Chapter 24 – What does it mean to be a good DBA?

The third part of the book SQL Server MVP Deep Dives focuses on Database Administration.  The first chapter in this part is written by Brad McGehee (Blog | Twitter) and is preceded by an introduction to this section by the editors Paul Randal (Blog | Twitter) and Kimberly Tripp (Blog | Twitter).  Let me just say that if I were asked to write a chapter in a book and was told that the editors would be Paul and Kimberly, I would …. huh, not sure what I would do, but the point is that it would be an incredible honor and at the same time an incredibly brutal endeavor.  Of course, the brutality of it all would be self-inflicted but even so, it’s still brutality, no?  At any rate, for the authors that submitted chapters on this section, kudos.  Big kudos.

What does it mean to be a good DBA?  Based on the chapter, I was ready to begin scribbling notes to myself on how to become a better “DBA”.  This chapter surprised me, in a good way, by answering that question inside of typical DBA tasks.  Brad defines 36 tasks that DBA’s of varying title find themselves responsible for. 

Years ago when I was a full-time employee, I often struggled with how to communicate what it is that I did to others in my group, my boss and the always important yearly review process.  I believe the information laid out in these pages can help you articulate and define your role and responsibilities in your organization.  Heck, it’s written so well that I’m likely going to photo copy it, highlight the relevant sections, hand it to my mom and say, here, this is what I do.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to interview many candidates for varying levels of DBA positions and one of the more frustrating parts of the interview process is when candidates are narrow-minded about what it means to be a “DBA”.  This chapter makes it very clear that a DBA role consists of many different skills and responsibilities that many of us may not have considered a “DBA” task before.  This is an important consideration when you look at your role as the DBA in your company.  It’s an important consideration if you are a developer, manager or someone who wants to become a DBA.  Only by truly understanding what the role *can* consist of can you, or anyone define what the role will consist of in your position.

Another portion of the chapter speaks about “DBA Specialties”.  This part of the chapter is useful if you are looking to dive deeper into a specific area of SQL Server.  It also helps define what you might want your next job title to be.

All in all, another great chapter.


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