8 Replies - 1390 Views - Last Post: 30 December 2013 - 10:30 AM

#1 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 26 December 2013 - 08:07 PM

Hello,

I've decided for some time now that I would like to become a database administrator. My university has a course on the fundamentals of Databases but I cannot take it in the upcoming semester. I was wondering if anyone here could recommend a good textbook on the fundamentals of database administration that I can study with? Afterwards perhaps I will know what type (like MySQL, Oracle, etc.) of database I would like to work with. And do you have any other tips I can use in becoming a database administrator?

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#2 salazar  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 26 December 2013 - 09:27 PM

I am a former aspiring database administrator (like that means anything :)). I don't have a specific book that a read that is only about databases. It was more based on a specific kind of database model. There are plenty of good books, however. Go to your favorite book seller and look up "database administration". One might be
http://www.amazon.co...+administration
I think database administration is a wonderful field. I would still want to be one if not for software.
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#3 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 26 December 2013 - 11:57 PM

Thanks. What do you do now?
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#4 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 27 December 2013 - 06:22 AM

I'm a DBA. Oracle and MS SQL, mostly. I don't know any text books; it's mostly just documentation. ;)

A DBA's primary job is the health of their data. Backup and recovery is top priority. If the box the database is on should melt into a small puddle, the DBA will be expected to restore the lost data as quickly and completely as possible. More commonly, if someone does something egregious, you'll be expected to undo the damage. You'll also be expected to "clone" data across systems for development, testing, etc. Basically, the database as data store is your responsibility.

The DBA is also in the access control business. Maintaining user accounts, permissions, etc. Some applications use a few users. Some require everyone have their own login. Windows mitigates this by using network security, but you usually still have jobs to do with it.

Beyond that, many DBAs are also sysadmins, maintaining the entire box. In a Windows environment, this is mostly friendly GUI tools. In a *nix environment, a lot more OS knowledge is required.

A DBA is sometimes, but not always, expected to be a developer. They might be completely in charge of a database schema. They might write code; views at least, but also stored procedures. They often clean up messy developer code in their database. ;)

In simple terms "it has to do with the database, so you should know it."

This post has been edited by baavgai: 27 December 2013 - 06:23 AM

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#5 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 27 December 2013 - 07:12 PM

Where did you learn how to be a DBA? I'm sure that I will need certain certifications. I suppose there is documentation to help you study for things of the sort.

This post has been edited by Atli: 28 December 2013 - 02:40 AM
Reason for edit:: Removed unnecessary quote.

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#6 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 28 December 2013 - 04:37 AM

DBA's are odd. Kind of like cuckoos. They don't generally start out as DBAs. Rather, they seem to be poached from other jobs when a business realizes they need someone full time to cover the position. The pool DBAs are taken from is either sysadmin or developer. Job offers for DBAs always require prior experience: as a DBA! Sometimes, it will be prior experience working with a particular database. If you show up for the DBA job as a developer who's done lots of work on given systems, you're a reasonable choice for junior DBA.

You can get certified in anything, of course. Oracle has a large number of classes and tracks. Microsoft offers certs in their database as well. I have taken a number of these classes. As training, some of them are excellent. As a path for future employment, I feel they offer too little for too much. The pricing structure on these things is not individual friendly. Classes can run $500 to $3000 and more a day. Remember how I said DBAs come from inside a company? Well, people who take these classes are already employed by a company. I've yet to do Oracle training where the class wasn't half full of people from Fortune 500 companies; Oracle is expensive, the classes are expensive, and they know the big guys just keep on paying. Microsoft is more plebeian, but the classes are still pretty dear.

Anyway, that's my experience. I was a developer who got asked "hey, you seem to already know most of this stuff, wanna go to a sybase class?"

Just to make sure my experience isn't completely atypical, I just did a quick google. Looks like it's not:

http://www.dbta.com/...-DBA-90658.aspx

http://www.johnsanso...sql-server-dba/
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#7 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:59 AM

As with any company, the lines between roles are more clearly defined the larger the company actually is. At a small company, I was everything from a sysadmin to a developer to customer support. At my current company I'm a far more focused back-end developer, and there are separate teams for any reasonable subtask.

I'd like to think that SysAdmins are more prone to the switch, as often times they're already in charge of Databases, redundancy, and performance. Developers seem like an extra step or two away, but stranger things have and will keep happening.
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#8 lamentofking  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 30 December 2013 - 09:59 AM

So are you all recommend me learning how to be a System Admin/Developer first?
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#9 trixt.er  Icon User is offline

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Re: How to become a Database Administrator

Posted 30 December 2013 - 10:30 AM

View Postlamentofking, on 30 December 2013 - 09:59 AM, said:

So are you all recommend me learning how to be a System Admin/Developer first?


Most DBA's start off as full time developers (programmers). I'm currently a full time developer, but micromanage a lot of my teams back end database transactions. We employ what is known as a NoSQL database. Our implementation is MongoDB. Mongo utilizes BSON which appears to the developer/admin as JSON (Javascript Object Notation). MongoDB is fairly trendy and works well with Grails. So I would suggest setting up a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL-MongoDB, PHP-Python-Perl) web application first. This way you'll get to see how the database interacts with the front end. You don't have to concentrate much on the front end itself, but if you could set up a simple CRUD app that would get your feet wet. CRUD is a database acronym standing for: create, read, update, delete. You get the idea.

This post has been edited by trixt.er: 30 December 2013 - 10:31 AM

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