1. You forgot one!

    11. Never makes mistakes.

    • I think my point was, know how to cover your arse for mistakes you will inevitably make. An outstanding DBA obviously backs what he/she needs to first, verifies the backup etc etc and never forgets to do that before accidentally implementing a production change on the wrong database which he/she hasn’t just backed up, eh?

    • P.S. I forgot to say the most important thing, Jon – nice article, well done & well written.

  2. David Monty says:

    Couldn’t agree more! But don’t forget “the ability to deal with idiots, especially when they’re your boss”…

  3. --Jeff Moden says:

    All these rules and suggestions are great and I thank you for posting them.  I’d like to summarize using a quote written by David Poole about being an exceptional DB.

    “If you are in the position where people will voluntarily use you as the first point of contact for database information rather than the last, then you are probably an exceptional DBA”

    • My pleasure Jeff. That is indeed a great quote. 

      I like the inclusion of the word “probably” in particular…..if folks always come to you first in order to get results, let’s hope it’s not because you’re a pushover 
      ;-)Thanks for your comments sir!

  4. Tcronin says:

    Sorry missing number 1, understand the data and how it impacts the company, no ands ifs or buts, always number one, always.  I will take a medicore DBA any day over the technogeek who has your 10 down.  All the other 10 need to be based upon that number one, I have no interest in your cool poweshell script when my 10,000 orders don’t go out tonight.

  5. Yep, couldn’t agree more ;-)

  6. Again, hitting me square in the nose. I now have these hanging on my wall. One that I will like to add for myself is Trustworthy. DBA’s have a huge responsibility and if you are on a team of people it is important to know that DBA’s all trust one another along with the business trusting you. I’ve got to know going into battle that the team members have my six and that I’ve got theirs; we pick each other up when we fall (yes we are human). The business units need to trust the DBA’s as well knowing that they can sleep safely at night because their data is in good hands.

    Nice post once again John; nice to see 2010 posts are still ever present in 2013

    • A most excellent character trait suggestion Chris. So much so in fact that I’m somewhat surprised it did not make the original list/cut. You’re absolutely right, you just can’t put a value on how important trust is for a Data Professional. Once it’s lost, well, it’s pretty much game over really. Such is the level of responsibility we shoulder.

      Ha! A timeless post, trust me they’re rare. As an author I’m more accustomed to looking back at previous work and cringing. I think we all do. Eyes forward….

  7. Hi John,

    I just wanted to say great site and info.

    I have been in IT for over 15 years as a systems and network admin, and have created some sophisticated applications using MS Access 2007 VBA. I am now teaching myself VB.NET and ADO.NET with MS SQL 2008. I have always wanted to be in the DBA and programming field but never had the opportunity to make the move. Most of what I know I learned on my own. I would like to take some official classes but everything I find is toward a certification. I know any knowledge is good knowledge, but I do not want to pay thousands and not get anything that would make a difference. I have all 11 plus skills listed here and I am very, very, very detail oriented.
    I really need a very fast track to this career. What do you recommend?

    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your kind words, delighted to hear that you are enjoying the blog.

      I can certainly appreciate how you feel about the cost of training. Some Data Professionals are fortunate to have these costs covered by their employers. In my own experience, I have always found the training courses I have attended (particularly those offered by SQLSkills) to be a completely worthwhile investment.

      However, I am also a very firm believer in self-study toward certification and it is something that I practice myself. Specifically, other than the Microsoft Certified Master, I have used solely self-study to develop the skills required to achieved SQL Server certification. My motivation though was not driven by cost but rather that I prefer this method of study.

      You can read more about my approach to studying for SQL Certification here.

      Considering your significant experience in IT and that you have developed a robust variety of soft skills, I believe that this approach could be ideal for you. The speed at which you achieve your goal is then completely in your hands. If fast tracking is a priority to you, then you have the power to approach your goal as you see fit in order to support this.

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