I am starting a collection of “How I Became A _____________” stories and will be aggregating them right here. Your contributions are welcomed and encouraged. You can email me some text, send me a link to your blog where you write it up, or even a video on YouTube if you have it. Include what section below it should go in. Longer submissions would be better as links to your blogs, shorter ones work as just text if you prefer. Add your link as a comment, and I’ll delete that after incorporating into the list.
For now, I’d like to stick with items in and around the database world…DBA, Developer, Architect, BI pro, Database Manager, SQL Server, Oracle, etc.
The goal here is to have a place for people considering database work as a profession a place to go to get more info direct from the mouths of those of us already in the industry. Lets keep the contributions family-friendly and encouraging!
- Andy Levy (b|t) finds out he has DBA tendencies…
- Arun Sirpal (b|t) never stops learning!
- David Alcock (b|t) shares his path to DBA, along with tips for those considering the idea from across the pond.
- Jr. DBA Julie (t) shares her storyThe story of how I became a SQL database administrator is … less than glamorous. Without going into specifics, I found myself at 35 years old in the position of needing to change careers – and needing to do so at a breakneck speed, because quite unexpectedly I became the sole provider for my family. I had a bachelor’s degree in art, few marketable skills, no professional job history for the past 10 years, and the weight of the consequences of failure breathing hard down my neck.
So I reached out. I talked to people. I spammed my Facebook and Twitter feeds, asking people what it was like in their industry – what the job prospects were, what the working conditions were like, what the requirements were, what the long term growth potential might be. I made sure everyone I knew was aware I was looking for a job.
I did not get a single response to the resumes I submitted to job postings. I DID get a response from my friend Jen McCown, who asked me one day if I’d like to do grunt DBA work for her home consulting business. YES, I said, I would love to do that.
“Is this a pity job?” I asked her.
“No no no,” she lied.
Jen and her husband Sean spent a good part of the next couple of months training me to be a DBA. It was very difficult, as the learning curve was so steep as to be nearly vertical. I lived, breathed, ate and slept databases. I was keenly aware of what failure would mean, for me and my children, if I didn’t nail this. I remember one instance where I was sitting with my youngest child while he fell asleep, and he was annoyed by the light of my laptop and the click of the keys as I worked on some issue or other.
“I hate databases,” he grumbled and pulled the covers over his head.
At the moment, I kinda hated databases, too.
Several months later, Sean introduced me to the folk at a local company, who had a position open for a junior DBA. They needed someone who could do backups and restores, document procedures, run queries, and look into basic problems like blocking and security access. I got the job.
I’m almost three years into a DBA career now, and I am occasionally reminded with great humility and gratitude that I would not be here without Sean and Jen. I was lucky. But I am coming to realize that all of us have a Sean-and-Jen – people who opened up doors with opportunities for work. So how would I apply my experience becoming a DBA to others? To a certain extent, you have to make your own luck. Networking is the single greatest avenue to luck, but a lot of work comes before and after the opportunity presents itself. Have your resume together, read articles and books, take training courses and certifications, go to user group meetings and such. Most importantly, be prepared to work your butt off. Database work, especially in the beginning of a career, may mean a lot of late nights, even overnights. It’s not for everybody, but it certainly is a great path.
- Chris Yates (b|t) – The SQL Professor
- Anders Pederson (b|t) in 2 parts:
- @SQLAndy: How to Become a SQL Server DBA (whitepaper, site registration required)
- DBA Kevin Hill gives an email interview