Find out what you need to know to get started on the road to a rewarding career as a SQL Server DBA.
“I want this area of the blog to be your one stop resource for information about being a SQL DBA. No question goes unanswered here and if you can’t find the answer to what you’re looking for I want to know about it!
How Most Junior DBA’s Earn Their Stripes
Acquiring your very first role as a Junior SQL Server DBA is not an easy task. Just browse any one of the many job sites advertising SQL Server DBA job vacancies and you will quickly come to realise that almost all Junior positions list a number of years of SQL Server experience as a necessary requirement.
The truth is that a significant proportion of SQL Server Database Administrators (DBA’s) start out in an alternative discipline, that is to say they are Accidental DBA’s. For example, a Windows Server Administrator may also be tasked with looking after the businesses SQL Server infrastructure, perhaps as the result of a DBA having left the company or through cross training opportunities within the organisation. These individuals acquire the necessary experience on the job within their existing role in order to make the transition to a Junior DBA position.
If you are seriously interested in either starting out on the path to becoming a SQL Server Database Administrator or perhaps wish to make a lateral move from an alternative IT discipline, this revelation can be quite disheartening. You may feel that it is somewhat of a no win scenario, as right now you have limited experience working with SQL Server, hence why you are considering junior opportunities in the first place.
How To Become an Outstanding SQL Server DBA
Well fear not my friend, for all is not lost. It may surprise you to hear that I am of the opinion that SQL Server experience alone is NOT the most desirable quality of a Junior SQL Server DBA!
You see the Accidental DBA will often be self taught and so although more experienced than perhaps you are currently, they have acquired their knowledge of SQL Server the hard way. The very same knowledge can be passed on to a newly hired Junior DBA by an experienced mentor in a fraction of the time. For this reason there are a number of very desirable qualities other than SQL Server experience alone, that can provide you with a serious edge over the competition. See Top 10 Junior DBA Interview Tips for examples of what I am talking about.
Over the years I have interviewed many aspiring data professionals and I want to share with you what I believe you need to know to become a SQL Server DBA. Below you will find a variety of posts that look at what it means to be a SQL Server DBA and how you can take charge of your professional development.
Thinking about becoming a SQL Server DBA? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below or send me a message.
What’s It Really Like To Be A SQL Server DBA?
I get a lot of questions and emails from you asking:
What it’s really like to be a SQL Server DBA and how do I know if it is the right career for me?
These are great questions and they are not easily answered in a few short sentences. I wanted to find a way to provide you with some really good insight and so I came up with the idea of inviting members of the SQL Server community to share their experiences with you, here on the blog and created the What’s it Like To Be a SQL Server DBA guest post series. Each author tells their own personal story of how they became a SQL Server DBA and share advice for those interested in this career path.
- A Journey To SQL Authority - Pinal Dave (Blog|Twitter)
- The Last Starfighter - Michael J. Swart (Blog|Twitter)
- DBAvolution - Mike Fal (Blog|Twitter)
- Lunch is for Wimps - Mala Mahadevan(Blog)
- The Hollywood DBA - Jonathan Allen (Blog|Twitter)
- Where The Magic Happens - Nick Haslam(Blog|Twitter)
How To Learn About SQL Server
- Essential Reading - There are so many books available about SQL Server that it be hard to choose what’s right for you. Here are some of the books that I recommend.
- Jump Start Your SQL Server Learning Today – Find out how to get your SQL Server learning on the right track.
- Blog your way to becoming a better DBA – Blogging is one of the most powerful and rewarding ways that you can learn the DBA art.
- Top 5 SQL Forums – Forums are one of the best places to learn about SQL Server because they enable you to not only find answers to your own questions but to also see what others are asking. UPDATE: We now have a Forum here for you to enjoy.
3 Essential Steps Toward Becoming a SQL Server DBA
I get a lot of questions from you about how exactly should you go about getting started towards becoming a SQL Server DBA. I wanted to provide you with something sufficiently detailed and easy to follow, so in reply to one reader email in particular, I created the following blog post series. I hope you find it useful. Your Road To Becoming a DBA:
Interview Tips and Advice
- How To Write An Interview Winning CV/Resume - Make sure you secure your next interview by following these resume writing tips.
- Top 10 Junior DBA Interview Tips – Interview advice to help you get that all important first Junior SQL Server DBA role.
- 10 Character Traits of Outstanding DBAs – It’s not all about technical skills. Find out what I think sets the best apart from the rest.
SQL Server Certifications
What you need to Know About Being a DBA
- The Art of the Outstanding DBA
- What does it take to be an outstanding SQL Server DBA?
- With Great Advice Comes Great Responsibility
- The Politics of SQL Server Performance
Essential Technical Stuff
- SQL Server Essentials – Part1: The Database Administrator’s Primary Responsibility
- SQL Server Essentials – Part 2: Why you should be using the FULL Recovery Model
There’s More To Being a DBA Than Just Technical Knowledge
- 5 Days to Outstanding DBA Customer Service
- DBA Survival Skills – Think Defensively
- How to Provide Great Feedback
Your Questions, Answered!
I love answering your questions, so much so that sometimes I write entire posts about them. Here are some of my posts in reply to readers just like you.
- What’s the “Best” Path to Becoming a DBA? - Discover the best path forward for you
- Your Road to Becoming A DBA - How to get started towards becoming a SQL Server DBA
- Look How Far You Have Come - How to stay motivated on your journey
- What’s the Age Limit for Becoming a DBA? – Discover the “one thing” you really do need
- Yes! You can be a DBA Too – How to learn if being a DBA is the right career for you
Do you have a question about being a SQL Server DBA that you can’t find the answer to? Let me know about it in the comments below! You can also contact me privately.