brandietarvin (brandietarvin) wrote,

SQL Saturdays – The Fake DBA Job (tags #SQLServer #dbadmin #jobs #employment)

Originally published at Ramblings from the Flip Side (Site under construction). You can comment here or there.

In today’s economy, job hunting is difficult at best. Things are so bad that people unable to find employment after a year plus of searching have stopped looking. This behavior, in turn, skews the federal unemployment numbers. The employment situation gets even worse when we consider that employers don’t want to hire the unemployed. (Even 2 & 1/2 years later, if you want a job, you need to already have a job.) Finally, there’s the missing white collar syndrome. Job skills suffer when they are not practiced. So a blip on the resume doing a year in fast food (for instance), can completely torpedo one’s chances of getting back on the career track. I know of at least one SQL Server DBA who lost his job several years back, got into the service industry to pay the bills, and now can’t get back into DBA work. I’m betting it’s because of his lack of recent technology experience. SQL Server has changed several versions since he worked in the field.

Now I’m the first person to say “take what you can” to anyone who asks me for job advice. If that means working in fast food, do it. I would do it myself, have done it myself. Bills gotta be paid, after all. But I would also find a way to work for non-profits or volunteer with the IT department so I could at least put that on my resume to fill in the job gap. I am not a job diva (too good to be slinging hash, changing oil, or picking up trash), and I don’t indulge in “job hate.”

And then I saw a DBA job posting that torqued me off and contains all the hallmarks of a fake DBA job posting. Once upon a time I would have been desperate enough, and uneducated enough, to go for it. I’m hoping no one else is that desperate, but just in case let me warn you. This appears to be nothing more than job bait-n-switch. (If you have evidence to the contrary, please let me know and I will update this post.)

The company advertises through (probably a few other places also) and offers a Database Administration job “No Experience Required.” As if this weren’t enough to set off my mental alarms, the job posting itself did. Here, have a peek (emphasis mine):

Database Administrator (No Experience Required) (FDEJ2387Z)
Job Description is staffing for Part-Time and Full-Time Database Administrators. We are searching for hard-working employees willing to work in an office-related environment. This is a great opportunity for individuals to gain experience and begin a job in the data entry field. No experience is necessary to sign up for this position. Don’t wait! Sign up now!

Job Duties
•Assist with development
•Work closely with computer support
•Communicate problem and troubleshoot future problems
•Troubleshoot database issues

First, there is no database administration position that would ever have a job duties list that short or that generic. Database Administration is a very complex job that uses a variety of tools. No employer wants to waste time with a DBA who doesn’t know the technology (SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Access), so they would at least mention what tools they use. And if they really are training their DBAs, they would at least mention what systems and tools they are training on.

Second, no employer with brains would trust their system to a database administrator WITH NO EXPERIENCE. Don’t get me wrong, it would be great if someone were willing to train DBAs up from the ground floor instead of making us all have some experience first. But that’s not the way the industry works. I had to train myself (and get certified) before being eligible for DBA job consideration. Letting a DBA loose on a production system without training? That’s a recipe for instant corporate suicide.

Lastly, the words “office-related environment” and the company name offer a huge clue as to what is really going on here. I’ve never seen a DBA job describe their environment as “office-related.” Usually I find that in administrative or business office job descriptions. And if we separate out the words in the company name we get “Find Data Entry Jobs.” News flash to these folks. Data Entry is NOT Database Administration. I have been a data entry clerk. I know the difference between the two.

Now I will often receive notification of open Administrative Assistant positions on my saved Database Administration job queries. This is understandable because “administration” and “administrative” do cross over. But posting a data entry position and claiming it is a database administration position (the more likely scenario behind the generic job duties description) is foul play. In my opinion this is either a phishing-type scam (intended to gather contact information from potential marks) or (more likely) it is an employment bait-n-switch intended to catch the desperate who don’t understand what data entry is.

This is my warning. If you are seeking entry in the high-paying world of database administration and come across any job posting similar to the above, ignore it. Run, do not walk, in the opposite direction. Because quite likely they are trying to get cheap labor to sit at a keyboard and enter information while pretending you are getting job experience for the position you really wanted and will never get (at least not with data entry job experience).

Tags: brandie tarvin, communications, database administration, employment, fake dba job, sql server

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