I am now a full-fledged operational DBA.
The transition is a nearly-inevitable one. First, most operational DBAs started as something else. Sometimes they started as server/network techs, and sometimes they started as software developers. In most cases, they started doing DBA type work because there was nobody else to do it.
Second, there is a shortage of good operational DBAs. You realize this when you hang the labels ‘DBA’, ‘SQL Server’, ‘DB2′ and ‘Oracle’ on your LinkedIn profile. Since I first put the DBA label up, I have gotten regular (even in slow periods, 1-2 month) inquiries about availability. I just got my first one after starting this job three weeks ago.
Anyway, as a full-fledged operational DBA, I get hit with things coming from the left and the right and right up the middle like a locomotive. Even here, where I’ve been on the job three weeks, I get people stacked up to talk to me on a bad morning.
One of the things developers have learned is that if you invoke the magical ‘production problem’, you will move up the queue.
I am currently working on rebuilding a test environment prior to some software being rolled out to production next week. They’re getting fairly frantic to have it running, but there have been a series of problems all revolving around the facts that 1. this hasn’t been done in over a year and 2. there isn’t anybody around who has done it before. Nor did they leave any instructions or scripts or what have you.
So I’m working on this and an annoying developer walks up. Do you have a minute? he asks. No, I say, I don’t. This is with regard to a production problem, he says. I still don’t have a minute right now, I say, give me two minutes to finish the email I’m writing and I’ll talk to you.
Two minutes later, I go get him.
We sit down at my machine, and I pull up the production system and run a query or two. All looks fine. About that time, another co-worker wanders in and gestures towards the door. You coming? he asks.
Yeah, the developer says, and gets up.
Wait a minute, I said, what’s your production problem?
Well, he says, there’s no actual problem, I just wanted to see this data in relation to the problem, to see if it is fixed. Can you send it to me? I have to go for lunch.
So that particular developer has burned his ‘production problem’ credit with me.