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RE: Career Advice

From: Saira Somani-Mendelin <>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 12:19:35 -0800
Message-ID: <>

That is an excellent guideline.

I find myself as somewhere in the middle of those two spectrums, a little more towards the second one.

My personal belief is that languages can be learnt - like Java or any other code - if you possess the skills. I can read and understand 4GL code without ever being exposed to it. I think learning the fundamentals, the inner workings, the internals is key to success. I'm being led towards a generalist type of role/career path and I'm starting to wonder if it's the right one. I live in Toronto, so maybe the employment market is different here from other metropolitan areas, but I'm finding a huge demand for applications specialists. But like anything in IT, I'm sure it will subside in a couple of years, by the time I'm up to speed :)

If there is anything I have learnt from working with this particular software package from Tecsys, is not to trust their documentation or their advice even (as you point out). They ported their application from Informix to Oracle, so we are experiencing the pains they never had to in their pre-release days. But luckily, I am somewhat in control of how the applications are implemented and enhanced.

I like the fact that I can adapt to the new without much effort. I think that's valuable - but try telling that to a recruiter or an HR person.

You've given me great perspective on what is important.


-----Original Message-----
Odland, Brad
Sent: December 17, 2003 2:54 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list ORACLE-L

There is no set formula now. But learning a fair amount of SQL, Oracle Database and Unix Administration can do you no wrong.

IN my experience the companies or people that hire you because of "big names" on your resume are NOT the ones you want to work for.

IT administration work has become more specialized of late. In particular
DBA work has become more "low level" or hardware close at least from my perspective. As you become more familiar with the application running on the
database you begin to drift more and more towards the business end user. The
result if your technical understanding shifts from data reliability and security to how the data is used and perceived by the users.

Your choice as a young IT professional if to determine where your particular
natural talents are best utilized.

Ask yourself these two questions and be honest with yourself:

  1. Are you a people person with compassion and empathy for people's problems and do you have the ability to visualize data in format that business users can comprehend?
  2. Are you a good technical troubleshooter with the ability track down solutions wherever they reside in the network, OS, database, middleware or client

If you answered yes to the first and you find yourself helping user understand the data better then continuing in the business analyst support
role would be the direction for you.

If you find yourself as the support person for the analysts and work at the
OS level with the system admins then the DBA route is problem better suited
to you.

As you choose where you are headed remember to celebrate the SKILLS and TALENTS you have on your resume. Skills you have like people skills, communication and troubleshooting rather than highlight anyone package or
technology. Talents are ease of learning or a programming language like PL/SQL, SQL, perl or korn shell. The tools are all similar how you were able
to learn to use them is better. Many times in down economies a new employee
is brought into IT because the different perspective is desired.

The successful IT professional has to have the ability to drift with the tide of technology and adapt to change rapidly and to help lead the way through unknown territory with confidence.

You can't trust the vendors and you can't trust the documentation all the
time but you can trust your own abilities to sift through the chaff to find
direction. Looking at the IT world as a whole is the best place to start.
Seeing the strata from the network to OS through the database, middleware,
workstation and finally enduser is the view that will help you succeed. Knowing where you are and how to overlap the boundaries is the best way navigate an IT career.

What we do is not rocket science but you can't do rocket science without us.

Good luck in your future.

Brad O.


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Author: Saira Somani-Mendelin

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