Re: Questions for a Jr. DBA

  • From: Thomas Day <tomdaytwo@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2011 10:48:37 -0500

Just my two bits --
 I'd consider a junior DBA someone whom I'd trust if I left them alone with
the database for a few hours.  Someone who could follow well documented
procedures, who had good problem solving skills, and who knew when to call
for help.  Also someone who wanted to learn more about Oracle.  Most of what
I learned about Oracle in training and as a junior DBA (Oracle 6 and 7) is
now obsolete or just wrong.  And there is always something new to learn.

I'm not sure how much I'd require them to know about Oracle.  Probably
they'd need to know the difference between an instance and a database, a
table and a tablespace, a tablespace and a data file, a SID and a service.

Basically, when the customer calls and says, "Oracle's down" I want them to
be able to determine if Oracle is in fact "down" or whether the fault lies
with the network or some other component (usually the customer).  I'd like
them to begin troubleshooting the problem but I don't necessarily require
that they can do an unassisted database restore.  I want them to know the
limits of their knowledge and not be too scared or proud to ask for help
when they reach those limits.  I want them to be certain that everything
that they do can be backed out and that they won't make the problem worse.

I don't mind too much if they make mistakes as long as they don't make the
same mistake twice.  If you learn from your failures or mistakes then you
gain knowledge and with enough knowledge (enough mistakes) you become a
Senior DBA.  A Senior DBA is someone who made a lot of mistakes on previous
positions but who learned from them.

What I don't want is a cowboy who can fix the problem but then can't tell me
what he (or she) did to fix it and who can't replicate that solution in the

I understand that HR and management are not technically competent and must
rely on certifications to identify promising candidates; I don't have to.  I
tend not to value a certification as highly as its holder may.

That's in a more perfect world.  In the real world, I'll probably hire the
first candidate who is clean, available within my schedule and budget, who
has some experience in Oracle (sorry guys right out of school --- junior
DBAs make mistakes (see above on becoming a Senior DBA)), whose attitude is
agreeable, and who can explain the basics of Oracle.  They should also know
that Google is their friend when it comes to finding documentation.

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