Path to DBA

Recently I needed to make a list of what tasks I thought would be needed to qualify someone from a Jr. DBA to a DBA.  One of the people I was managing had started as a Jr. DBA that we were training and after a year of training and tasks we felt it was time to move him up in rank to a full time DBA.  Of course we wanted a checklist of items to prove this so below is the list I used to qualify the person. 

1. Fixing corruption issues

2. Determining optimal Disk layout based on application needs. 

3. Index suggestions based on Slow running Stored Procedure.

4. Index/performance suggestions based on profiler running against application. 

5. Defragmentation, Stats, reindex schedule suggestions.

6. Understanding of Sql Server configuration best practices.

7. Ability to place the db in Single user mode, Rebuild master, Attaching/Detaching Db’s.

8. Understanding Security differences in Role/user security

9. Understanding Isolation levels, difference suggestions for using each one. 

10. When is a good Use of (nolock) and for what?

11. What are memory configurations and settings for SQL server.

12. Backup and Restore Db through t-sql and to a point in time.

13. Setting up Db mail.

Along with this list was some specific goals and suggestions for the specific company and application we worked with.  A good DBA not only understands the Database system they are working with but they also know the system and how it is used. 

I’m sure there are more things people could think of feel free to add more in the comments if you have suggestions for additional items. 


2 responses to “Path to DBA

  1. Nice list! I’d add a clarification that this is more of a production DBA than a dev DBA – for example, there’s no data modeling in here, dev/QA/production code promotion, data/schema comparisons, version control, etc, and those are things I wouldn’t trouble a production DBA with.After the first year, Production DBAs also have to do some project management: I’d consider it a rite of passage to manage a product deployment from start to finish. For example, maybe there’s a new SharePoint farm coming, and the production DBA: – Works with the vendor to spec out the gear – Designs the HA and DR solution – Designs the dev/QA environment and refreshes it – Lays out the support process – Works with the project manager to get-er-doneAnother resource I use for this kind of career stairstepping is the Fog Creek Professional Ladder.

  2. You make an excellent point this is meant for a production DBA. I had not thought of the project management side of things either since typically I’ve had someone else managing this but your correct there have been times when many of those tasks fell to the DBA. Thanks for the input.

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