Database administrators need to handle all facets of managing Microsoft SQL Server ranging from installation and patching to creating databases to managing permissions that allow users to use the databases. However, more than anything, they are responsible for protecting the data and maintaining performance levels. They often act as internal advisors on how to use SQL Server effectively. It is a critical role because if a database is offline or when losing data, the business and its customers immediately feel the impact.
The tricky part about becoming a database administrator is getting the ﬁrst job. No hiring manager wants to give a user with no track record the keys to the most valuable thing the company owns: the data. A single mistake by a database administrator can cause an outage or loss of data that can result in loss of revenue and even the failure of the company. Of course, any database administrator may and probably will make mistakes. However, the challenge for the hiring manager is that the ﬁrst time database administrator often makes mistakes because they did not understand the full impact of their actions. Many companies only have a single database administrator and cannot take the risk of hiring a junior database administrator because there is no one on staff with the time or skills to coach them.
Very few database administrators start out as database administrators. Many start out as developers and as they work with the database and almost all applications need at least one database. They ﬁnd that they migrate to the management side of things. Many start out as network or systems administrators who start working with the database by doing installs and patches, learning the basics and then gradually adding skills. Others begin as report writers or doing extract, transform, and load work. Regardless of their starting point, they show an affinity for data and databases as it comes naturally to them.
The completely free 11-page whitepaper “How to Become a SQL Server Database Administrator” provides insight into what the job looks like when using SQL Server and shows at a high level the skills needed to get that ﬁrst job in the ﬁeld. It gives suggestions for how to acquire those skills and ﬁnd the ﬁrst database administrator job working with SQL Server.
The author, Andy Warren, is a SQL Server consultant and trainer based in Orlando, Florida. He has over 14 years of experience. Focusing on administration, security, and SQL Server patterns and practices, he is a Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for SQL Server since 2008. He served on the Board of Directors of PASS, was a founding principal in SQL Server Central, and created the SQL Saturday and SQL Rally event models.
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