How to become a DBA with no experience

  • Hello,

    I would really appreciate some advice on how to get an entry level DBA position.

    My situation is a bit different in that I have a master's degree in database administration, but have zero work experience. I recently switched careers from biotechnology to the IT field and my bachelor's degree is in biology.

    I've tried applying for internships, I've looked for entry level dba positions but I don't seem to be getting anywhere. Currently I'm trying to get into web development as a junior web developer, but is this the best approach to working my way up to a DBA position? I'm very new to the IT field so any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • Internship might work. Might be able to get some sort of volunteer gig with a church or charity.

    Networking through LinkedIn or some such might be your best bet.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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  • It seems that quite often people move sideways in a company. The best thing seems to be to get any type of job and then try to move over. Or go for a hybrid position for a company looking for a dev + SQL.

    I'd keep doing what you're doing, looking, hit recruiters, something will shake loose.

  • Do you have SQL 2005 or 2008 installed at home ? Set up a simulated environment of databases, start replicating data between them, run backups, corrupt a database, practice restoring.

    Then you can say I have no PAID experience, but I have set up an environment and am familiar with x,y,z ... You can gain practical hands-on experience

  • In addition to the already listed options, try some freelance work. If you can get some freelance work under your belt you could add that to your resume.

    Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
    _______________________________________________
    I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
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  • homebrew01 (12/4/2009)


    Do you have SQL 2005 or 2008 installed at home ? Set up a simulated environment of databases, start replicating data between them, run backups, corrupt a database, practice restoring.

    Then you can say I have no PAID experience, but I have set up an environment and am familiar with x,y,z ... You can gain practical hands-on experience

    Going with this, you can purchase SQL Server 2008 Developers Edition for about $50.00 USD (shop around and you can find it cheaper). It has all the power and capabilities of the Enterprise Edition but licensed for development and testing, just what you need for a SQL lab at home.

  • Thank you so much for all the great advice.

    Yes! I think I will set up my own database and practice, and show that I have hands-on experience 🙂

    Do you think becoming certified would help my cause or just waste of money at this point?

    Thank you again.

  • It's a tricky question to answer, some people say do it and some guys say don't do it.

    keeping it aside, if you prepare using the MS Self Paced Training Kits, you will enhance your knowledge and builds your confidence.

    My suggestion, give it a shot once you are in good shape with respect to the subject knowledge.


    Bru Medishetty

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  • I wish you the best of luck. I did what everyone comment in here, and I'm happily working as a dba full time for 7 months already. I was working as a Project Leader and IT Stuff, but databases is my thing. And I needed to go back to do it again.

    I was lucky to find a company that gave me the opportunity to grow and believe me, you have to do a lot of research and a lot of practice.

    Everyone here has been very helpful with their advices.

    Good Luck 😉

  • marjan76 (12/4/2009)


    Thank you so much for all the great advice.

    Yes! I think I will set up my own database and practice, and show that I have hands-on experience 🙂

    Do you think becoming certified would help my cause or just waste of money at this point?

    Thank you again.

    It can be a door opener here and there.

    Another recommendation I have is to join the local PASS chapter and start talking with folks that attend. The answer is always "No" unless you ask the question of someone who can answer and folks there will be able to answer. Some may even entertain the idea of bringing you in as a Jr. 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.

    Dear Lord... I'm a production DBA. Please grant me patience because, if you grant me strength, I'm gonna need bail money to go with it.


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

  • Great, thank you for the advice.

    Yes, I recently joined the PASS local chapter in San Diego, so I'll just have

    to ask for internships or volunteering opportunities with them.

    I really appreciate all the advice because I was just about to give up on the idea of becoming DBA since even an entry level position requires 3-5 yrs experience....but now there's still hope for me after all 🙂

  • Steve Jones - Editor (12/4/2009)


    It seems that quite often people move sideways in a company. The best thing seems to be to get any type of job and then try to move over. Or go for a hybrid position for a company looking for a dev + SQL.

    I'd keep doing what you're doing, looking, hit recruiters, something will shake loose.

    That's how I did it. I had solid programming experience on the AS/400, and when we migrated to SQL 2000, I was offered the DBA position even though I had no specific SQL experience, but I was forced to learn quickly !

  • If you're currently employed, find someone in the company in charge of development or administration and make friends with them. Express your interest in SQL and ask them to give you some simple tasks. Also, you don't have anything to lose getting certified, few months of reading on the side and roughly $375.

  • In addition to the already listed options, try some freelance work. If you can get some freelance work under your belt you could add that to your resume.

    What kind of freelance work you mean to say..? Can we get DBA works like that .?. Me too in the same position. Badly want to be a DBA. But virtualy working as a Dotnet developer with some minor works in SQL Server 2005.

  • I had been working as a management consultant traveling every week, and wanted to stay home with my young children. Although I have a Stanford Ph.D., I had taken only one computer course, Introduction to Fortran IV with Watfor in 1966. Nevertheless, I had kept up my programming skills. Anyway, I did wind up getting my MCSD and then later my MCDBA. I took them because I wanted to be sure I knew what Microsoft thought I should know. I don't suggest you go my route (unless you love taking exams), but I do think that self-study and passing at least one certification exam is worthwhile.

    But I also agree with the other respondents. Get the Dev Edition, practice, and do volunteer work.

    Another idea is to focus initially on mySQL. It is pretty slick, free, and much used by startups, who being cash strapped might be more likely to hire you as a junior DBA. All DBMS's are fairly similar; you do the same things with all of them. It's just the syntax that differs some.

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