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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3

    Looking for career advice

    Hi,

    The University of Washington offers certifications for python and database administration, and assuming they will be scheduled such that I can do both simultaneously, I can complete these in a year. The DBA cert promises interviews with recruiters.

    From what I've read DBA is a job I would enjoy and be good at. My primary concern is with background checks. I had 2 DUI's in the '90's and in the course of one of them I may have gotten a bench-warrant. This was all cleared up long ago but it would still be on my record.

    Also, I'm 48 years old, I haven't worked in 6 years and prior to that my work history is a mess.

    I was recently diagnosed with a genetic defect that inhibits my bodies' ability to utilize folic acid. Folic acid is vital in the function and repair of the intestinal tract. Because of this, at age 25, yeast began overpopulating my digestive system. This gave me a wide variety of physical and mental symptoms: weight gain, depression and cravings for alcohol were among the most troublesome. But, I've begun taking a form of folic acid that my body can utilize and I appear to be on the road to recovery. And, of course, I stopped drinking 7 years ago.

    The idea of getting a degree at my age sounds depressing, but going back to warehouse/manufacturing jobs is worse. My personality type is often described as "the scientist" and I've realized I'm not going to be happy until I find work that is appropriate to that type -- and that means getting an education.

    BTW, Linux has been my OS of choice for 10 years. I'm completely at ease using the command line, I've built numerous apps from source, and even spent a few months learning emacs, bash scripting, and using the console exclusively.

    So, any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    Granted that you've got a few problems with your history, but most IT shops are more interested in your future. You might not get an interview at a Fortune 100 company or with the government (but then again you might).

    Python won't guarantee you a job, and a DBA certificate won't either but if you combine one or both of them with a willingness to work, good grades (more accurately evidence of class and extracurricular participation), and the expectation that you will have to work your way up from a starting position then you shouldn't have any problem finding a good job.

    Keep in mind, this is going to take real work... It won't be a picnic and you'll have to put in some extra effort. I think that you'll be really happy once you get going though.

    One thing to keep in mind is that databases are a pretty generic name for a lot of different products. They are alike in some ways, and different in others. DB2, Microsoft-SQL, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and SQL-Lite have similarities and differences... Just like Bayliner, Cesna, Kenworth, Schwinn, and Volvo which have similarities and differences. The communities that back each product are as different as the products themselves... The database support community can be at least as important as the people that you sit with every day, so be sure to include that in your thinking/choices!

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    11,434
    Your attitude and willingness to learn will get you further than any piece of paper in the long run.
    Perhaps you should put your personal projects on your CV and/or make them available for prospective employers to view?

    Sadly some places require a pretty piece of parchment to pass The Gates of HR, but not everyone.
    Getting past this first hurdle may be difficult but it is far from impossible.

    Just keep plugging away, keep improving your skills and you will find your feet.

    Best of luck!


    P.S. what Pat says about the [support] communities about each technology is very true. Personally, without this forum, I wouldn't have specialised with Microsoft SQL Server. Heck, I might not have specialised in data at all!
    George
    Home | Blog

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3
    Thank you both for the encouragement -- it means a lot. Pat, you've definitely given me something to think about when it comes to product and community. gvee, the idea of skipping the paper and focusing exclusively on self-directed study is both tempting and scary. Being trained in MS SQL by a top 10 engineering school would get me my first job a lot quicker, but studying Postgres on my own would be more rewarding and when I did get that first job I would be happier.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
    Posts
    15,579
    I could be wrong, but I think that Microsoft SQL Server and the truly amazing support community around it (see http://www.sqlpass.org and its companion site http://www.sqlsaturday.com for examples) are by far the best choice for someone in your position. PostgreSQL is a great product, but it doesn't have even one percent of the help/support available to new users of Microsoft SQL Server and the community that has been built around the products.

    While you might be a *nix and PostgreSQL person at heart and that might be a good place for you to end up after you build up your credibility and your body of work, I wouldn't recommend that you start there.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    3
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan View Post
    I could be wrong, but I think that Microsoft SQL Server and the truly amazing support community around it (see http://www.sqlpass.org and its companion site http://www.sqlsaturday.com for examples) are by far the best choice for someone in your position. PostgreSQL is a great product, but it doesn't have even one percent of the help/support available to new users of Microsoft SQL Server and the community that has been built around the products.

    While you might be a *nix and PostgreSQL person at heart and that might be a good place for you to end up after you build up your credibility and your body of work, I wouldn't recommend that you start there.

    -PatP
    Funny, I thought I replied to this already. Anyway, yes I agree. I looked into Postgres forums and jobs and starting out there with no experience doesn't seem realistic. My first DBA job is the most important thing and the certificates offered by UW are the most certain path, that's within my means, to getting that. Thanks again for the reply.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    5

    Looking for career advice

    Hi, I understand your point, I can relate about your career. However, If you are really determined and enthusiastic about it then I think, your age will not be a hindrance. Just do what you want and which you find interesting. Be optimistic always and believe that you can do it. Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    268
    Good read this taught me something as well!

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