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#1 asdbabil  Icon User is offline

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Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 12:27 PM

Hi everyone, I need your opinions

I'm pursuing a degree in Computer Information Systems and I have to choose a specialty, either Database Management or Programming. And I have one more year to go. I like programming but I don't know If I wanna make a career out of it. This semester, I'm taking two courses that are related to database systems, Microsoft Access and database design, and I'm enjoying both of them. And I do see myself in designing databases more than programming. But which one is better in terms of the best career opportunities and high paying? Thank you

This post has been edited by asdbabil: 13 January 2010 - 12:29 PM


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Replies To: Database Management vs Programming

#2 P4L  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 01:12 PM

Dude, first off, wrong forum. You needed to post this in the Corner Cube in order to avoid being flamed. Secondly, you're going to need programming in order to do DB design and set up. In looking for a new job, I have found that languages like Java, Coldfusion, Perl, PHP, C#, C++, and more are being desired in addtion to SQL, MYSQL, MSSQL, T-SQL, and other Database specific languages. If you have the option between the two, go for the programming because you will get a broader sense of how everything melds together, and it will give you a wider range of abilities. Besides, you can always go back and learn whatever language you need for being a DBA.
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#3 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 01:18 PM

I second the move to the 'cube.
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#4 PsychoCoder  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 01:18 PM

Moved to Corner Cubical :)
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#5 KeyboardKowboy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 02:55 PM

Although my job title states 'Software Engineer', I'm often responsible for analyzing and managing whatever back end is required for the project I'm working on. I also believe you would be better off following a programming regimen as opposed to narrowing in on database management solely.

I also find programming to be a lot more fulfilling and engaging on a daily basis. You'll typically learn the DBA stuff by default, especially if you end up working for a small/mid sized company, where us engineers typically wear many (and i mean many) hats.
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#6 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 04:47 PM

My official title at work is Database Administrator. However, I'm also the Project Manager / Sr. Programmer. Programming is more fun. I'll leave the programming part to the rest of the peanut gallery. ;)

The role of a DBA varies. Sometimes it encompasses every conceivable aspect, from disaster recovery to writing stored procedures. Often a significant amount of the "fun" stuff is given over to the developers. Microsoft's DBA track is more like sysadmin for databases and leaves all the icky stuff that happens inside a database server to the application developers. Most DBAs are expected to design the structure of a database proper. Sometimes doing basic triggers related to integrity with procedure based business rules left to the devs.

Once the database is created, the creative part of the endeavor is done. The rest of the job is routine. You make sure the backups are good and do similar maintenance. You move data around for various projects; dev to test to prod and back again. You fight fires that usually aren't yours; "no, the database is fine. If the application has issues, talk to the app dev." "You deleted what?" When bored, you do the same kind of script kiddie stuff than unix admins do to pass the time...

In larger companies, DBAs tend to get more respect than programmers. This is because they have to endure the same meetings as the project leads, the rest of the programmers have to go on hear say. Also, the DBA has to power to bring business operations to a halt and the responsibility not to let that happen.
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#7 KeyboardKowboy  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 13 January 2010 - 08:07 PM

In light of baavgai's comments, I'd also like to add that as a software engineer, you'd better earn the respect of the DBA. If the database itself or the server that houses it suffers some sort of issue, depending on the type of software system you're working on, you may find yourself and your system dead in the water. Managers and customers love to come after the developer first, because that's the part of the system they see faltering.

At the end of the day, I believe both Software Engineer and DBA skill sets work hand in hand. You'd better have a good understanding of how your back end works if you're a developer, and as a DBA, you'll need to understand some basic scripting and stored procedure skills, as well as being able to communicate with the developers much more effectively.

The choice is yours of course, but in the end I don't think you can go wrong either way. Good luck!
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#8 coden4fun  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 15 January 2010 - 10:46 AM

IMO, Programming is more fun, but you do need a good working Knowledge of both. Choose which one makes you the happiest and especially if you're good at it, and later or within the time your getting your degree learn the other one on the side @ your library and by using the internet.

Problem solved :^:
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#9 asdbabil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 16 January 2010 - 10:22 AM

I apologize for posting in the wrong forum....and I thank you all for your comments :)
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#10 Chris Coneybeer  Icon User is offline

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Re: Database Management vs Programming

Posted 22 January 2010 - 09:07 AM

I also think that programming is more fun for the day to day gig. But coming from a job where I was also the DBA of a SQL cluster running several third party and in-house developed applications I think that working with more of an eye towards the data side can prove to do you well. There is a lot to be said for devs that have a good understanding of the DB engine and how it operates. Too many times I think we see devs that know enough about the DB to get by and if you have strong skills there it can help you out.

I am talking more than just being able to create schema objects and debug stored procedures. Being able to design a database and understand how design decisions determine the performance and maintenance of the database is (IMHO) huge. This is points more to an understanding of the engine of the database and how it uses the objects that you create.

Chris
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