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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    What direction to take?

    I notice there are so many programming languages and so many database servers. I went to a private computer college, and they had a few database classes (But my private college sort of sucked, so I am going to attend community college classes) I got a bachelors of science from the private college but just ended up being technical support for a few different companies for the past few years for different products.

    In the back of my mind I thought I was going to study for an A+ certification, and go into the Help desk career. But I came to the realization that I really do not like the Help desk type job, after being technical support for a few years and dealing with constant people yelling at me, and their problems. I can fix computer problems etc. but do not feel like doing that so directly as my career.

    I more recently am getting really interested in database design. I already have a basic understanding of ERD's and normalization, relationships etc. I have various family members whose businesses they work for are using legacy database systems. I always secretly been interested in databases and wanting to remedy their problem.

    I intend to design a database for my grandfathers company where they are using an old Dbase2 database system. I purchased a book on Dbase2 for beginners just to get a good understanding of the Dbase2 structure.

    I purchased Database Design for Mere Mortals by Michael Hernandez. I am really enjoying that read. I purchased Filemaker 9 Missing Manual. That is my next read, before I plan on creating the database in Filemaker. I am really enjoying reading these books, and am very hopeful at the prospect of designing a remarkable database. I think I have finally found what sector of Information Technology I can be passionate about.

    I am going to take all available classes at my community college in databases. Starting with Design, Beginning Microsoft Access, and I am going to take Visual Basic class which will introduce how to connect to databases as well. I already took a basic Visual Basic class in my private college but as I said before it sucked, and the teacher did not know what he was teaching so no help.

    My goal is to replace these legacy databases for free using Filemaker and Or Microsoft Access. As a starting point to build my Database references, and letters of recommendation. I also plan to do volunteer work for any other small businesses that need help.

    My community college has some classes on SQL Server, and SQL, and PL/SQL etc which I want to take. So my question is, how did you guys start out? I am just wondering what type of entry level job am I looking at? Where should I focus? My idea was to move on from doing small databases to focus on PL/SQL and maybe find a job writing PL/SQL applications I believe they are called. I remember taking a PL/SQL class in my private college, and the teacher was actually very good ( She worked in the field in RL as well, for a bank writing PL/SQL for them ).

    So I was thinking maybe I can get really good at PL/SQL and find a entry type job there. But how did you all enter the field? What do you think I should focus on? Where is the job demand?

    When I look on or careerbuilder you see all the jobs available for Senior DBAs that know everything , including the kitchen sink. But I don't really see more intermediate jobs?

    Thanks for your responses!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    In front of the computer
    Wow. Welcome to the world of databases!

    Based on this posting, you are just the kind of person that we all like to help (well, maybe not blindman, but you'll get used to him anyway ). You seem to be the kind of person that makes good choices, actively wants to learn, and has a passion for databases. If that is the case, I think that you're in good company here!

    I started out on a twin-brontosaurus system. We had two birds whose beaks chattered when they dropped into holes in stone cards. The printer had three squirrels with chisels cutting roman numerials into clay tablets that were pulled along by wooly mamoths. Think The Flintstones. Naturally, you'll have to take a slightly different approach because it is so hard to find a brontosaurus these days!

    While zOS DB2 and Oracle are still the "big dollar" shops, I wouldnt' recommend them as career builders for someone trying to get started. They tend to be very much controlled by an "old boys network" that makes it very hard to get in without some verifyable experience, and that experince is practically impossible to come by from small businesses and volunteer gigs.

    For the environment that interests you, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server are quite promising, and DB2 UDB is also a strong marginal contender (with a much stronger upgrade path to bigger dollar jobs once you get some experience). These gigs will certainly put food on the table and keep you warm and dry as you get the experience that you need to start the hunt for your first full time job as a DBA.

    Keep in mind one of the fundamental truths about computers. It doesn't matter whether the topic of interest is hardware, operating systems, programming languages, databases, or anything else... The first one you learn is hard because it is the first. The second one is hard because it isn't the first. Once you get past the second one, the rest are all just "variations on a theme" and learning another one won't bother you much!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Thanks for the advice Pat! Esp. the end quote

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