by Craig S. Mullins
As a DBA, it is almost inevitable that you will change jobs several times during your career. When making a job change, you will obviously consider requirements such as salary, bonus, benefits, frequency of reviews, and amount of vacation time. However, you also should consider how the company "treats" their DBAs. Different organizations place different value on the DBA job. It is imperative to your career development that you scout for progressive organizations that understand the complexity and ongoing learning requirements for the position.
Here are some useful questions to ask:
Does the company offer regular training for its DBAs to learn new DBMS features and functionality? As a DBA you need to be well-
What about training for related technologies such as programming, networking, e-
Does the company allow DBAs to regularly attend local user groups? What about annual user groups at remote locations? User groups are essential for networking with others who perform the same, or similar, job duties. By attending local user group meetings you can not only get inexpensive training through watching the presentations, but you can also learn exchange ideas with your peers. Moreover, local user groups have little to no cost, other than the time out of the office.
Annual user groups, on the other hand, can be very costly, but the educational benefit, as well as the opportunity to learn from peers cannot be underestimated.
On a somewhat-
Are there backup DBAs, or will you be the only one on call 24/7? Nobody wants to be the only DBA on call, every night, all the time, on weekends, holidays, etc. And if there is no backup what happens if you take a vacation? Is it really a vacation if you have to carry a company cell phone everywhere you go?
Are there data administration and system administration organizations, or are the DBAs expected to perform all of these duties, too? DBA is a full-
Does the DBA group view its relationship with application development groups as a partnership? Or is the relationship more antagonistic? A partnership is essential in order to produce optimally performing database applications. And if you do not have applications that perform well, then the DBA job will be burdensome.
Are DBAs included in design reviews, budgeting discussions, and other high-
The more YES answers you get to these questions, the more progressive the DBA environment is. Be sure to ask these questions during your interview. It will show that you have experience and that you care about your career. Be sure to research the answers later, too. Ask around about the company to those who used to work there and anyone you know (remember those user groups) that currently works there. Sometimes the answers given by the workers will not exactly match those given by the interviewer.
Keep in mind, too, that these are not the ONLY questions you need to ask.
And good luck with your DBA career!
From Database Trends and Applications, March 2012.
© 2012 Craig S. Mullins,