What does a Career as a DBA Consultant Entails?
by Mashum Mollah Job & Career 08 February 2017
The promotion behind cloud services like Amazon RDS and Microsoft Azure might make pursuing a career as a DBA consultant seem like hitching your wagon on the wrong horse. Cloud-based DBAs, and not virtual machines running plain SQL server, made many DBAs think their jobs were in jeopardy. The cloud would take over their jobs. That hasn’t happened though, and the immediate future for DBAs seems brighter than before. Just take a look at the salaries for junior DBAs command.
Contrary to popular belief, the cloud is another DBA friend. It’s an emerging technology from ever evolving data market. The cloud brings a shrew of new technologies that make life for a DBA easier and less involving.
Being a DBA is A Lot Easier Today:
A decade ago, working as a DBA meant you had to master all the tools of the trade. You had to work on your SQL skills, security skills, and even management skills to make the cut as a database administrator.
With new technologies, such as the cloud, you don’t have to get involved as much. Cloud vendors take care of the infrastructure keeping the lights on for you and your clients. You don’t have to worry about the hardware side of things or the security of your installation. For the most part, all you deal with is the sanctity of the data that goes into the cloud. Pretty sweet, wouldn’t you agree? If you unfamiliar with the cloud or Azure in general, or just want to brush up on your skills, you can always find and complete a Microsoft Azure for business online course.
Life as A DBA Consultant:
Now that your fears that DBAs are not an endangered species are cleared, here’s what you should expect when you take up that first job.
Companies can’t seem to fill up their DBA positions quickly enough. In fact, a lot of companies looking for expert DBA consultants have the position open for months. The talent pool of DBAs is only a drop in the demanding ocean.
That being said, when you make the cut, there are certain responsibilities that come with a DBA expert consultant.
Get Comfortable On the Road:
If you are working as a remote DBA administrator, for example, be prepared to travel a lot. When a client wants to make certain hardware configurations, for instance, you must go to the site and make the configurations. There’s no way to remotely make hardware changes.
Know Your Runbooks:
Apart from getting comfortable on the road, as a DBA expert consultant you should build standardized runbooks for all of your clients. A runbook spells out the procedures on how to handle everything related to maintaining a particular relational database. That means for each client, you need to outline specific procedures on how to address failed backups, how to swap out drives that get full, and even how to restart a non-responsive SQL server service.
The runbook makes it easy for you to deal with specific client problems without getting bogged down. Also, runbooks make it easier for anyone else to get up to speed quickly reducing the duration of downtimes when you are not available to handle the issue.
There are other peculiarities that expert DBA consultants put up with, but these two are common in all DBA consultant roles.