Whats is the main characteristics/skills of a DBA? [part 1]

More than a half decade acting as DBA, I still frequently asking myself about what means being a DBA? What is needed for? Or, more precisely: How to achieve the excellence in my job?

Well, I spent the last nights thinking and searching for this subject in the web. You might suppose I found a few answers, right? Yes, of course I found. So, let’s understand and analyze it.

In the first place, let me share with you some pre-steps/conditions: Looking for don’t be 100% reactive and use, at least a little bit of, my gray matter, I decided the structure my own “list” before the search. Then, just in the moment to write, I realized that it’s not so easy to merge Personal Characteristics and Technical Skills. This way, I decided to slipt this analysis in these two topics. As a consequence, in two posts. 🙂

By the way, after this “research” and the results below, but before this post, I quickly read the ebook “How to Become an Exceptional DBA” (2nd edition), by Brad McGehee. I really recommend it. I liked and I suppose you will too.

Another thing to say is that the lists could be infinite. So, I decided to keep my lists just in the “Top 8”. Here it goes what a listed before the search:

DBA’s most important characteristics:
(by Matheus)

1) Passionate
The DBA must to love his job. Have “light in their eyes”, something like excitement about the future. This is the best way to keep motivated, enthusiastic himself.

2) Committed
To have confidence in DBA promises and deadlines is a key factor. The DBA must understand the importance of his job for the health of the IT systems and the business, assume his responsibilities be reliable about everything and everyone. Trustworthy question.

3) Willfull
Something like “be always available to get up at 3:00 AM to help someone with a problem that is not directly your business”. Also counts keep available to help anyone with “just a little SQL doubt”, “just a little query”, “just a little grant” or “just a little project”… You know, embrace any kind of problem and goes right to the solution without any credits/glory behind it. Anyway, it’s just your job. Attitude and proactivity are a keywords too.

4) Innovator
Embraces the change and the challenges. The main difference between the creativity and innovation is that the second really make it happen. The DBA has to read, study, create but, the most important, implement new ideas, processes, tools. If it doesn’t work, it just try again and again. This is the evolution path. And the DBA has to pavement it.

5) Bookish / Like to Study
The DBA will be always a reference in the team. So, is his job to keep “fresh”, reading and having assertiveness answers for the developers, the business stakeholders, the or just the curiousness of anyone. It’s part of the “get confidence” process.

6) Ethics
Is not needed to say that DBA is always working with high critical data and buniness sensitive information. So, is not needed to spend more words to explain how is important this “characteristic”.

7) Communicative
DBA usually spend more time explaining, planning and justifying his actions that more properly doing the actions. Is a huge difference between a DBA and a Developer, in my point of view: The DBA spends hours thinking about a problem and understanding what is really happen, for correct with one or two lines of commands, on the other hand the Developer usually spends seconds or minutes to understand the problems and hours coding and testing the solution. Is not rare that the “most senior” DBA keeps in touch with “high hierarchies” to pass status report of crisis and “upswinged” problems. Make reports is another usual task. So, express verbally and write well is a potential difference between excellent and just “OK” DBAs, in my point of view.

8) Talented
No way out, the DBA must be talented to play well. Be a natural problem solver, detail oriented, realistic, patient, organized, assertive or good decision maker, keep calm under pressure, business minded, etc. Usually DBA is a experienced professional, so to have good mentoring skills and usually be ‘natural leaders’ are some decisive factors to. In summary, the DBA was ‘born to be wild’. Don’t you think like that?

Let’s finally see what a found. Below all the authors, you will have the link where I read the topics.
I choose 5 international recognized personas and 2 brazilian bloggers, because I believe the key of success is to join experienced and recognized but have to look intern and valorize our goods. Also because I believe that, being Brazilian, they probably talk something specific or cultureless useful to me and other Brazilian readers… 🙂

# Bourleson
– Excellent comunication skills
– Formal education
– Real-world experience
– Knowledge of database theory

# Brad McGehee
– Enjoys Technology
– Enjoys Challenges
– Good with Details
– Embraces Change
– Enjoys Learning
– Accepts Responsibility
– Maintains Professionalism
– Trustworthy
– Dependable
– Can Work as Part of a Team
– Can Communicate Effectively
– Listens Well
– Realistic
– Patient
– Enthusiastic

# Greg Larsen
– Problem Solving Skills
– Mentoring Skills
– Automating Everything
– Looking for Process Improvement Efforts
– Following a Standard Methodology
– Attitude
– Community Oriented
– Ethical
– Prioritizing Work Correctly
– Leadership skills
– Communication Skills
– Customer Service

# John Sansom
– Excellent Attention to Detail
– A Natural Problem Solver
– Assertive
– Tactful
– Manage Relationships
– A Good Decision Maker
– Humble
– Calm Under Pressure
– Business Minded
– Approachable

# Alan Hughes
– Organization Skills
– Technical Skills
– Interpersonal Skills
– Reading/Writing Skills

# Fernando Gazioli (BR)
– Confiança (Confidence)
– Pró-atividade (Proactivity)
– Bom Relacionamento (Good Relationship)
– Organização (Organizing skills)
– Curiosidade (Curiousity)

# Tiago Gouvêa (BR)
– Raciocínio Lógico (Logic)
– Autodidata (self-taught)
– Solucionador de Problemas (Problem Solver)
– Inglês (English)
– Gosta de Aprender (Enjoys Learning)

The final rating (top 8), grouping by similarity is something like:

Confident/Ethics/Professional/Responsible: 5 votes
Communicative/Good Relationship: 5 votes
Logic/Natural Leader/Mentoring/Assertiveness/Decision Maker/ Calm (in summary: Talented): 5 votes
“Problem Solver”: 4 votes
Curious/ Enjoys Learning/Self-taught: 4 votes
Embraces changes/challenges/process improvements: 4 votes
Enthusiastic/Proactive/Attitude: 4 votes
Detail-oriented: 3 votes

Do you liked this post?
I suppose you can like the Eduardo Morelli speech (05/21/2015!) too: http://webinar.infnet.edu.br/8-competencias-dba-oracle/

Take a look.


  1. Pingback: Whats is the main characteristics/skills of a DBA? [part Osborne] – |GREP ORA

  2. Pingback: Whats is the main characteristics/skills of a DBA? [part 2] | Matheus Boesing DBA

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