Thursday, March 20, 2008

Will the Real Idiot Stand-up.

As you know our other DBA just left and he just started his new job. I was IMing him today and asked him how it was going. He said, the last DBA was an idiot. It's funny, cause I can't count the number of times I've said that. I don't thing I've ever started a job where the guy before me knew what he was doing.

The question is though, am I really all that good or do I just have an inflated ego? I'd probably have to say it's a bit of both really. I've seen a lot of DBAs who just don't know the simplest things about SQL. I've talked about this several times in both my blogs so I'm not going to harp on it too much right now, but it holds more true every year I'm in this industry.

There's a difference between just doing things differently than the other guy, and his systems actually being neglected. Not performing backups or index maint. is bad DBAing. It's not just a different way of doing things. I remember talking to a guy who was a very high DBA at a company we all know last year. I was at PASS come to think of it. And he sat there proudly and told me that they NEVER change their sa passwords on any of their systems. I would love to tell you his reasoning, but I just couldn't get into something like that. But to be proud that you never change your sa password is just assinine. You know what they say dude, if you look around the room and you can't find the asshole, it's you. The same goes with idiots.

It's hard to measure skill though. Everyone has such different experiences. Things I've come to know well may be completely foreign to a different DBA who's far better than I at something else. So does it make him an idiot because he doesn't know what I know? Yeah, sometimes. The basics should be covered. Every DBA should know what it is to backup a system and do maint. and basic security. And so often it's these basics that aren't covered.

So now it comes down to simplicity. What makes a really good DBA? I've had several talks with guys all over IT about this same topic, and in almost every session, we've pretty much concluded that you only have to try a little bit to be better than the average guy. The average guy does very very little to further his knowledge or to get really good at his job. Most people just skate by. So if you try just a little bit you can rise above the crowd. That's what I think anyway.


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Sean McCown
I am a Contributing Editor for InfoWorld Magazine, and a frequent contributor to as well as I live with my wife and 3 kids, and have practiced and taught Kenpo for 22yrs now.
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