Finding a Good DBA

I put a page together for this blog to help people understand how to find a good DBA.

I often hear people lamenting the fact that they cannot find a SQL Server expert. Many times this is a result of the people trying to find an expert by conducting a job search using standard methods (recruiters, online ads). The job description lists everything under the Sun as requirements and sometimes even list more than one job title (Sharepoint administration, Exchange administration, etc.), but those jobs rarely pay equivalent money. In short, employers want to find someone willing to do everything for less money than they are worth.

Guess what? You’re going to have a hard time finding those people.

I think part of the problem here is that most often a good DBA is nothing more than an appliance for most shops. Managers and IT directors have little understanding of the true value for a DBA so they are considered to be the equivalent of a toaster. They sit there and work on demand when you need them most. But for most of the day you don’t need them at all, but you know you want to keep them around for the next time.

If you want to find a SQL Server expert you need to stop thinking of them as a toaster. If you are serious about finding quality people to hire for your staff then you need to get out of your office and start meeting quality people that you would want to put on your staff.

Sitting in your office and posting ads for jobs or hiring recruiters is going to give you the same rate of success as if you were ordering a bride from Russia. It’s a crapshoot. Better you understand that now and start laying the groundwork to expand your network accordingly.

2 Responses to “Finding a Good DBA”

  1. Mark Grennan Says:

    I mostly agree what what you have said. Databases fall into the same group as email servers and domain name servers. System administrators are expected to take care of them all. Having been a SysAdmin, I know as long as the thing is working it’s good.

    I was also an application developer. From that point of view, you are working as fast as you can while still trying to make your code run as fast as it can. You don’t have full access to the SQL server. You might test a few different SQL queries to see witch is faster but you can’t get access to the configurations of the server. Asking the SysAdmin to change from RAID-5 to RAID-10 would be crazy talk.

    Now I’m a DBA. I understand you can have all the computer systems and program code you want, without business data you are just playing games.

    I don’t understand why upper managers don’t give more attention and resources to their data. Today many business don’t product anything. Nike doesn’t make shoes. They product information called marketing. This is true of many “new age” business.

    A good DBA is someone to 1) understands the software your using (MySQL, Oracle, DB2) 2) understands your business 3) understands your coding processes (Structured programming, Object-oriented, Scrum, Extreme Programming) and 4) can write code.

    Good Luck finding such a person.

  2. sql examples | Reply to – Finding a Good DBA Says:

    […] On DBA Survivor, Thomas LaRock blogged about “Finding a Good DBA“.  This is a […]

Leave a Reply