Dear Past Me on My First Day as a DBA

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  • Thank you for this well written article.

    I like your links. I have to say that the longer you work with databases, the more likely you will overlook the application front end. Even a short overview of what you are supporting makes a difference.

    You definitely do work with all departments in the company, which is an aspect of the job that I like.

    I find code review always a little tricky. Keep inind that you are not out to find fault in someone's code, but bridging a gap and learning together.

  • Hi Cebisa,

    I am glad you enjoyed the article, and agree completely with your point on code review.  In fact, I think that viewpoint applies to incident resolution, change management, and other areas of our job.  Assigning fault is not nearly as productive as resolving the issue at hand and learning from it.  My boss tells the story of a woman he trained to be his clerical assistant many years ago.  The woman made an error that cost hundreds of dollars, and expected to be fired for it.  He said, "Why would I fire you?  I just spent hundreds of dollars to train you not to do that!"  I love that story, and thought it was a great testament to why he is a great manager.

  • Thank you Pamela.  Excellent article.  I found it very helpful and encouraging.

  • @dgosh1 - I am glad you did!  Are you new to the field?

  • Cebisa wrote:

    You definitely do work with all departments in the company, which is an aspect of the job that I like.

    Heh... when I first heard of "DevOps", my thought was "Where the hell have you people been?  DBAs have been doing this for decades." 😀

    --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".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

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

  • Thank you for a great article - although the internet wasn't the same 20 years ago when I started....

    I have had the fortune and/or misfortune to be the sole Database Designer, Developer, and Operational DBA for most of that time.  The biggest thing that I would like to tell my past self would be "go to the meetings with other professionals".  The bit that is quite often missing is the professional peer review of the design phase (a lot of places don't have multiple DBAs working for them unless they are big) - like with everything "there are multiple ways to skin a cat" and what works for one solution may not for another.

    The other thing is to learn the differences between database systems - the solutions don't necessarily translate well and just cause it work well in SQL Server doesn't mean that it will work well in Oracle or Postgres.  This bit is especially important when understanding "transaction boundaries" between systems.

  • 1227 - I agree entirely, and I know I need to learn more about the differences between the systems myself!

  • Pamela, thank you for your "DBA in Training" series. They are both inspiring and practical. The links you include have proven to be excellent resources; and I have made a dedicated bookmarks folder to keep them handy.

    I've been in IT for over 20 years, but sitting in an SDA's chair since 2018. Your description of what that feels like is right on target. It's reassuring to know that the database profession is still developing, and explains why I've had such a hard time finding a linear path to success. By contrast, the OSI model of computer networking, along with server and hardware maintenance seem so concrete to me, compared to the abstractions of SQL.

  • Thank you for making my day!  I am glad to know that they are helping.  This is a subject that is near and dear to me - helping people, especially those trying to break in or who are just starting.  I hope you will keep reading - there is more to come.


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