Did you know that the first Friday in July is DBA appreciation day? According to DBAday.org July 2nd of 2021 is the 4th annual DBA appreciation day. Upon reviewing the DBA Day website, I was wondering what the key qualities are that distinguish a database administrator as a super DBA. I decided to ask Sachindra Kumar, VP of Database Engineering at Actifio, and posed the question, “what are the top 10 qualities of an enterprise DBA?” Sachindra provided me with some exceptional insights that would make HR proud.
Here are 10 qualities that make an exceptional DBA:
1. Passionate about their database specialty – The ability to make their database a solid investment and always be learning about new features and updates is a must. The outstanding DBA is a techie, enjoys working with their technology and is forever learning about it and embraces changes that come with it.
2. Decisive – The outstanding DBA is a good decision maker and confident in their decisions. It’s easy for a DBA to become bogged down in details, but it’s important to always consider the bigger picture of all tasks undertaken and be able to take control of a situation. While keeping the big picture in mind, DBAs should be able to quickly weigh up the pros and cons of a situation to make sound decisions.
3. Flexible and able to manage time properly – The exceptional DBA realizes that he or she can only offer a finite amount of work in a given amount of time. To maximize the work/time ratio, the exceptional DBA carefully manages time, focusing on what is important and ignoring what is unimportant. Prioritization is key. They also look for every possible way to extend their capacity to work, by making full use of productivity tools.
4. Be the go to person – Have a problem with databases? The outstanding DBA is “the” go-to-person within their organization. They should make time and always be available to others to provide guidance, support and assistance. An outstanding DBA has an in-depth knowledge and understanding of databases but is humble enough to teach and provide proper guidance to team members.
5. Detail oriented – A DBA is regularly expected to perform complex administrative tasks incorporating multiple steps. Working with mission critical production systems means you need to expect the unexpected; check, double check and triple check implementations. The outstanding DBA knows through experience what to watch out for when administering a database environment
6. Tactful – The production DBA can often be viewed as a path of resistance to a development team and must walk the fine line of ensuring security & availability, whilst at the same time not hampering delivery. Properly handling communications and interaction among matrixed teams is crucial for fluid workstreams.
7. Accountable – accept the responsibility of occurrences and have the courage to accept the responsibility and repercussions of their actions and decisions. While taking responsibility for their actions, the exceptional DBA will also offer solutions to prevent the problem from happening again
8. Trustworthy and dependable – Exceptional DBA not only do the tasks they agreed to do, and are expected of them, but they do them well, and complete them on time
9. Excellent communication skills – Being a DBA means you need to be able to communicate your views with confidence, clarity, and calmly as most of the time we are in high pressure circumstances.
10. Be able to work independently or on a team – A DBA often has the opportunity to work by themselves and as part of a larger team. They must be able to do both very well. Leading teams or just being part of them, DBAs have a lot to offer because they have insights into how parts of the business run that no other employee may be privy to. Working independently requires all the skills from 1-9 with a exaggeration on autonomy and execution.
In the IT world, database administrators manage the most critical datasets. They keep companies up and running and when things break, everyone feels it. In many cases, their work is the linchpin to revenue and continuous operations. So send your DBA a huge “thank you” note, add DBA Appreciation Day to your calendar and don’t wait to deliver that special DBAs in your life only the most decadent of cupcakes and whoopie pies.
Thank you to Sachindra for his insights, expertise and contribution to this article.
About Sachindra Kumar
Sachindra is an executive database technology leader with over 20 years’ experience in delivering leading-edge database technology solutions for large companies as well as successful startups. Excellent knowledge of database architecture for Oracle, SAP HANA, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, MYSQL and is the inventor, co-inventor of multiple technical patents in database solution integration domains.
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