Complete Guidance for the New DBA
***** Summary of How this page can help you***************
This page contains information of what you should learn and do to become a dba and to survive as
a new dba.
Some information is taken from other websites and the proper owners of that information are
To go back to the dba career shift home page click dbacareershift
Dont Panic Dont Panic Dont Panic
OK so you are a new DBA or you want to become a Oracle DBA and you have no clue about
where to start , what to read , what to do etc. Dont worry.We will give the relevant information
here that can help you in clarifying your doubts.
Lets see what you should learn and in which order
1) Learn SQL
you should know the sql language. So either read a sql book or go to a training center and learn
the SQL language.You can click on the left hand menu item Learn SQL to see indepth
information on how to learn SQL.
Oracle also has another language called PL/SQL but dont worry.Once you learn and practice
SQL you can understand PL/SQL much better and it would be easy.To learn more about
pl/sql you can click on the left hand menu item Learnplsql
3)You should learn all the DBA related words and their meaning. That is why we have provided a
list of 50 dba terms that you should know and then that is enough for you to appear for an interview.
But be careful.You should also practice all exercises on your personal computer or in a computer
lab or in your training institute.Only then you can be completely confident in the interview.Click here
to see the 50 dba terms
4)Once you get a job as a new DBA then you can go through the real life production problems that
we encountered on our databases. You can click on the Production Problems link for more
5)You should also know a little bit of unix commands if you want to become a DBA.That is why we
have provided a link for the basic Unix commands a DBA should know.Please click on the link
Basic Unix commands for the new DBA
Below is some advice which we have taken from other websites.
The best career path to being a successful DBA indeed starts with
a) a solid IT-related educational background,
b) a solid understanding of SQL and PL/SQL,
c) a programming and/or systems administration background.
I would suggest getting an entry-level job as a programmer/developer (making sure you get to work
with Oracle). The important thing is to make sure you let your employer know what your desired
career path is so that they can support you in your efforts to get there. Ideally, you may find an
entry-level DBA position (although these are rare) or a company that will utilize your SQL skills
while training or mentoring you to become a DBA.
If you do not get that ideal position and do not get company support for your career development,
you will need to take the initiative to start reading and learning on your own. As you program, pay
attention to relational database concepts, learn how the internals (background processes, data
structures, etc.) of the Oracle database work, get to know the DBA(s) and ask good questions,
read books, and stay up to date on the DBA-related research sites. Once you are comfortable
enough and have a year or two programming behind you, take the Oracle OCA exam, get certified
and apply for one or more entry-level or junior DBA positions. Having the certification and the
programming background will definitely give you that much needed edge to win the job.
The above excerpt has been picked from the below website
HELP - I AM A NEW DBA
Below is an excerpt from http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=2644790
For the past 1 month I have been following this forum. Everyone is doing nice work. Could you
please just help me. I am new to oracle DBA. Could anyone just send me some useful material links
or something you think that a DBA should learn. I am following the manuals online anyway. I really
appreciate your help.
A New DBA
http://www.peasland.net/page3.html contains a document called grow your dba career . download
that and its excellent. Below is usefull information taken from that document.
About the DBA job:
Most of the people that I talk to who have difficulties starting out in their DBA career really have an
issue trying to absorb the mountainous volumes of information that a DBA needs to know. After all,
System Administrators make a whole career out of learning the ins and outs of the OS. Application
Developers make a whole career out of learning how to build and code excellent applications. Not
only does a DBA have to know a great deal about these two different jobs, but then the DBA
needs to spend even more time working on understanding the architecture of the database, and
understanding how every piece of everything fits together! Does it sound too daunting of a task?
There have been many who think so and after becoming frustrated, have left their DBA job for a
completely different job. Then there are those individuals who thrive on disseminating and
understanding all of this information, and using that information to make good, sound technical
decisions. As I was fond of saying in my early days as a DBA, it all seems to me to be one great
puzzle. The challenge is in getting all of the pieces to fit. Which type of person are you?
Many DBAs are “on-call”. They get called at all hours of the day and night to resolve critical
problems with their database. The database is the life-blood of the business’s IT infrastructure.
Without data, there would be no need to have a computer system. It is the data that drives the
business. Where would amazon.com be if their web site couldn’t search the database for products
and if no one could place an order for their products? They wouldn’t be in business for very long.
There are many companies that lose significant revenues when their database is down, even for the
shortest period of time. For this reason, the DBA needs to be available to resolve issues as fast as
possible, should they occur. Many shops have a team of DBAs who rotate being on-call. These
DBAs support databases for 24x7 applications. Are you ready to be placed on-call if the job
Some of the DBAs duties include applying patches to software or making database changes. Often
times, these changes cannot be done while the company’s employees are at work, expecting that
the database be up and running so that they can get their jobs done. This means that the DBA
frequently has to come in real early in the morning, or real late at night, or even on the weekends to
perform work that can only be done outside of normal business hours. Are you ready to work some
strange hours at times, or are you looking for a 9 to 5 job?
One key asset for a DBA to hold is what is commonly referred to as “soft skills”. The DBA needs
to be able to work well in a team environment, commonly in diverse teams with System
Administrators, Network Administrators, Application Developers, Project Managers and others.
DBAs need to be able to explain difficult, technical concepts in plain English that others in the team
environment can understand. DBAs need to be able to direct team members on database-related
issues. How are your soft skills?
While not an all-inclusive list, typical DBAs perform the following duties:
• Monitor database instances on a daily basis to ensure availability. Resolve unavailability issues.
• Collect system statistics and performance data for trending and configuration analysis.
• Configure and tune dB instances for optimal performance under application specific guidelines.
• Analyze and administer dB security. Control and monitor user access to dB. Audit database usage
• Monitor backup procedures. Provide recovery when needed. Develop and test backup and
• Upgrade RDBMS software and apply patches when needed. Upgrade or migrate database
instances as necessary.
• Support application developers with any and all dB related activities.
• Keep up with dB trends & technologies. Use new technologies when applicable. Install, test, and
evaluate new Oracle related products.
• Perform storage and physical design. Balance design issues to achieve optimal performance.
• Create, configure and design new dB instances.
• Diagnose, troubleshoot and resolve any dB related problems. Work with Oracle Support if
necessary to bring problems to a successful resolution.
• Ensure Oracle networking software (SQL*Net, Netx, Names, OiD) is configured and running
• Work with System Administrators (Unix & NT) to ensure Oracle related matters are handled
• Create any necessary scripts for effective and occasionally periodic dB maintenance activities.
Tips for your starting Career:
Tip #1: Become educated. – Learn as much as you can you can about a database. This will most
likely involve some time and effort on your part, outside of normal working hours. Take a database
class at a local college or university. Many training companies offer classes on Database
Administration. You may find that you have to pay for these yourself if your employer will not fund
your education opportunities. Many DBA positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree in
Computer Science or a related field, so you should have at least that credential.
Tip #2: Practice being a DBA. – Many database vendors let you download trial, test, or
evaluation copies of their database system. Download a copy and install the software on your own
personal computer. Play with the database. Intentionally break the database and try to fix it. Try to
perform as many of the DBA functions as you can think of. Test out and hone your skills on your
own test platform so that you can be able to demonstrate some level of database administration
Tip #3: Get certified – Many database vendors now offer a certification for their database
product. Many companies now look at certification as a measuring stick. One thing to keep in mind
is that just being certified is not enough. Passing DBA certification tests do not automatically mean
that you know how to administer a database. They just say to the potential employer that you now
possess a certain set of skills. Being certified also tells a potential employer that you are serious
about your pursuit of a DBA job. I’ve seen many people complain that they are certified with no
experience, but still can’t get that first DBA job. Certification alone won’t land you the job, but it
doesn’t hurt either. If nothing else, you’ve learned a great deal while trying to get certified. Just don’
t rely on the certification to get you that job you are looking for. You will need more than that. But it
will help in the end.
Tip #4: Leverage your existing skill set – Many DBAs come from a System Administrator
background. Others come from an Application Development background. If possible, see if you
can use your existing skill set to get a job. The goal here is to make it a win-win situation for you
and your employer. For instance, let’s assume that you are already a SysAdmin looking to break
into the DBA field. Maybe you can find a job at a company that will be able to use your SysAdmin
skills part of the time, while being able to get your feet wet in Database Administration the rest of
the time. If you are already a DBA on one vendor’s platform but wish to move to another vendor’s
platform, see if you can land a job which has both platforms. For instance, use your SQL Server
DBA skills in a shop that also lets you backup the Oracle DBA. In this way, both the company and
you get what you want. After you’ve had exposure to DBA work, you can try to get a position that
will let you do it full time, maybe even with the same company.
Tip #5: Take advantage of current opportunities – Sometimes, one gets into the DBA field just
by being in the right place at the right time. If your current employer has an opportunity for you to
work on any database project, jump at the chance! Any database experience is worth more than no
database experience. Let your management know that you are actively seeking any database
opportunities that come by. Hopefully, they will think of you when the next one comes along. After
working on these database projects and seeing the desire in your eyes to become a DBA, they may
decide to train you, and promote you. Many, many people get their first DBA job in exactly this
manner, sliding into a Junior DBA position once they have worked on a few database-related
projects. Often times, when a DBA leaves the company, that company will look at hiring an internal
candidate if they feel that candidate is trainable.
Tips to Become a Good DBA:
You will find that there is an enormous amount of material that you must learn to become an effect
Database Administrator. Your first year or two will be spent learning more than you may have ever
learned in your career. If you find that the amount of information is leading to brain overload, just sit
back, take a breather, and come back to it. To help you along the way, you can follow the
Tip #1: Relational database theory – For this paper, I’m going to assume that the type of
database you will be administering is a “relational” database. Other database models do exist, but
the relational model is the dominant one in the industry for the last twenty years. If your database
system follows a different model, then learn that theory. Relational database theory is very
important. It is the background upon which everything has been built. I’ve seen many people who
make the jump to database administration and never bother to learn solid relational database theory.
Inevitably, their lack of a solid basis in this theory shows up as a shortcoming many times during
their career. If you understand relational database theory well, then you will be able to make
smoother transitions to any vendor’s Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). It doesn’
t matter if I am using Oracle’s database, or IBM’s DB2, or Microsoft’s SQL Server. All of them
are relational database systems. They all do basically the same things. The difference lies in how
they do the same things. A solid relational database theory is not essential for a Junior DBA
position. But it is vital if you ever want to grow your career past the Junior DBA level., also many
college-level textbooks cover relational database theory very well.
Tip #2: Learn the query language inside and out – Databases all have a language that lets you
get data from the database, put data into the database, and modify the data that is in the database.
For relational databases, that language is Structured Query Language (SQL). This one language is
your tool to interface with the database. It is vital that this tool not be a barrier to further learning. In
your test database, practice various SQL statements until they become second nature to you.
Tip #3: Begin learning basic database administration functions – Isn’t this why you are here in
the first place? So why is it third on the list? We are trying to build a pyramid of knowledge and I
feel strongly that one needs to know relational database theory and SQL real well as they will
become tools that you will use as you learn how to perform basic database administration functions.
These functions can include starting and stopping a database, backing up and recovering a
database, and creating/dropping/altering database objects. For Oracle database administration,
there is a lot of material on oracle.tahiti.com that can gives you a good taste of what to expect. At
this time, you should also be reading and understanding the Oracle 9i/10gR2/11g Concepts Guide,
the Oracle 9i/10gR2/11g Administrator’s Guide, and the Oracle 9i/10gR2/11g Backup and
Recovery Guide, all from the Oracle documentation.
Tip #4: Read, read, and read – Since you just started your career as a DBA, you are just
beginning to build a skill set. It takes a long time to build, absorb, and comprehend all of the
information you will be learning. Undoubtedly, your Senior DBA will have work to do, so he or she
will not always be able to devote a ton of time to your studies. You will have to learn many things
on your own. This is where reading comes in. There are many books on the market, which answer
a lot of database related topics. Oracle Press is Oracle Corp’s official publishing company with a
large number of Oracle-related books. There are other publishing companies as well, like Wrox
Press, Rampage, Apress and O’Reilly Press. You also have the Oracle documentation to read.
And there are numerous web sites and newsgroups available as well. Read as much as you can get
your hands on. And it’s not a bad idea to read these items more than once to absorb things you
may have missed the first time.
Tip #5: Create test cases – I often see beginner questions that ask the most basic questions that
can easily be answered if the person just took the time to figure it out themselves. Undoubtedly, you
will have many questions as you begin your Oracle studies. Decide if these are questions that you
can answer yourself. For instance, I once had someone ask me if it was possible to insert NULL
values into a column with a UNIQUE constraint. At first, this may not seem to be an easy question
to answer. But it is really easy to test! Just create a simple table. On one of your columns, enable a
UNIQUE constraint. Try to insert NULL values into that column. Does it work? You should be
able to answer this question quite easily. So why create these test cases? One reason is that by
doing so, you will be enhancing your problem solving skills. The same skills required to create these
test cases are some of the same skills used in problem solving. Problem solving skills will greatly
help your DBA career. Another reason is that you will often need to create more complex test
cases as your career progresses in order to guarantee database and application success. Even
simple test cases are building blocks for more complex database and application analysis in the
Tip #6: Find a mentor – A mentor can be used to guide, or steer your DBA career (or any career
for that matter). They can give pointers, answer questions, and help save some time as you grow
your DBA career. Hopefully, this paper will serve as a mentor towards part of growing your career.
If you are working in an environment with a Senior DBA, then that person should be responsible for
mentoring a good portion of your career. You may choose to look at other mentors as well.
Tip #7: Participate in local user groups – Many cities across the nation have local user groups
which meet periodically to talk about database-related topics. Join one of these local user groups if
possible. This gives you a great way to interact and network with others in your field.
To go the next section please click Learn SQL