In order to be confident in databases as a entry level job candidate, I completed the OCA certification. Now I want to know what career paths follow this. Can one go into data-mining, BI, or R&D via this certification?

And I heard DBA is quite boring and risky for experimental people.

closed as off topic by Jack Douglas, RolandoMySQLDBA, Leigh Riffel, Derek Downey, DrColossos Jul 29 '11 at 17:52

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I imagine you can go anywhere you want to go. But real-world experience counts too -- not just what's on the exam, so don't expect a high-level position from the start. You'll probably have to start as low man on the totem pole, so-to-speak.

Having been a DBA, I can tell you several things:

  • It's freakin' hard work
  • When things are going well, life is good. When things are going bad, life is hell.
  • Unless you happen on a place where you're a pure DBA, chances are good you'll have programming opportunities. Relish them -- this is where you can express your creativity.
  • When things go really bad, experimentation is sometimes the only way out. (Not reckless abandon, mind you, but oft-times it becomes a matter of trying one solution, finding it doesn't do the trick, and then trying something else.)
  • There are boring parts: upgrades, backups, maintenance. But sometimes that's a good thing, because otherwise you'll be so busy that your brain can't wait for the boring times.

Hope it helps and good luck with your career.


Boring...whoever told you that did not love being a DBA :)

Now I am a SQL Server DBA but the market I am in down in Alabama is full of Oracle jobs. It is difficult to get in with no experience. The job openings I am seeing are not folks leaving junior or beginner DBA positions, they are senior level. So you will find job postings that require 5 or 10 years experience. I saw one the other day that wanted 20+ years experience.

Getting into SQL Server positions, I'm not sure if Oracle would be the same, is usually done from within the company. You will see system administrators that do minor support for SQL Server and then decide to get more involved with it, then eventually become the DBA for the company. That is how I got into. I did system admin work for about 7 years and then wanted to be a DBA. Since I had supported SQL Server for about 5 of those years I had enough experience to back it up, along with a few certs I had earned.

The best thing I can tell you is to start volunteering for DBA work, either within your company or around your business community.

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