Admit it, you're waiting for That 80's show as well...
Anyhow, I wanted to get some insight into the journey into becoming a seasoned DBA...especially from experienced seniors like Julian, Marist89.0, Mr. Hanky , The Turkish Bazaar DBA, and other OCP DBA's:
How were you introduced into the db world, especially Oracle (college/work/elsewhere) ?
How long after being exposed to Oracle did you become OCP DBA's ?
What is the satisfaction level of being a full fledged DBA...(eg. I am satisfied and want to be a DBA for life/ I want to switch careers / Want a managerial position /DBA life is tough/DBA life rocks , etc)
By the way, have any of the DBA's here obtained the SCJP designation, because I'm gunning for that as well...
(Mr. E Haskins of http://www.oraknowledge.com for OCP training is also welcome to provide his valuable input)
Are you an Oracle dba ?
It sounds to me as though you have doubts as to whether or not you want to take this journey.
True, the journey is long and hard and I am somewhere in the middle of that journey.
The interest stems from hunger and wanting for knowledge required to administer large systems with many components.
It is quite easy to master applications such as sqlserver but once mastered, what then ?
Oracle isn't like that, just when you think you have truely understood a part of it, you read something or experience an area of the subject you never thought existed and your learning continues. Now multiply this situation by the many components that make up Oracle and you will begin to get a picture of the amount of time and effort an Oracle DBA must put in and the tanacious attitude required to succeed.
This is why senior DBA's are expected to have 4+ years of experience before warranting being called a senior SBA.
New releases of the software and new tools/functionality mean the learning never ends.
I am in the beggining of the journey, junior dba
Oracle Corporation considers a DBA senior when he has over 8 years experience when they want to hire one, at least in this country :)
What experience with Oracle (and in the IT industry as a whole) do you have? Why do you want to go for the Oracle OCP Certification?
It is hard work, I am studying as well. It does seem, that finally the job market is picking up rather strongly. Those with experience who are out of work, should get snatched up rather quickly in the next few months. So, maybe those of us with certifications (and degrees) will get a chance.
Sureshy wrote: [It sounds to me as though you have doubts as to whether or not you want to take this journey.]
No, in fact I am determined. No matter how frustrating it might be. The reason I posted the original post was to get insight from the OCP DBA's (who've been condescendingly silent or dilligently busy administering DB's!) and how they like their career and how they got there.
NickL, I have an engineering background, but my exp in IT so far has been in web development and I have some programming background. DBA's have always been in high demand (barring economic anamolies). Even in the latest IT demand reports, DBA are the third most desired IT skill. Networking (CCNA, CCNP, CNIE, CNE etc) are the most desired IT specialization right now but it's very hard to break into Networking without practical experience. Besides, the likes of OSI/RM layers and TCP/IP are not nearly as fulfilling as working with db's. You might hopefully just be right about the economical improvement, it was supposed to have bottomed out in December...
Pando, you're too modest. I would say you're far in excess of any junior DBAs I've worked with!
In answer to your question SpeedRacer:
I made a career move from Genetic Engineering to IT by working 4 months for free in a software house writing pharmaceutical trial software in Forms 4.0. I'd never heard of Oracle but had done a bit of C programming at college a few years before. I was keen so I got given mundane DBA work in addition to my other duties. Since that point I always considered myself as a Developer/DBA.
After a few years and job changes I took a job as a PL/SQL developer but basically worked full time as a DBA. This gave me the confidence to start calling myself a DBA/Developer. In recent years I've concentrated more on DBA roles where some design and development skills are needed. This stops me getting too bored.
I started the OCP stuff because my CV looked more like that of a developer than a DBA. It was basically another confidence boost, but taught me that I didn't know as much as I thought I did. I was good at the day-to-day stuff but didn't see the bigger picture.
I think DBA work alone can be quite dull at times. You can be quite isolated depending on the company culture. I like to do crossover work, getting involved with developers and designers. I think it's important to keep an eye on all parts of the process so you can get to potential problems, like bad design and coding, early before they become ingrained into the project.
Why the interest?
Tim, thanks for sharing your experiences. Why have you chosen to be a freelance DBA, are there more pros ? I've heard about potential isolation of DBA's who others in the company refer to as Dont Bother Asking (DBA) ...
hmm it's not modest! I am a Junior, I have been working with Oracle for 1 year and 4 months roughly :)
Before that I didnt do much since I was in traning period for about 2 months, well if you could call that training hehe :D
Btw Tim are you in U.K? How's freelance there...? Freelance job in Spain is virtually zero, a big risk going for freelance in Spain, I wonder how's UK! I have been there for 4 years doing my degree, to be honest and not offending the weather is ugly :p
Have you attended Jonathan Lewis's 3 Day Seminar... or know anyone who has :-?
[Edited by pando on 01-19-2002 at 04:01 PM]
I'm surprised. I thought you'd been DBAing for longer than that!
Freelance in the UK wasn't too bad until about 4 months ago. We've been hit by the global slowdown like everyone else. Fortunately I get more work by word-of-mouth than by agencies these days so it's not so bad for me.
I wouldn't recommend making the jump to freelance at the moment unless you can get a long term contract.
The weather does suck ass, but you get used to it. One of my friends is originally from Croatia and he quite likes it here. The summers aren't too hot and the winters aren't too cold. Unfortunately it rains alot :)
Isolation is down to peoples personality. I've sometimes felt isolated at the start of a contract, but rarely at the end. If you're quiet and lack confidence you will get isolated in any job. If you enjoy talking and working with people isolation isn't a problem.
Pros of freelance are extra money, less office politics and less boredom as you get to try different things.
Cons are cost and irritation of running your own company, fear of being out of work, some peoples attitudes to freelance people and cost and time of training.
For me the pros outweight the cons. I hate getting drawn into office politics and I have a very low boredom threshold. I like the freedom you get from doing a job and leaving before it gets tedious. I'm not the sort of person that could cope with babysitting a system. I'm not criticising that type of work, it's just not for me. I've turned down a number of offers of permanent work that would be more lucrative than freelance because I like the life, so far.
About 50% of the freelancers I know have recently gone back to permanent work. The changes in the taxation law in the UK have made freelance less profitable now.
As long as I can get work I'll stay freelance even if the money is worse than permanent, but it's not for everyone.
[Edited by TimHall on 01-21-2002 at 03:47 AM]
Hey Speed Racer;
Well thanks for the compliment but I am hardly even a junior DBA. I started in this department 7 months ago after completing my Oracle8 DBA OCP in November of 2000. Prior to that I had 2 1/2 years on the help desk here at my company. This was supporting mostly proprietary applications running on NT and OS2. I have documented my bio on this page a few times over the last year so I really do not want to do it again.
I am just fortunate to have a few seniors to learn from, a big company with lots of databases and a great department that gave me a chance.
As I have said before and Jeff has mentioned as well it is not always what you know but who. It is also very VERY important to be personable, no Oracle shop is going to take you in if you don't "fit in" with the rest of the group. Be humble, have fun and learn a lot.
Education wise I am lacking, I was working as a musician for many years mostly teaching and working the counter at the music store. I did not decide to change careers until about 3 1/2 years ago, I went to a local Computer School (Chubb) and started on the help desk. I got my OCP and shoehorned my way into this department. I love it here, the people are great and the job is more rewarding, the help desk was awful!!
Keep a sense of humor and treat serious things seriously.