maybe this is more of a wiki type question, but I'd like to learn more about the (no doubt many) paths taken to become a DBA. What path lead you to become a DBA?


4 Answers 4


The thing with being a "serious" DBA (and by that I mean, you are a person responsible for meeting a defined SLA on a system handling physical goods or other people's money) is that it is very difficult to get the job without already having had the job for 5 years - experience is everything in this game, a reputation as a safe pair of hands who isn't going to panic and make a bad situation worse, and has the maturity to weigh up commercial and technical considerations. That is what makes DBAs different from developers - that we need to make decisions in real time - and from sysadmins - that we are only one step removed from the cash that flows through the business, personal details of customers, stock levels in the warehouse, etc, so we are much more business-focussed.

The usual way in is that you are either a developer or a sysadmin with an interest in databases who gets involved with DBA work, fills in when other DBAs are unavailable, and gradually work your way sideways into the job. That is the best route, it is almost like an apprenticeship. I dare say it is the same if you want to be a "web" DBA it is similar but I have no personal experience of that.


I was a C Programmer who joined Sybase many years ago as an instructor for their Open Client/Open Server courses. I moved into teaching DBA and Performance and Tuning classes, eventually leaving teaching and becoming part of their Professional Services. I had exposure to engineering and help desk within the company, as well as doing interesting things with customers. You learn a lot of details, internals, emergency situations, etc. While Sybase isn't around much anymore, Microsoft SQL Server (and, in theory, most RDBMS) are similar.


In order to become a "good" DBA, the only thing that matters the most is Experience.

I think there is two points of view in order to become a DBA

  • You get it from scracth and starts as a developper (Any kind that needs to query database/do procedure and stuff...) so you'll see the user side of a database. You'll see what a common developer/user might need, what are the "commons" habbits, etc...

  • You start directly as a Junior DBA, incorporating DBA's team where they mix Juniors and Seniors, that would bring you a lot to work with seniors.

Something else, in order to be a good DBA one should have, linux skills also as network basics skills. So picking up ShellScript would be a great idea to. One will need it.

Hope I could help,


I started off doing web design in PHP and expanded into doing MySQL to enhance my websites. Began by doing basic login systems, and then expanded into Content Management System design from there.

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