Where do senior SQL DBAs land finally?

  • S_Kumar_S

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8965

    After having spent some 13 years with SQL Server and being a Sr. DBA for years, today I just thought of having opinion of other Sr. DBA on "Where do you finally land".

    I am curious to know what are the career paths after having spent so much time in one technology. I have loved it till now but as you grow senior, you get limited in your choices. The idea of sitting in one company for longer than 4-5 years doesn't appeal me. And there are not many companies who can afford you. So how do you go about it?

    Would love to hear from those who started something of their own and good they found it compared to a regular job?

    Any other comments around this topic are appreciated.

    thx

    Online Trainer For SQL DBA and Developer @RedBushTechnologies with 16 yrs exp.

  • S_Kumar_S

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8965

    So after 1 day, I can conclude that they land nowhere 🙂

    Online Trainer For SQL DBA and Developer @RedBushTechnologies with 16 yrs exp.

  • lilywhites

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2732

    im way off that level of experience but i always imagined it would be a pathway to a CTO, director or technology or similar position in company reliant on sql technology where you do less actual dba work and more decision making and management tasks

    u could stay hands-on but are limited by money in permanent and job safety as you get older in contract

    or you could run seminars, blogs, forums or write technical articles :p

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004424

    Why do they have to land anywhere?

    Why is the 'reward' for being very good at your job to be put into a completely different one? Management is a completely different skill set from DBA, someone who's a good DBA is not necessarily going to be a good manager or want to be a good manager.

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • Sean Lange

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286363

    I haven't a clue. I am old(ish) but not senior. I am not even a junior dba. I have been at my current job for 6 1/2 years and have no intention of leaving. Sounds to me like you want to get out working closely with sql and move to management? I like to be in the trenches and have no desire to move to an office and "keep my hands clean".

    _______________________________________________________________

    Need help? Help us help you.

    Read the article at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/ for best practices on asking questions.

    Need to split a string? Try Jeff Modens splitter http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/.

    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 1 – Converting Rows to Columns - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/T-SQL/63681/
    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 2 - Dynamic Cross Tabs - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Crosstab/65048/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 1) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69953/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 2) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69954/

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 993623

    S_Kumar_S (1/28/2015)


    After having spent some 13 years with SQL Server and being a Sr. DBA for years, today I just thought of having opinion of other Sr. DBA on "Where do you finally lend".

    I am curious to know what are the career paths after having spent so much time in one technology. I have loved it till now but as you grow senior, you get limited in your choices. The idea of sitting in one company for longer than 4-5 years doesn't appeal me. And there are not many companies who can afford you. So how do you go about it?

    Would love to hear from those who started something of their own and good they found it compared to a regular job?

    Any other comments around this topic are appreciated.

    thx

    d

    I first have to say that I agree with Gail and Sean 100%.

    The other thing is, what do you want your "reward" to be? What do you like to do? What do you want to do? What can you actually do?

    By choice, my selected career path has been the opposite of most and will probably be shocking to you because you seem to want to move "up" and maybe "out". I went from being the "Director of MIS" "down" to "just" being a "Development Manger" "down" to being "just" a "Hybrid DBA". I love what I do and I love the people I'm working with. I'm not just "sitting" in one company... I'm making a difference for the company I work for. It's my reward and I love it.

    As for how to find the "better" jobs in the world of being a DBA, you usually don't find them. They find you. I've found no such limits as those of what which you speak. If you're worth your salt and you've extended yourself by helping others succeed, the really good jobs will find you and the pay can be as much as what a CTO makes and, sometimes, more. I work the best of both worlds. I'm both an FTE for one company (my intent is to stay until well past normal retirement age) and a part-time consultant for a couple of other companies.

    So after 1 day, I can conclude that they lend nowhere 🙂

    Heh... I would say that's probably the wrong conclusion because being a DBA isn't "nowhere", limiting, or boring... unless you want it to be. 😉

    --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.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems

  • Alan Burstein

    SSC Guru

    Points: 61006

    I agree with all the previous comments, particularly what Jeff said about the "better" jobs find you. I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean but I was a Sr. DBA before I got into BI. I loved most of it but did not like dealing with things like licensing and budgeting - I like being in the trenches writing code or building something. My degree is in Business Management but I have no desire to be anyone's boss (I love mentoring though).

    The cool thing about the world of data and related jobs (DBA, SQL Developer, BI Developer, etc, etc..) is that the skills you learn from one transition nicely into the next. A good DBA can do just about anything in the world of data IMHO. My career path was Tech Support > System Engineer > DBA > BI Developer (w2) > BI Developer (s-corp) > BI Developer Consultant (current).

    If you are good and live in a large city (e.g. Chicago, NY, LA, San Fran, DC) then it is pretty easy to start your own thing if that's what you are interested in. There is more demand than there is talent and the percentage of companies hiring independent consultants is growing. I went out on my own for about a year and liked the money but it's time consuming. I was recruited for the company I work at now and love being a consultant. Its a full-time job with great benefits yet I get the experience of working on different projects for different companies. I love what I do and am never bored.

    Go to a SQL in the City, SQL Saturday or SQL PASS and pick people's brains. That helped guide my career in the right direction.

    -- Alan Burstein


    Helpful links:Best practices for getting help on SQLServerCentral -- Jeff ModenHow to Post Performance Problems -- Gail ShawNasty fast set-based string manipulation functions:For splitting strings try DelimitedSplit8K or DelimitedSplit8K_LEAD (SQL Server 2012+)To split strings based on patterns try PatternSplitCMNeed to clean or transform a string? try NGrams, PatExclude8K, PatReplace8K, DigitsOnlyEE, or Translate8KI cant stress enough the importance of switching from a sequential files mindset to set-based thinking. After you make the switch, you can spend your time tuning and optimizing your queries instead of maintaining lengthy, poor-performing code.  -- Itzik Ben-Gan 2001

  • Sean Lange

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286363

    Alan.B (1/29/2015)


    I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean...

    Gosh I am humbled to be grouped with those two in such a context. I have never even had a job as a DBA.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Need help? Help us help you.

    Read the article at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/ for best practices on asking questions.

    Need to split a string? Try Jeff Modens splitter http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/.

    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 1 – Converting Rows to Columns - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/T-SQL/63681/
    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 2 - Dynamic Cross Tabs - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Crosstab/65048/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 1) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69953/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 2) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69954/

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 993623

    Sean Lange (1/29/2015)


    Alan.B (1/29/2015)


    I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean...

    Gosh I am humbled to be grouped with those two in such a context. I have never even had a job as a DBA.

    I don't believe either you or Alan give yourselves enough credit. I've interviewed a whole lot of people in the last 3 years and only one out of more than a dozen people claiming "more than 10 years experience" as a DBA could hold a candle to either of you two.

    --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.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems

  • Stuart Davies

    SSCoach

    Points: 18813

    Jeff Moden (1/29/2015)


    I love what I do and I love the people I'm working with. I'm not just "sitting" in one company... I'm making a difference for the company I work for. It's my reward and I love it.

    This.

    If you are happy were you are, why do you have to land anywhere else?

    -------------------------------Posting Data Etiquette - Jeff Moden [/url]Smart way to ask a questionThere are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand (the world). There is no such thing as a dumb question. ― Carl Sagan I would never join a club that would allow me as a member - Groucho Marx

  • Gail Shaw

    SSC Guru

    Points: 1004424

    Sean Lange (1/29/2015)


    Alan.B (1/29/2015)


    I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean...

    Gosh I am humbled to be grouped with those two in such a context. I have never even had a job as a DBA.

    I'm not a DBA, I've never been a DBA.

    Gail Shaw
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server, MVP, M.Sc (Comp Sci)
    SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

    We walk in the dark places no others will enter
    We stand on the bridge and no one may pass
  • Sean Lange

    SSC Guru

    Points: 286363

    Jeff Moden (1/29/2015)


    Sean Lange (1/29/2015)


    Alan.B (1/29/2015)


    I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean...

    Gosh I am humbled to be grouped with those two in such a context. I have never even had a job as a DBA.

    I don't believe either you or Alan give yourselves enough credit. I've interviewed a whole lot of people in the last 3 years and only one out of more than a dozen people claiming "more than 10 years experience" as a DBA could hold a candle to either of you two.

    I would fail miserably as a DBA currently. I have no knowledge or experience with any of the administration tasks. As a sql developer I would be totally confident.

    _______________________________________________________________

    Need help? Help us help you.

    Read the article at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/ for best practices on asking questions.

    Need to split a string? Try Jeff Modens splitter http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Tally+Table/72993/.

    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 1 – Converting Rows to Columns - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/T-SQL/63681/
    Cross Tabs and Pivots, Part 2 - Dynamic Cross Tabs - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Crosstab/65048/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 1) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69953/
    Understanding and Using APPLY (Part 2) - http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/APPLY/69954/

  • ZZartin

    SSC-Dedicated

    Points: 30239

    Just like most anyone in the job market, where they either want to land or where they let themselves land. If you don't like being a senior DBA/developer what have you then just sitting there doing it no matter how well you do it won't get you moved to another position(doing it badly will get you moved though not likely in the direction you want).

    And if you do like it, win/win, why would you want to move?

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 993623

    Sean Lange (1/30/2015)


    Jeff Moden (1/29/2015)


    Sean Lange (1/29/2015)


    Alan.B (1/29/2015)


    I am certainly not anywhere at the same DBA skill level as say Jeff, Gail or Sean...

    Gosh I am humbled to be grouped with those two in such a context. I have never even had a job as a DBA.

    I don't believe either you or Alan give yourselves enough credit. I've interviewed a whole lot of people in the last 3 years and only one out of more than a dozen people claiming "more than 10 years experience" as a DBA could hold a candle to either of you two.

    I would fail miserably as a DBA currently. I have no knowledge or experience with any of the administration tasks. As a sql developer I would be totally confident.

    I don't believe you would fail as a DBA. You might start off a bit slow because you've not done it before but the same attitude that made you a good SQL Developer would make you a good DBA. If you were suddenly thrown into the position as the only DBA at a company, you would hunker down, find out what you needed to know, and then do what is needed to be done because that's your nature. Your knowledge of T-SQL would make getting up to speed a whole lot easier. You'd make an outstanding "Hybrid DBA".

    You'd also have the advantage of having been a strong SQL Developer and would, therefor, be able to mentor and guide Developers (database or front end). I've not found many DBAs in my area of the country than can or would do that.

    --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.
    "If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."--Red Adair
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems

  • S_Kumar_S

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8965

    I don't want to move. NO. I have always loved SQL Server and I still do, absolutely. All I wanted to know if people have done something bigger in SQL side apart from doing a routine DBA/Developer job. e.g. I know few people have opened agencies which provide training content to Microsoft on SQl Server exclusively.

    On similar lines,I was curious what other things people have done with SQL and how they have found that.

    ZZartin (1/30/2015)


    Just like most anyone in the job market, where they either want to land or where they let themselves land. If you don't like being a senior DBA/developer what have you then just sitting there doing it no matter how well you do it won't get you moved to another position(doing it badly will get you moved though not likely in the direction you want).

    And if you do like it, win/win, why would you want to move?

    Online Trainer For SQL DBA and Developer @RedBushTechnologies with 16 yrs exp.

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