Four months ago I left the comfort of my home network to join the DBA world as a Junior Oracle Financials DBA. Before getting my job I spent the better part of 5 months reading and playing with test Oracle servers in my home lab (studying for my OCP and trying to expose myself to the Oracle world).

I think the point of this message is targeted to many of the people that are just starting their DBA careers. I want to share what I have faced so far in my new career.

My first shock was not in the workload of being a DBA, but yet dealing with the application issues instead. For the most part the workload has been related to Oracle Applications (something I had not had ANY exposure to before getting the position). The point here is that my expectation of relying on all of my DB Admin skills went totally out of the window.

Without going on and on about my experiences, I would like to bullet some of my observations about being a junior dba. If any senior dba's would like to spank my thought processes, please do.. I need all of the help I can get.

1. If you are new to an organization that already had database admin, read the existing documentation, and get a good overview everything as soon as you get on the scene. Make sure that you ask for ALL of the documentation. Just recently one document that would have saved me a ton of work surfaced two months into a process.

2. Start personal documentation at all costs. Something as trivial as a relink error message might mean a lot more to you later than sooner. If nothing else start a spreadsheet and dump every tidbit that comes up into it.

3. Figure out where to find the best information. Metalink, DBA books,, white papers, forums etc. I've solved a ton of problems with installs etc. just by using what others have posted on here, and metalink.

4. When you come to a point where calling Oracle support is a last resort, submit the iTar first, then call in and reference it with the iTar number that metalink gave you. The reason I say this is because I have run into support people that want me to read out the entire error message that I'm getting to them character by character, and that becomes very tedious, and annoying. Also our support seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes you get excellent support, and sometimes it really stinks. Sometimes you get someone that understands the situation, and other times you will get people that will try to wiggle out of helping you. With Oracle Support (mainly special interest products like Financials) it is the luck of the draw when you call up support.

5. Document all of your Tars with Tar number, support person name, summary of the problem, date. Reason I say this is because if you rely on your history in Metalink, you might not be able to get to it. Lately it has either been really slow or in some cases unavailable to our network.

6. At the bare minimum, teach yourself where all of the log files reside, and how to get to them as quickly as possible. Also, make life easier for yourself by spending the time to use tools like vi effectively so when you need to edit a portion of a log file or script you can do so without feeling like you wasting a lot of time. There is also a vi for windows, so you NT people can't complain that you don't have a good text editor. =)

These are my opinions on how to survive for at least first 4 months as a DBA. These are my opinions and are subject to a level of newbiehood, so please use accordingly. =)

I would love to hear whether or not you more experienced DBA's think i'm going down the right path or are using the right methodology!?

[Edited by blurry on 03-09-2001 at 11:21 AM]