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Re: Non Oracle knowledge to be a good Oracle DBA/expert

From: Stephen Booth <>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2007 18:12:59 +0100
Message-ID: <>

On 09/04/07, Orlando L <> wrote:
> Gurus,
> We all hear about Oracle books and manuals that we should read. What about
> non Oracle things we need to know to be a DBA? For eg couple of days ago
> David Litchfield posted a link to an Oracle paper on log buffer internals.
> The paper had lots of C code in it. Do I have to learn C to become a good
> DBA? What is the best place to start?

Specifically about C, knowing it will help but it's not essential. I would say that a good knowledge of at least one procedural programming lanaguage is very useful, enough that you can at least follow a piece of code and work out what it's doing.

As for learning C, get to a large bookshop and see what's on the shelf, dip into a few and buy one or two that look like you can work with. I would say that you should avoid any books that are tied to a particular implementation (e.g. Microsoft Visual C) and get a Liniux box with GCC (included in the install media/download for most distros) to learn on.

Personally I think the non-Oracle skills that are most important for a DBA are study/research skills, develop good study skills and you'll be ahead of the game. Over time the job changes (change of OS, new features, new technologies, areas of the product you've never worked with before &c) and the nature of the work is that whatever you know there is even more that you don't (even the Oak Table members don't know everything) and much of what you do know goes out of date. Once you're beyond the 'DataBase Baby Sitter' stage (i.e. just running scripts and performing tasks by rote undersupervision or following written instructions from someone you hope knew what they were doing) you have to spend a lot of time looking things up, devising test cases and testing. Knowing where and how to look, how to create a test case and how to test it (whether that be on a real server or as a paper exercise) can be vital.

So called 'soft skills' are becoming increasingly useful, being able to communicate your knowledge to others is as a vital as the knowledge itself. Simply being able to answer the phone professionally and ask the right questions can go a long way to solving a problem.


It's better to ask a silly question than to make a silly assumption.
Received on Mon Apr 09 2007 - 12:12:59 CDT

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