When discussing "How did you become a DBA" with almost anyone, it was an accident. Nobody seems to go to school to become a DBA. Most DBAs that I know either were developers for a while and they took over the admin duties of the database server, or they were a system administrator and were tasked with taking charge of a database server. After reading many of the SQLPeople.net interviews, I don't recall an instance where someone decided to become a DBA on purpose.
What makes a successful DBA? Are there common traits or aptitude "markers" that are common among successful DBAs? If someone comes up to you and aks you how to become a DBA, that do you tell them? Are they "cut out" to be a DBA?
Well, I don't have the answer. But let's start the list and see where it goes.
Responsible - DBAs need to take responsibility for Backups and ensure that a restore of the database is possible. This can't really occur unless the person is responsible. Now here's the tricky part. How do you phrase a question to help someone determine if they are responsible enough? The question phrased like "Are you responsible?" is not a good question to help someone determine if they really are responsible. A better way would be to present a scenario of some sort and allow the person to either choose one of the answers or perhaps provide an open-ended response. Its tougher than you think because the scenario must be something relatively common to everyone and not SQL Server specific (the person isn't a DBA yet).
This is the first thing that came to mind in developing a scenario-based "responsible" type of question.....
Scenario: You just purchased a new phone that does just about everything. One of the many questions that you asked was "Can I receive phone calls while using the GPS?". The salesperson assures you that yes you can. How do you determine if he is telling the truth?
Option A - You believe him and go about enjoying your new phone.
Option B - On your drive home, you text someone to call you as you activate the GPS feature.
Option C - You drive home. Read the instructions. Test it out at home before depending upon being able to receive calls while using the GPS.
Option D - Free Form Answer....
Option C would strike me as the "responsible" answer, but a free form response may also be very revealing.
Why am I blogging about this here? In North Carolina, there is a "Lateral Entry" program for people who want to get into teaching for a second career and don't have the time/resources to return to school to get certified. This made me think about "How do we get more SQL Server DBAs?" because we will not get them from college I was thinking about formulating 5-10 questions that could be used to help a person who is interested in becoming a DBA know if they have the "right stuff". These questions would not necessarily be perfect, but it would at least be a tool. I'm looking for additional feedback/ideas/scenarios.
What is the "right stuff" that makes up a successful DBA?