Growing your DBA Job Skills

I prefer to fish for musky.  They are huge fish that put up a great fight, and holding one up for a picture is one of the most rewarding things.  They also take forever to catch.  Sometimes its fun to target a fish that are a bit easier to catch.  Walleye are a bit easier, but can be very finicky and often require great finesse.  I like to turn to smallmouth bass if I’m looking for some fun action.  Smallmouth put up a great fight.  They can jump, they dive deep, and they are very powerful for their size.  Earlier this summer my son got this great one during a fishing trip that we took up north.

Nate SM

Technology changes fast. That statement is obvious to us all, yet its implications are sometimes hard or uncomfortable to consider. If you work in IT, you can’t afford to be complacent. If you are, advances in technology will leave you in the dust and your job skills will no longer be marketable. There are many ways to stay current with technology, including college courses, blog posts, online tutorials, and on-the-job work. Regardless of how you choose to stay current in your field, you need to do something.
I have decided to move on from my current employer. I am doing this for a variety of reasons, but one is to round out my job skills. My current employer has a small environment. I manage one Production SQL Server along with its warm standby SQL Server, and one Development SQL Server. I also manage a small Production Oracle database and its corresponding Development database. I also work pretty heavily in Business Intelligence, writing reports in SSRS, Power BI, and PowerPivot. I also spend a portion of my time doing non-DBA type work. The thing I dislike most about my work at my current employer is the third party application support. My current IT team is myself (the DBA), one developer, one desktop support technician, and one IT manager.
My new employer is much different. I will be working on a team with three other SQL Server DBAs. We will be managing thousands of SQL Servers. I will need to work closely with members of other teams who support Servers, Operating Systems, and Storage Devices. It is going to be a huge change for me. I will probably not be doing the same variety of work that I am now. But I do expect the work to challenge me to improve as an employee and as a DBA, and I excited for that challenge. I will most likely be working harder and longer hours than in my current role. My skills with SQL Server will grow much deeper, even as my overall exposure may get narrower. I’m ok with this trade-off, as long as I continue to grow.

So find ways to learn new things and grow.  If nothing else, spend 15 to 30 minutes each week checking out some DBA websites, such as Brent Ozar, SQLServerCentral, or SQLPerformance.  It will make your job easier and make you more valuable to your employer.