I have just joined this forum today. I hope you all had a great Christmas.
Well, I am a DBA (Oracle+DB2) with 9 years of experience. I am certified 9i DBA. I have expertise in UNIX system admin and Veritas VM / VCS Cluster Administration. And I also have other software skills. I have worked at great companies like Oracle,Siebel,HP etc. Now I am a Senior Level DBA.
I have seen DBAs with 15-20 years of experience - still doing DBA tasks and mentoring junior DBAs. I wonder where do I stand now and where I go from here? Do I have to do the same hands-on DBA tasks throughout my career? Sometimes I feel like I should be in a better position than what I am today. But I am not sure where everybody stands so far DBA career is concerned.
I will really appreciate if you can tell me where you stand today and where you want to be in near future. I think its high time for me to evaluate my career options again.
IMHO, the traditional task oriented role of the DBA is dead. Most tasks assigned to the DBA staff can either be automated or eliminated with new features of the software. Sure, there are those who have 20 years of experience that will argue with that, but hey, they've been doing the same thing for 20 years, do you really think they're going to change now?
Instead, I see the role of the DBA changing from an Administrative role to an Architectual role. The DBA will need to understand the business and craft solutions with off the shelf components to satisfy the needs of the business. This role will vary in each company. Some companies will have their DBAs do backend development. Some companies will make their DBAs responsible for all of the software that runs an application (http server, middle tier, backend, ERP, etc.). Some companies will have their DBAs responsible for populating the DataWarehouse from the all the systems a company owns.
The DBA will become more of an asset to the company instead of a cost center. Smart companies will see the DBA staff as a cost saver and a revenue producer instead of a high salary.
Will all companies particpate in this mind-set? No. There will be plenty of companies out there that want DBAs to manage their databases and that's it. However, these companies limit themselves to middle-of-the-road 20 year veterns and college grads. There will always be fear of layoffs at these companies because when costs get cut, they go for the higher salaries first.
Originally posted by harristonian
"The DBA will become more of an asset to the company instead of a cost center. Smart companies will see the DBA staff as a cost saver and a revenue producer instead of a high salary."
Do you really think this possible? I can't see it myself. How do you suppose that the DBA's demonstrate the value added?
Not only is it possible, it's probable. Showing cost savings is easy. Figure out what you spend a majority of the day on and then automate it. You have just saved the company $x because you don't have to do that work anymore. In addition, you can now work on more projects that will make the company more money.
For example, at my site I estimated we spent 2 man-hours every day managing storage on our 10 instances. Because of the growth rate of the comany, we were looking at doubling the amount of instances in the next 12 months. I would either have to hire somebody to pick up the slack or automate the process. I took 3 weeks to automate the process and instantly gave my group 2 hours a day. In addition, we have added 6 instances with not one single minute more of work in our day.
Being a revenue producer is a little more difficult if you're not in an IT centric business. In a consulting company, I could justify a higher rate to my client because I can do 10 hours of work in an 8 hour day. In a non-IT centric company, indirect revenue producers will work on systems affecting customer service.
IMHO, if you're a DBA and you can't show where your activities contribute to the bottom line, you have a serious longevity issue.
Thanks for the reply. Still, I wonder whats the ultimate career path for a DBA.
marist89 is correct on changing role of DBAs - now DBAs are no more just DBAs, they need to deal with other components in different layer. Now at my job I do 50% DBA work and 50% system/architecture/ High Availability/ performance/ benchmark work. And smart companies know how to utilize DBAs properly.
Here we are thinking in terms of DBA role and adding value to companies bottomline.
But from a DBA's perspective - where should I see myself in next 5-10 years? From DBA you become a DBA manager - then what? or whatever...
I am not sure if we need to pursue any other skills to go higher in corporate ladder. DBAs are well-respected - but I have not seen DBAs holding higher position in any typical corporate business hierarchy.
Seriously, though, you have to align your career direction with your goals. If your goal is to become CIO of some company, you're wasting your time as a DBA. If your goal is to become an expert in the world of Data, keep evolving into the DBA role. Don't get hung up on titles, most times they are meaningless.