Which is higher status in your company - DBA or developer?

  • PBirch

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8483

    Something that the ubiquitous Frank and I were talking about in another thread. I have been in software companies where the number of developers was much higher than the DBAs (something like 35 to 1). We were stayed busy because we were always involved in helping them construct rather tortuous SQL, designing application databases, maintaining the databases at the office and once in awhile trying to figure out why Oracle was such a pain.

    The developers came and went, depending on the market. We stayed. The downside was that management made us redundant because they assumed that the developers could create their own databases. Ah well.

    What is it like at your company?

    Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue

  • Jim P.

    SSCrazy Eights

    Points: 8725

    Just for grins read the SQL Mail thread. They don't want to give developers any access.

    My company has 3-5 developers at any given time and I'm the only DBA. And they essentially made the DBA position because I had outgrown a strictly developer position.

    We have at any given time 20 DBs in production and spin 10 in upgrade/development/testing.

    Jim P.

    A little bit of this and a little byte of that can cause bloatware.

  • Kimberly Blum

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 141

    The DBAs are on equal footing with the developers here. It's important for the DBAs to understand what the developers are trying to accomplish (customer service, maintainable code, etc.), as well as for the developers to understand what the DBAs are trying to accomplish (security, performance, etc.) It *really* helps to have both parties fully involved. We have a very small staff for our particular department 4 full time developers, 1 full time DBA, and one that does 1/2 DBA, 1/2 development.

  • Darrell Zink

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 187

    I work in a Fortune 50 company, and the tide has definitely turned in favor of the DBA in recent years.  Most of our enterprise level applications are written by vendors, so those developers are really not relevant.  Internally developed enterprise applications are offshored to India, Malaysia or wherever.  At the departmental level, most development is internal, but the developers are people who do coding as part of a larger job.  For any application involving databases, the DBA is the superior job.

  • Linda Johanning


    Points: 6727

    My company has 7 SQL Server developers and 1 DBA.  We have about 80 databases, but half of the applications are purchased so the developers only work on the other half.  We also have 1 Oracle DBA with 4 developers, and 1 AS400 administrator with 4 developers.  So the developers definitely outnumber the DBAs.  The good thing is that the company realizes the difference between the two, and personally I wouldn't trade places with a developer.


  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720447

    In general in the computers I've worked at the DBA has a higher status. Not usually because of the position, but more because they tend to be more experienced and business oriented than the developers.

  • Frank Kalis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 111183

    the ubiquitous Frank and I were talking ...

    It doesn't look that way at my home

    Frank Kalis
    Microsoft SQL Server MVP
    Webmaster: http://www.insidesql.org/blogs
    My blog: http://www.insidesql.org/blogs/frankkalis/[/url]

  • Sopheap Suy


    Points: 7893

    Obviousely DBA are much more experience then developer.  I used to do development work on my first job.  But as years went by I outgrow into DBA.  Being DBA you have so many developers to work with and it keeps me busy.  Now I am more focus on production DBA work and let about 10 other developmen DBAs do the day to day project works.




  • Farrell Keough


    Points: 17414

    This is a good discussion.  I have consulted for many years and many kinds of companies and invariably there is fight between Development and the DBA's.  (I have been in few companies where that was not the case and it was the knuckleheaded Business Analysts that got slammed). 

    Whose standard are we basing this assessment upon?  Management?  HR?  In other words, is this a technical assessment or one of the company recognizing the necessity of these folks.  If there are no failures, the DBA is rarely thought about; and yet, there are NO failures!!  If permissions are negleted, the fights can really begin between the DBA and Developers. 

    So, long way around the barn: is the status based upon the IT community in the company or Managment? 

    I wasn't born stupid - I had to study.

  • Rich James

    Default port

    Points: 1484

    For just about everywhere I've worked, the DBA takes the senior role.

    That's because to be a half decent DBA, you need to understand development (to make sure you're doing the design correctly), the network (you want to keep your database server running nicely on the net, yes?) and a good degree of systems admin (tune the database to processors, drive arrays, memory usage etc.), along with security awareness for the system as a whole, not just the developed code (keep abreast of latest worms, set traces for invalid access attempts etc).

    Inside the corporation, the 'seniority' is, as always, determined by Management. In the general IT community, a decent DBA is awarded more respect than a pure developer (well, that's my experience anyhow).

    There again, one of the responsibilities of 'seniority' is using the extra weight of the voice to get the concerns of those more junior roles to get their voices heard where necessary (and explain to those that don't understand, the error of their ways). When all's taken care of properly, there's not usually a problem with Developers Vs DBA.

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