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What Qualities make a good Oracle DBA?

I’m sure that there are lots of opinions about this, and there will be certain qualities which are more desirable depending on the specifics of the role in question. For example, someone who is client facing and interacts with a lot of people will need to have a higher level of communication skills than someone who never speaks to anyone outside of the Oracle DBA team.

It would be best if you could have someone with the highest level of skills in most areas, but then the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind. So, here are the qualities which I think are vital in order to undertake most Oracle DBA roles:

1. Attention to detail

Most mistakes happen from the smallest oversight in the details, usually not following instructions or a process to the letter. Pay close attention, and you will reduce the chances of looking careless to your colleagues and employer.

2.Organised

To have a systematic approach, bringing multiple jobs together into one and documenting them is absolutely essential to minimise mistakes and deliver projects to a high standard.

3.Methodical

Patching, upgrading and most Oracle DBA tasks require very precise steps which must be completed in order and in a systematic way. Skipping steps and skimming over the detail will lead to errors.

4.Planning

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail… I don’t think I need to say anymore on this point!

5. Cautious

A good Oracle DBA will never throw caution to the wind. Changes should be fully tested, and regression tested, in a production representative environment. The knowing Oracle DBA will know only too well what happens if these precautions are not taken seriously. I have seen many occassions when the unthinkable becomes the thinkable once in a production environment and one part of the detail was overlooked and thought to be OK to roll to PROD.

6.Thorough

This area encapsulates all of the above. The good Oracle DBA always has to be thorough in order to ensure high standards and minimise risk. Oftentimes it is the Oracle DBA who is in the unique position to appreciate just how many processes could be affected by one small change. This is often the case where multiple, independent teams submit changes at the same time. This is when thorough testing and adherence to agreed processes is critical.

The above list is in no particular order and is certainly not exhaustive. It is intended to highlight some key points which are often overlooked. Many mistakes can be avoided by the insightful Oracle DBA who adheres to the points above. And, more often than not, it’s the simple things which matter the most.

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