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  1. #1
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    Becoming a Jr. DBA

    I notice in the past two years of searching Monster / Linkedin / Dice and most other various job posting sites, I never see a position or offering for a Jr. DBA. When I started my career as a Linux System Administrator, I was a Jr. after being in technical support for 2 years. I was working under a Sr. Linux guy who showed me a lot of cool things you just can't get from online training or certs.

    I still love Linux and find it an essential building block / skill in IT however I have a huge passion for Databases and find PostgreSQL to be a really stable and exciting platform to learn. Sadly I'm not skilled enough yet to use triggers, stored procedures, or complex constraint checks and more...but eventually hope to learn.

    Is there a way you guys suggest I can get some real RDBMS experience? Any reason why the only paid / technical positions I can find are Sr. DBA's or Architects? Do companies generally just have a programmer of some kind work w/ the DBA and shift them into a Jr. DBA role?

  2. #2
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    The biggest problem is that so many shops are cutting to the bone, so they have to either bring in a "hired gun" with a lot of capability or "train from within" when it comes to their databases.

    If you think about the IT infrastructure that you've seen since you started working in the field, I'd imagine that you've seen at least a couple of generations... Hardware comes, and hardware goes... Operating systems come, and they go too... The only thing that stays with the company for a very long time (often forever) is the data, and the database is where that data is stored.

    This means that the DBA sits atop the biggest single thing of value to almost every company, and has 100% control of that whole pile. You have to trust your DBA, in a way that is fundamentally different from the way you trust everyone but your CIO. They both make decisions every day that directly affect the largest single item of value in your IT infrastructure, your data itself.

    Because of this, very few companies hire "junior" level DBAs. Unless someone has a skill set that you can't live without and references that you'll bet your business on, or until you REALLY know someone well it is extremely unlikely that you'll give them the kind of access that a DBA inherently has to your business data.

    If you have an opportunity at your present company, pursue it! As a systems administrator, you already have a great deal of trust or you wouldn't be doing that job, and the transition to pick up more and more database tasks comes pretty naturally. I think that this is by far your best bet.

    If you do not have an opportunity at your present company, look for other options. You may be able to work either full or part time with a contractor that needs your skills and will vouch for your integrity with their existing clients. If that isn't an option, you may have to look at either developing a skill set and reputation that will allow you to move into a DBA job with a smaller or newer company, or something like that.

    Don't overlook things like volunteering. There are always charities, clubs, etc. that have a desperate need for DBAs and every other technical skill that you can imagine. Pick one (or a thousand) that suit your interests and talents and ask them if they would like some help. This is a great way to build a resume.

    I know that this is probably not going to appeal to you based on your past experience, but don't overlook the opportunities provided by PASS - The Professional Association for SQL Server > Home and SQLSaturday Home because these are amazing organizations... They easily comprise 90% of the learning and group activities that are available today.

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

  3. #3
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    "Jr. DBA"s generally start out as "jack of all trades" techs for small IT shops.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by blindman View Post
    "Jr. DBA"s generally start out as "jack of all trades" techs for small IT shops.
    I've not seen this yet. I've seen entry level developers generally "forced" to work with the Sr. DBA and become 1/2 developer and 1/2 DBA to some small degree.

    I just don't have any kind of skills/confidence in ANSI SQL or RDBMS specific engine to even think about offering anyone any kind of service. I would love to manage and learn on a non-mission critical database that uses applications and has multiple user connections enabled. This will allow me to understand more how a database works and the common tasks associated with managing a RDBMS.

    All I have right now is a small dedicated box running Linux and the latest version of PostgreSQL. Sadly I don't have multiple user connections and or the ability to see how a "used" RDBMS handles data / users / connections.

  5. #5
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    Spin up a CMS like Drupal, XOOPS, or even Joomla and connect that to your PostgreSQL. If you want a simpler start, try using MySQL, MariaDB, or Drizzle (these are usually preconfigured in the CMS).

    This will actually give you two different and highly useful skills (CMS admin and RDBMS admin) at the same time!

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

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarlosinFL View Post
    I've not seen this yet. I've seen entry level developers generally "forced" to work with the Sr. DBA and become 1/2 developer and 1/2 DBA to some small degree.
    Same thing. You've seen it.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan View Post
    Spin up a CMS like Drupal...
    I've never used a CMS before however I see v3.0 supports PostgreSQL and I'd like to be able to use a font-end tool to easily dump data info my RDBMS.

  8. #8
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    How to become a Jr. DBA in two easy steps:

    1. Get a job as a Sr. DBA.
    2. Neglect to perform backups.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    Sounds like a solid plan...

  10. #10
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    I like blindman's plan up until step 2. That strikes me as a CLM (Career Limiting Move) that would change your working vocabulary... I think after that your most commonly used phrase would become something like "Would you like fries with that?"

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

  11. #11
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    Oct 2010
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    I'll be honest...who doesn't get fries with their order? Seriously! But yes, I appreciate your responses and info. It's clear I'm not even remotely comfortable in SQL or PostgreSQL to be a "Jr" or be helpful so for now I will figure out a way to load Joomla up. Do you guys have any other suggestions for dumping data (useless or generic) into my database?

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