Log in

No account? Create an account

February 2nd, 2013

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

Here’s a thought for today’s SQL Saturdays post.

At the start of the week, I worked a project to update a monster SSIS feed with new information. This required a few stored procedure changes and a table schema change. But before I got there, I had myself twisted in knots thinking my updates needed to be much more extensive. I’d worked myself up into a “I need a new table” over-engineering lather, then realized I wasn’t thinking straight. So I asked a teammate to look over my shoulder and help me figure out what I’d missed. The answer was ridiculously simple. Had I not asked for help, I’d likely still be fighting with the monster package and screwing up quite a few items in the process.

But I am not an island. I may spend the day staring at a computer, doing my work quietly most of the day, but I do not work alone or in absence of other DBAs. Ours is a 3-person DBA team (the manager, the coworker, and myself). It’s a small team with a heavy workload, but our strengths complement each other nicely.

The manager has as much (probably a year or two more) DBA experience than I have. He came from a bigger company with segregated database administration roles (the development DBAs could not touch production, the security DBAs could only manage security, etc.). He understands SQL Server’s role in “big business” and how to adapt new technologies to our business so we can grow both the business and our server environment. When my coworker and I have questions about these things, we can always turn to him.

The coworker is the “junior” DBA. He is still learning SQL Server, but has extensive experience with server and network administration. He’s the person the manager and I go to when something goes wrong that we can’t find, the one who can let us know if it’s server / network related. As the new DBA, he also has a penchant for finding little SQL Server gems (like certain hot key combinations or menu items) that I may have missed because I’m so used to using my tools the way I’ve used them since SQL Server 2000.

I am the “senior” DBA. It’s not my official title, but I’ve worked for this division of the company longer than the other two. I have an extensive knowledge of old applications, the “original” business rules, and all the “big events” that led to data and business rule changes. When the other two have questions about the old rules, projects that died (or got completed in unexpected ways), what obscure items may be affected by changing XYZ table, or just plain old “Do you remember” events, they come to me.

We balance each other nicely. We are not islands. We do not ignore each other through the day. When one has a question, the other two are there to answer it. When one of us is having problems with code, there are two other people willing to sit and look at it. When a project is too massive for one person to handle, we split up the task, working on segments and communicating with each other so everyone knows what’s going on.

No DBA should work alone. Support structures are critical to getting the job done, doing it right, and keeping things running. Some people work in a single-DBA office, where there is no local support. But support networks do not have to limit themselves to those within physical distance. That’s why places like SQLServerCentral.com and Microsoft Technet exist. That’s why DBAs form user groups. We all need support. We all need someone to look over our shoulders and tell us when we’ve misplaced a comma or over-engineered a schema.

It’s nice to have that support structure. It allows for flexibility, growth, and sanity. If you are a solo DBA, I urge you to find a community. PASS is a great place to start. Social media has plenty of little DBA support groups (like Twitter has #sqlhelp and #sqlserver). Don’t be an island. Be a DBA with a support structure. You can help them, they can help you, and the job will be so much easier to tolerate. You might even have fun.

Brandie's Stories

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (reprint ebook, Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

The Drunkard's Progress (Coming Soon, Musa Publishing)

Slipping Thru the Cracks, Latchkeys #7 (Sept 2012 Crazy 8 Press)

Legend of the Beemen (June 2012 Musa Publishing)

Feast of the Torn (upcoming Buzzy Magazine)

The Hunt for Liberty Jones (Space Tramps, Flying Pen Press)

The Tales We'll Tell Tomorrow (Shadowrun: Street Legends, Catalyst Game Labs)

Silk and Steam (The Ladies of Trade Town, HarpHaven Press)

Love Me Knot (A Lady Katya Story, Storyportals.com)

Another Day, Another Labor (A Career Guide to Your Job in Hell)

Locke-Down (Blue Kingdoms: Mages & Magic)

The Rose Garden (Shadowrun: Corporate Guide-Mitsuhama Fiction, Catalyst Game Labs)

The Monster of Mogahnee Bay (Blue Kingdoms: Shades & Specters)

Just My Luck (Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms)

Two for the Price of One (Transformers: Legends, iBooks Inc.)

Latest Month

June 2016
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow