From Hairdresser to DBA – How to start a career in IT

  • onlygoodones

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 810

    Very well written.

  • GSquared

    SSC Guru

    Points: 260824

    I was in sales and marketing, then ended up as a DBA because I built some tools to track my customers and their orders.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • Steve Nogradi

    Default port

    Points: 1430

    Great article, thank you for sharing Greg.

    I had a similar experience going from restaurant work to becoming a DBA. One thing I would suggest for people making a career to change to IT is to begin attending local user groups meetings. Its a great way to network and learn something new.

  • umairjavedsheikh

    Grasshopper

    Points: 14

    Great Stuff!!

    I really like the article and find it really motivatiing.

    I request if can you share your work experience years as a DBA.

    'Failing to plan is planning to fail'

  • sandeep.babultarkar

    Newbie

    Points: 1

    Out standing Greg, its really very much inspiring. Its live example, if we have will we can start carrier at any point of time.

    Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

  • bwillsie-842793

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1359

    Great article. I'm giving a copy to my high school senior. Hope he never forgets that it's "Never to late to start all over again."

  • amenjonathan

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2482

    Great article. My wife is thinking of switching careers into databases. Probably a lot easier for her having a DBA husband. 😉

    One thing I would say though is not sure if having experience in a help center will help land you an IT position. Unless you're fixing the code or database in a call center position, which I would say 99% of the time a person in that position isn't. From the people I know in call centers, they get almost zero exposure to actual IT work. They mainly create the tickets for IT to tackle.

    I do like the advice to get some experience with a non-profit or other small business that needs help. I'll give that advice to my wife, and see if we can get her set up with something. Maybe I'll have her design a database solution for my small youtube business. 😀

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My SQL Server Blog

  • aspiring_dba

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 276

    Thanks for reply OldCursor.

    I have been trying to get clients from freelancer.com and Guru.com. but I am not getting any client or projects from these sites.

    I think i need to directly contact with clients through email and ask them if they have any work, matching with my skills. Congratulations on your success in freelancing. I will also keep trying and will become Freelance DBA one day.

    Keep Rocking !

  • gcollier24

    Grasshopper

    Points: 24

    Really great read. One thing that I am always missing though is more information about landing the "big break" in the field of choice, in this case as a DBA. What certifications or experience tipped the scales? Also, how was it the first year not having hands-on experience and working with a team of seasoned people?

    I've been in and around IT for the better part of 15 years. It's somewhat easy to break into the lower levels because they are entry level. But making that leap from help-desk or PC tech into a system admin or dba is very challenging. Also starting from the bottom is especially hard when you cannot afford to drop back down to a lower pay; the mortgage, car, and credit card payments don't go away...

    Having recruited for technical positions, I can tell you that the employers I have worked with always prefer real world experience over education or certification. I've seen an employer pass on DeVry graduates with a 4.0 GPA in CS, in favor of someone who had years of actual experience. And that wasn't even for a developer role!

    For myself, I'd love to be a DBA and work with SQL, T-SQL, and related technologies, but I just can't see what the next steps are. I have some professional experience working with Studio and know the basics, but am unsure of how to bridge that gap where I have enough knowledge to feel comfortable in a DBA role and not be completely worthless.

    I've seen people try to make the transition into IT who didn't know what they were doing, but were good interviewers. They get eaten up and spit out more often than not. I always felt bad for them and I think having seen the negative side, it makes me hesitant to pursue a career in a new area.

  • Hotfix

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 449

    good article about tranisition into what you want to become. I have been working on SQL server database administration for the last twelve years. I am pursuing to change my career path to a different database world. Often times, hiring managers ask me, how did I end up in database administration, when I my education was in MBA in MIS and Finance.

    I wanted to ask them "How did you become a manager, managing data center or database administrators, when you started your career as a Fisherman, Waiter, Clergyman, Photographer and you DO NOT have a Degree? So people judge people with their experiences. "thou shall not bow or listen to hypocrites"

    Of course, out of my respect to get the job and not to be rude hiring managers, I didnt ask them the question. Like someone mentioned, Patience, goal to achieve what you want to become i.e. focus and execute are the key ingredients for success.

  • Hotfix

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 449

    good article about tranisition into what you want to become. I have been working on SQL server database administration for the last twelve years. I am pursuing to change my career path to a different database world. Often times, hiring managers ask me, how did I end up in database administration, when I my education was in MBA in MIS and Finance.

    I wanted to ask them "How did you become a manager, managing data center or database administrators, when you started your career as a Fisherman, Waiter, Clergyman, Photographer and you DO NOT have a Degree? So people judge people with their experiences. "thou shall not bow or listen to hypocrites"

    Of course, out of my respect to get the job and not to be rude hiring managers, I didnt ask them the question. Like someone mentioned, Patience, goal to achieve what you want to become i.e. focus and execute are the key ingredients for success.

    --Mahidhar Vattem

  • cake235

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 48

    Well nice article, but from the title I had to think "Are you kidding me?" As an It pro from 86 who wanted to be in IT since '81, I have had to compete with other IT, 4 year CS degree folk (I have an AA in Computer Programming), 4 year degree in any Math or accounting with a class or two in IT, 2 year in IT degree, people enrolled in 2 year it degree, secretaries who have a class in IT, and of course the ever present outsourcing to guys who say they have some training in IT but hey, they work 24/7 for $1 and hour so it has to be better and of now....I have to compete against bored hair dressers? Glad to see you actually had some relevant experience and you got training and certification first, or I migh have just said "Enough! I quit! Project management here I come!" (I have a certificate in Assistant Project Management as I work toward my PMP). As a dad with a unemployed 2 year IT Degree son who can't get a job cause he has no experience, I can at least tell him, "See, you need to get certified." After all, he might have to compete with grads from McU soon.

  • Dale Turley

    Right there with Babe

    Points: 745

    Cycling Yogi (9/11/2012)


    I be very interested to read something from someone who has escaped IT to do something else.

    I'm currently going down that route actually.

    Similar to the article I left school with minimal exam results (I was bored at school) and started to work on building sites - plumbing, general building etc - while studying and taking my MCSE / MCDBA exam.

    I've been a network manager, Windows Server engineer and have been a SQL Server DBA / developer for around 5 - 6 years now with some software development in between.

    I wouldn't say I have come to the top of my career in IT but I would say in my opinion that I am well respected in the job that I do, however I have decided that it is not something I want to be doing forever so have started to retrain through the Open University (again while fitting in a full time job).

    Hopefully this time I will find my vocation 🙂

    Oh and I'm 28.

  • gcollier24

    Grasshopper

    Points: 24

    cake235 (9/11/2012)


    Well nice article, but from the title I had to think "Are you kidding me?" As an It pro from 86 who wanted to be in IT since '81, I have had to compete with other IT, 4 year CS degree folk (I have an AA in Computer Programming), 4 year degree in any Math or accounting with a class or two in IT, 2 year in IT degree, people enrolled in 2 year it degree, secretaries who have a class in IT, and of course the ever present outsourcing to guys who say they have some training in IT but hey, they work 24/7 for $1 and hour so it has to be better and of now....I have to compete against bored hair dressers? Glad to see you actually had some relevant experience and you got training and certification first, or I migh have just said "Enough! I quit! Project management here I come!" (I have a certificate in Assistant Project Management as I work toward my PMP). As a dad with a unemployed 2 year IT Degree son who can't get a job cause he has no experience, I can at least tell him, "See, you need to get certified." After all, he might have to compete with grads from McU soon.

    If he hasn't looked into it already, I suggest contacting some consulting firms like Robert Half or Tek System. They usually have some entry level roles and he could cut his teeth on short term contracts to build up his resume. I did this after I rotated out of IT and later decided to come back.

  • rajivkumar.bala

    Valued Member

    Points: 55

    Excellent article. Inspired sir.

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