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Re: DBA tasks by experience

From: Dennis Williams <>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 10:37:34 -0500
Message-ID: <>


Thank you for your very good suggestions. Yes, personal contact is best, but when that person is in a remote land and has a language barrier, that inhibits personal contact. Just trying to make the best of a problematic situation.

Peter, thank you for your excellent suggestions.


On 9/25/07, Peter Barnett <> wrote:
> We have trained a number of DBAs with varying degrees
> of success. A couple of thoughts based on this
> experience.
> a. Make sure that the trainee really knows what s/he
> is getting into. Many people are not prepared for the
> fact that weekends, nights and holidays are prime time
> for DBAs. On call or being perpetually lashed to your
> cell phone are just part of the job. To most on this
> list this is just the job. To a trainee it can come
> as a real shock. Three trainees did not survive this
> shock.
> b. Degrees and certifications do not equal a
> successful trainee. Scratch two more with Master's
> degrees who found the day-to-day stress of production
> support and the demands of developers to be too much.
> c. Do not end the training/mentor program too soon.
> Most will be able to pick up the routine work in
> fairly short order. Usually, they are on call within
> six months of starting their training. Make sure that
> they have someone specifically assigned to back them
> up when they are on call. Also, when that first
> production recovery call comes to them, have a plan to
> make them successful - even if it is two years after
> they are 'trained'.
> d. Notes without context do no one any good - make
> sure that they take good notes and then make sure that
> they read and use the notes that they have taken.
> When you tell someone for the third time exactly the
> same thing and they diligently write it down you know
> that they are not using the notes that they have taken
> or do not understand either the question, the answer,
> or both. Start asking them questions.
> e. Patience, patience, patience....
> It took me five years to become a decent DBA, ten
> years to become really good. Doubtless, there are
> many people on this list smarter than me but expecting
> a trainee to be fully ready for everything in less
> time is probably not realistic.
> --- Stephane Faroult <> wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I fully subscribe to this. There are tons of things
> you do when you know well a topic that are not laid
> out very explicitly in docs, you don't waste your time
> on many details, and a beginner who watches an old
> hand operating learns must faster than by reading docs
> or trying things alone; especially when he asks
> questions and forces the old hand to explain things
> done more or less intuitively in the light of
> experience; even the tutor benefits from this type of
> question. When I started on Oracle (technical support,
> good grief) I was lucky enough to share the office of
> someone who was 15 years my senior, had a lot of
> experience on databases (not necessarily relational
> ones because that was long ago) and explained to me a
> lot of things that any amount of RTFMing wouldn'd have
> taught me as fast, even if the volume of Oracle docs
> was far, far less daunting then than it is now. After
> all, whenever you go to a course and are happy with an
> instructor, it's usually because his or her teaching
> style is more like tutoring than lecturing - it's
> always the voice of experience that appeals.
> I have bought some time ago "Teach what you know"
> by Steve Trautman, there are very interesting things
> in it about organizing tutoring; no magical recipe,
> but very good guidelines. There is a chapter in it
> about learning styles which is probably the one I
> liked best (free ad :-)).
> Stephane Faroult
> On Tue Sep 25 3:56 , "Rumpi Gravenstein" sent:
> In all things training the time tested apprentice
> method should not be overlooked or under-appreciated.
> I've found that what works best is beginner working
> with expert, (think watered down extreme programming
> --
> with both working together on the same projects and
> tasks -- expert guiding the work, parceling out
> sub-tasks, and reviewing everything that is done. As
> the novice comes up to speed there's less and less
> supervision. While this is an intensive approach,
> when done faithfully you should come close to cloning
> the best around while avoiding those bad habits that
> can develop with guesses that seem to work but don't
> account for all that is possible.
> To recap, don't put beginners in an environment by
> themselves, where they can, mind you this is the best
> of circumstances -- relearn all the hard lessons by
> themselves. Better, pair them up with your best
> preferably someone with a gentle hand, and watch what
> develops.
> On 9/24/07, GovindanK <> wrote:
> How about putting beginners to Development db's to
> start with and then move on to QC / UAT etc? That
> would give you some breathing time to arrive at the
> criticality.
> Govindan
> --
> Rumpi Gravenstein
> --
> Pete Barnett
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
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Received on Tue Sep 25 2007 - 10:37:34 CDT

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