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(memes) not making much headway with critiquing "elitist" dba

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2002 09:13:45 -0800
Message-ID: <>


I got into computers after being in the fertilizer industry, a segue which has many times seemed quite apt.

A year or two ago, I noticed that Oracle Education had a training/certification track for something they called "Database Operator" (DBO) that was quite similar to what you are talking about. The trainee was to know how to conduct routine, basic tasks under the supervision of a senior dba (on "big" databases), or would be a SA running a 3rd party type application that ran on top of Oracle where the 3rd party app people would provide dba technical consulting/support, or a SA that was running a small/non-critical database, etc.

(the web site doesn't seem to be working right now, so I can't confirm if they still have a "DBO" track.)

Re: critiquing of the cultish/elitist mentality that predominates in DBA circles? ha haaa haaaaaa.

The thing is to make crucial distinction between:

"good elitism":


"bad elitism":

Presumably the worst case scenario is having a person that exhibits "bad elitism" with little or no sign of any of the attributes of "good elitism".

I support your efforts at articulating a more "populist" scenario for defining technical job positions.

You of course realize that any sort of populist argument, libertarian or otherwise, will get caught in the hellish middle of a cultural landscape that is mainly defeined by snobby *ssholes in either the "politically correct" (liberal) or "country club" (conservative) camps.

Besides retreating to a libertarian position (which I think is an honorable approach, if somewhat stasist), there is also another alternative: embrace a holistic, integrative (transcendant/universal) paradigm that recognises the evolutionary limits (and evils) of both "classic" liberalism and conservatism.

Explanation of color schemes used in "Spiral Dynamics" type Memetic theory:


On 22 Jul 2002 at 9:23, Robert Monical wrote:


> It seems that the implicit expectation is that every DBA should be or
> should aspire to be a Master Technical DBA.
> I have a slightly different take on the situation. It is a little
> convoluted but I believe that the DBA world needs some additional job
> classifications. In a decent sized organization, the day to day management
> functions should be accomplished by an Admin DBA who might be someone who
> was perfectly happy spending his/her working career operating a precision
> milling machine at Boeing. Since the machinist jobs are going away, I see
> no reason why a competent machinist could not become a competent admin DBA.
> Such a person is not suited by aptitude or disposition to become a Master
> Technical DBA, but would do a great job at the admin level.
> I'll extend the analogy a little more: the manufacturing organization does
> not expect the machinist to program the machine. They either have on staff
> or bring in a numerical control programming specialist. Similarly, the
> Admin DBA should know which tasks he/she can perform and which tasks should
> be kicked up or out to the next level.
> So maybe some of the energy spent on this list about relevance of the OCP
> and discussing qualifications of DBAs (against an unspecified standard)
> could be spent defining organizational strategies for getting the best use
> out of human capital represented by "Admin DBAs" and pricing the skill set
> appropriately. The worst possible thing is to get an Admin DBA into a
> Technical DBA position.
> I think the key breakthrough is the notion that there is a DBA track that
> does not inevitably lead to Master Technical DBA. That is why I use the
> machinist analogy: somebody who is satisfied with a career spending 25
> years doing essentially the same thing. If you are into Myers-Briggs type
> indicator, I think the personality dimension is SJ and roughly 25% of the
> population fits this profile.
> I believe that if we think about these things in a way that we ask
> ourselves how can I maximize the potential of this person in our
> organization, pay him/her a fair wage for what they can do, and free up my
> time to address the really gnarly stuff we can help our entire society
> better transition to the information era and not marginalize a bunch of
> great people in the process. (Sez the man operating a three person
> software company).


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Author: Eric D. Pierce

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Received on Tue Jul 23 2002 - 12:13:45 CDT

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