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Is a DBA just a button clicker? Can a good DBA be replaced by anyone who knows the same technical skills?

‘Supporting the business’ can be a lot more involved.

What Does a DBA (Database Administrator) Do Anyway?

Corruption

Corruption must be checked for and corrected immediately.

Some people think a DBA simply Tweets, Facebooks, YouTubes and occasionally checks SQL Server logs. Others think that a DBA just ensures the precious databases get backed up (more importantly, RESTORED regularly). Still others rely on a DBA to identify poor running queries, waving their magic wand and making queries run faster, as well as to recover data when corruption occurs. The truth is: a DBA does all of these tasks and a whole lot more. But the question is: Can one DBA be replaced by another who has the same technical skills?

Supporting The Business

One core aspect of a DBA’s job which is commonly overlooked, is to ‘support the business’. What does this entail? Simply put, it means that the DBA should be catering to the needs of the business, so long as the business doesn’t ask something that puts their data at risk, or which limits the availability of the server for other users. Other than these two purposes, a DBA’s entire job is to ensure the business can do their job well so they can make money for the company which pays everyone.

Some DBAs have a bit of an adversarial attitude toward the business by demanding that the business only make perfect requests which don’t interfere with the DBAs idea of how the world turns.

A DBA is a Business Partner

This makes the DBA a Business Partner; someone who works with the business to find ways to help the business grow. This is a specific attitude which is frequently overlooked. But I have seen many a DBA with a poor attitude and I can attest that attitude is worth a lot, debatably more than the technical skill alone. I know that I have not hired, and even fired employees who had a poor attitude albeit with fine technical skill. Someone with a great attitude will learn well about how to deal with customers and fellow staff in a professional manner.