Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Which came first - the DB or the DBA?

As I'm coming up to speed on all things data management, I'm finding that I often have more questions than answers.  The goods news is these are questions to which I'm guessing many of you have the answers.

As the title above implies, today's questions revolve around whether all of you out there who are DBAs or developers or otherwise involved in data management chose a particular platform (e.g. DB2) and then found a job focused on that, or whether your job led you to DB2.

In other words:

  • Did you choose to specialize in a specific database platform (in college or afterwards) and then looked for a job with those skills, or did the company hire you and then say "we use DB2 (or Oracle or SQL or MySQL, etc.), go learn it"?
  • How common is it that someone will have skills or be certified in multiple database programs?
  • How common is it that a job will require you to become proficient in a different database program?  (or that someone will choose to become proficient in an additional db)?
  • For those of you certified in multiple DBs, once you're proficient in one, how hard is it to become certified in another?  How would you compare IBM certification exams compare to those for Oracle, Microsoft or others?

Bonus questions:
  • If you picked a specific database program to specialize in, what factors influenced your decision in which one to pick?
  • If you chose to get certified in an additional database, what factors influenced your decision to learn new skills and in which one to pick?
  • What are expectations for new hires from college - would they be expected to be certified upon graduation (or before taking that first job)?  Or will they get training and prep for certification on the job?

Thank you for your responses!