What Should I look for in an Oracle DBA?

How to Spot a good DBA

Throughout my time as an Oracle DBA I have seen many DBAs, through working alongside them to interviewing them. I’m not going to list the qualities of a good Oracle DBA in this article, as I have already done so in a previous one called “What qualities make a good Oracle DBA”. Instead, I would like to discuss some points around how to spot if you are dealing with a good DBA…

Before I start, you might want to know why you would want to do this? Well, I would suggest that if you are interviewing for Oracle DBAs, you should have an idea about to decide if the candidate is going to be good value for money. I say good value for money, as there are many different levels of DBA, and differing types, so just because someone isn’t the best, it doesn’t mean that they can’t learn and become a good DBA; we all had to start somewhere…

The Agile Minded Oracle DBA

So, what do I think one of, if not the, most important characteristic a person should have to make a good Oracle DBA….Sharpness! You could also say quick, responsive, alert and has an agile mind.

By this I mean responsive to questions, alert and attentive. You don’t even have to ask technical questions to gauge this. In fact, it’s probably better not to ask them questions to which they may not know the answer because in this case you will be able to better judge as to how on-the-ball they are. Just having a chat with the person can tell you a lot about them; what they say and how they say it. You’ll quickly get an idea about how sharp they are.

I believe that this characteristic, coupled with a willingness to learn and motivation to work hard, will ensure that you have a good DBA on your hands. If you have more experienced Oracle DBAs working alongside this person and mentoring them, they will be able to pick up skills quickly.

Oracle DBA Qualifications

I would also like to point out at this stage that qualifications do not make a good Oracle DBA…Not alone, anyway. Oracle qualifications backed up with good, relevant Oracle DBA experience do make for a good Oracle DBA, however.

During your interview process you should try to understand what kind of background they come from in their previous job. This is important because there are very different kinds of environments which produce very different qualities of Oracle DBAs….I would suggest that someone who has worked in a company that is constantly changing, pushing forward with new technologies and strives to deliver better availability and functionality to their customers is going to be far more experienced and knowledgeable than an Oracle DBA who has spent his time working for a company that never changes; the DBs remain static, no new functionality is added or developed, and therefore there are no issues or problems which need to be tackled. You see, someone who is constantly having to resolve issues will learn a huge amount about the Oracle database technology. In order to resolve the problem, you must first understand how the technology works, dissecting each working part and identifying the problem area.

So, good luck with your Oracle DBA search and if you are and Oracle DBA reading this, remember that you can find great Oracle DBA jobs out there so start looking and developing that career!

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