Since I’m hosting T-SQL Tuesday this month, I really wanted to participate as well. I chose the topic I missed called Why are DBA Skills Necessary? This topic was originally hosted by Paul Randal (blog|@PaulRandal) back in November of 2010.
This is an interesting topic for me because I’ve spent time on both sides of the fence, both as a developer and a DBA. My current role is primarily as a production DBA with many mission critical SQL Servers in-house. I’ve also worked in smaller companies that didn’t have a full-time DBA, but rather had multiple developers with some DBA experience. My contention is that not every organization needs a DBA, but every organization that has critical databases needs someone with DBA skills.
Below, I attempted to quickly come up with a list of skills a DBA should bring to a company. These are skills that companies need (to varying levels of degree) that experienced DBAs should have (again, to varying levels of degree). I came up with off the top of my head, in no particular order:
- Designer of physical architecture. Answers questions like how much memory do we need? What RAID level should we use?
- Has knowledge of proper database design e.g. normalization, referential integrity
- Protector of the data
- Has knowledge of the business and how changes to the databases affect the business
- Reviewer of code and schema reviews with database performance and manageability in mind
- Acts as a layer of security to meet regulatory compliance and to avoid company exposure to liability
- Expert in DR/HA, Backup/Restore strategy, meeting recovery time SLAs
- Saver of money by getting the most out of the current hardware
- Integrator of data between systems
- Knows what is going on behind the scenes, internals
- Learns constantly
- Keeps up with changes to SQL Server and to trends in the industry
- Supporter of users
- Monitors proactively, responds to issues before they become problems or big problems
- Trainer of junior DBAs and developers in doing things the right way
- Enforcer of standards
- Lastly, someone who knows what to do when everything goes wrong
The world is all about data these days, data always seems to be the most important thing, and the amount of data is always growing. What would your company do if it lost its list of pending orders, or if the customer list fell into the wrong hands, or if the database goes corrupt and there are no good backups to revert to.
Or any number of other things. DBA skills are as important now as ever.