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Development DBA or Production DBA?

First off, let me clarify what DBA stands for! It can stand for DataBase Analyst, but I’m referring to it as a DataBase Administrator. The names are only slightly different, but the roles are very different.

There is a distinction between Oracle DBAs, and not only in terms of skill and experience. There are two main types; Development Oracle DBAs and Production Oracle DBAs. Here are a few key differences between the two:

Development Oracle DBAs

Generally speaking, Oracle Development DBAs are concerned with developing applications from a database perspective. Here are some of their tasks:

  • Know the source code very well, and the database structure
  • Look mainly after one or a set of applications
  • Involved in SQL tuning, and re-writing of code
  • Development of new functionality
  • Liaise with developers regularly in development issues

Production Oracle DBAs

On the whole, the Oracle Production DBA is all about maintaining a reliable, secure and performant database. Here are some common tasks:

  • Patching
  • Storage and capacity planning
  • Backup and recovery
  • Rollout of new releases
  • Performance tuning of instance as a whole
  • Troubleshooting expert

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the tasks that a DBA does. I have written an article “What does an Oracle DBA do?”, so you can read more about that there. I’m sure there will be people reading this who would say there are finer levels of distinction between Oracle DBAs, and they are probably right. Jobs vary greatly and two jobs working as an Oracle Development or Production DBA will never be the same.

It’s also essential to bear in mind that there will certainly be overlap in any job you go to; just because you don’t work on production doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to patch or backup and recover a database. These are just an idea of the main functions of the different types of roles and what you can expect to spend most of your time doing.

It is very commong for you to be both the Development and Production DBA. I would say that at much larger organisations where there are many Oracle DBAs you are more likely to get the distinction between Development and Production DBAs. In smaller companies, you are more likely to be working both as the Development and Production DBA.

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