people in general) is the ability to be personable with those who are not technical at all.

    We have the kind of job where everyone in the organization is going to want to bug us for information they can't otherwise get and often times the people asking are in a position to champion us to those who hold the coffers.

    I've made more money as a DBA by going out of my way to be helpful, and also having the ability and patience to understand what someone has tried to ask for than i have just learning the latest bells and whistles on some rdbms and incorporating them into my projects.

  • Thanks for a great article Buck. I too, like Andy, am changing careers in a later stage of life. In the past I was a system programmer so there is some similarity with the situations you describe.

    This site has been great in providing me a way to see how others get things done and has helped me grow my knowledge.

    Thanks again.


  • Great article Buck, and it couldn't be more timely for me. I just ended a SQL Development position and am going to start my first "DBA" position next week. You gave some really good perspective on the traits and skills. I enjoyed reading it and got some good advice out of it. I look forward to part two!

    Thanks again.


    Personal Motto: Why push the envelope when you can just open it?

    If you follow the direction given HERE[/url] you'll likely increase the number and quality of responses you get to your question.

    Jason L. Selburg
  • Buck,

    Great article. I have been an application programmer for most of the past 15+ years. In the past year, I have been introduced to SQL Server and enjoy working with it. At some point in my career, I would like to become a development DBA. I am not sure when that will happen, but I am going to add this article to my "briefcase".

    In the meantime, this article (and the website) has allowed me to appreciate and respect the DBAs more. I look forward to part 2.


    "If you are going through hell, keep going."
    -- Winston Churchill

  • Excellent article. I've been a SQL Server DBA for over a decade, but I came at it from being a database developer in the early 80's in dBase III (before it was +), FoxPro, and Wang PACE. PACE was nice as it had a true data dictionary with DRI and a good character-based form and report generator. I only did it once, but you could also write Cobol programs to bang against it (this was late 80's). It really was quite a good system. (I won't bothering mentioning DataFlex, perhaps some day the nightmares will fade... :D)

    When SQL Server came along, we bought in at the 4.21a level and I began being both a developer and DBA. I've continued as a DBA and database developer, and now it looks like I'll be getting back into limited front end development as I'll be taking a VB course this semester: all of our developers are mainframers and are going through retraining and I told my boss that I must take the course as they'll be coming to me with problems and I won't be able to answer them.

    I've loved doing database development for a long time, I've always had a good mindset for naturally working with relational concepts. And I heartily endorse the point on developing databases on your own. Heck, the Developer Edition of 2005 is only $50 and gets you the full Enterprise kit! How can you go wrong with that? You can even use Access for experience in table and relationship development, and if you've got MSDB installed, you can also play with pass-through queries and linked tables and have all sorts of fun!

    Quite looking forward to Part 2.

    [font="Arial"]Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves or we know where we can find information upon it. --Samuel Johnson[/font]

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