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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Question Future Limitations of No Programming Experience

    So I'm studying hard to learn ANSI SQL but more specifically on PostgreSQL since it's most comparable to Oracle which in my eyes is the main goal. I've been a Linux System Administrator since 2006 but never had any programming experience ever. I can do maybe a very generic site using HTML but that's even pushing it. I have no plans to ever want to program but really would eventually like to be a real SQL database administrator. Just learning SQL right now is basically learning a completely new language. Do you think I will have problems down the road if I don't bother learning any programming languages and just stick to ANSI SQL statements and learning more about vendor specific RDBMS system attributes? I look at a bunch of job postings that usually expect or prefer their DBA to work close with web applications which require some programming experience but I'm just being realistic here. I'd rather just be a damn good PostgreSQL DBA who can manage their systems inside and out over someone who knows a little bit about everything.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Are you saying that in 5 years as a sys admin, you have not written a single ksh/bash script?
    The differences between C, Javascript, PHP, Basic, Bash, are in the details.
    For instance, all have an if...else..endif construction; the differences are in the use of brackets (round or square), if a semicolon is required at the end of a line, or which operator (whether == or -eq or .eq. or =) is used.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    You can be a fairly good SQL Database Administator without knowing how to program, but you'll never be able to work with a development team effectively. This isn't a huge handicap for some folks, you can have a good life and a pretty rewarding career without the programming skills.

    As Kitaman pointed out, you probably already know at least two languages if you are a decent *nix administrator.

    When it comes to learning programming languages, one of the sayings that I came up with in the 1970s applies:

    1) Your first language is hard, because it is your first language.
    2) Your second language is hard, because it is NOT your first language.
    3) Your third and subsequent languages are just variations on a theme, bring 'em on!

    Based on this observation, if you have some time to spend learning languages I would certainly recommend it. I would learn at least one "low level" language like C or C++, one high level language like Perl, PHP, Python, etc., one GUI based language such as Visual C#, Delphi, etc. and one "non-traditional" language like LISP, Forth, Eiffel, or even Delphi. This is a lot of learning because each language is roghly equivalent to a 100 level college course, but the background will serve you well over time in many, many ways.

    To boil this diatribe down "short and sweet" I think that you certainly CAN become a pretty good DBA without learning to program, but I wouldn't recommend it for many reasons.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitaman View Post
    Are you saying that in 5 years as a sys admin, you have not written a single ksh/bash script?
    Yeah I have little / no scripting experience. I've only done a few bash scripts to simplify tasks like creating mail accounts which auto subscribe them to mailing lists. Nothing else really. I never said I was an awesome Linux Administrator. Just install, configure, break/fix, and maintain.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitaman View Post
    The differences between C, Javascript, PHP, Basic, Bash, are in the details.
    For instance, all have an if...else..endif construction; the differences are in the use of brackets (round or square), if a semicolon is required at the end of a line, or which operator (whether == or -eq or .eq. or =) is used.
    Yeah but if know none of those mentioned above, it's all greek. My question is how realistic are my expectations to become a full time DBA w/o having that foundation or background assuming I can install, configure, tune, manage, and repair any RDBMS issues that come up?

  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    You should keep in mind that the classroom time for interpreted languages (ksh,basic,php) is only 30 to 40 hours.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    20
    You can find a job as DB administrator that doesn't require any programming skills, but I imagine such jobs are few and far between.

    If you want to broaden your horizon, learning at least one programming language certainly wouldn't hurt your chances.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Jersey
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    10,322
    WHAT?

    PL-SQL...T-SQL..aren't programming Languages?

    They ARE Procedural

    DB2 is NOT.....they use COBOL and such
    Brett
    8-)

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    I'm Good Once as I ever was

    The physical order of data in a database has no meaning.

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