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Re: Case study for interviewing Oracle DBA

From: Niall Litchfield <>
Date: Thu, 3 Mar 2005 08:50:19 +0000
Message-ID: <>

Hi Joel

come here for a bit more sanity than cdos?

On Wed, 2 Mar 2005 15:55:21 -0800, Joel Garry <> wrote:
> Niall Litchfield wrote:

> >In fact I'd argue that if you really, really just want skills then you
> >aren't after an employee but a contractor or consultant for a short
> >period of time.
> Far too many companies have figured that out, to the detriment of many.
> Overuse of that sort leads to loss of institutional knowledge. Also
> called "bad strategic planning." And I've personally observered that
> you often wind up with large values of "short period of time." :-)

I tend to agree, especially with the last observation though there are often mad budgetary reasons for that. In general though I'd say that you get those sorts of decisions when people *say* that they want skillset X for a while, but really they want employee Y with that skillset who will contribute to the success of the business.


> >Understanding when to rebuild indexes is really rather uninteresting.
> #$%#!@#%! Isn't that a recipe for institutionalized myth-making? Or at
> least, "badly distributed resource usage." ("Sorry honey, I have to
> spend Saturday rebuilding indexes, 'cause [some useless tool] told me
> to.") When Ault published his old "what to look for in a DBA," I didn't
> agree with some of what he said, but his characterization of a good DBA
> as being intellectually curious was not merely verisimilitude.

I probably didn't make myself clear, I think what I was trying to say was that specific technical issues are rather uninteresting *to the business*, not that we should not be curious, rigorous and (mostly) correct technically, but that our value derives only partly from our technical bent, but mostly from what are probably called soft skills or innate knowledge or some other buzzword, from the ability to use the knowledge that we do have specifically to achieve the aims of the enterprise. A CEO doesn't hire an accountant for their ability to choose the appropriate depreciation formula for each class of asset, but for their ability to manage the finances and make the place more profitable, less costly in the non-profit sector. It is, or should be, the same in IT.

Anyway if I gave the impression that one shouldn't be curious about how Oracle works then I misrepresented my views. I personally want to understand how Oracle, how the OS and how the app work. (Networks are just electric string though so I keep failing to get interested in them).  

Niall Litchfield
Oracle DBA
Received on Thu Mar 03 2005 - 03:54:11 CST

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