Q

Becoming more marketable as DBA

It's been hard finding DBA work at my current salary of $117,000. Do you have any advice to help me become more marketable? Am I heading in the right direction by publishing and answering questions on the Web?

I am seeking advice. I have over 25 years of IT experience and for about 18 of those years, I have been using Oracle products. About a year ago I developed a plan to make myself more marketable by getting my name out in the IT community. I published an article for Pinnacle publishing, the February '06 issue, called "Sending Email from Oracle Database." I am now answering PL/SQL questions for SearchOracle.com. I also have my Oracle 9i DBA OCP. I work for a company whose contract will end next September. It's been hard finding DBA work at my current salary of $117,000.

Do you have any advice to help me become more marketable? Am I heading in the right direction by publishing and

answering questions on the Web? Any advice will be helpful. Thanks.

Mr. Ault is currently not fielding questions for Ask The Experts. So I was asked to provide some expertise as it pertains to your question. To make yourself more marketable, I can offer the following pieces of advice.

One thing you might want to consider is upgrading that certification to Oracle 10g. Many companies are now looking for DBAs who know and understand Oracle 10g as it has been out for a while now. The 10g OCP certification exam will not be enough to land you a job, but it will not hurt your chances either. Some companies do not value OCP certification and others do. I try to maintain my certifications to the most current levels and I have upgraded for every version from Oracle 7.3 all the way up to 10g.

Answering questions definitely helps you on your career path. If I did not have that opinion, I would not be answering this question! Ask The Experts is definitely one way to get some great exposure! You can also answer questions elsewhere. There are numerous forums available including the Quest Pipelines, the Usenet newsgroups and Oracle-L. Consider showing your expertise in any of these forums. I have received work simply because some company liked the way I answered questions in these forums.

Publishing helps as well. Consider writing white papers on a specific topic and then submitting that paper for conferences. Presenting a paper at a conference or user group meeting is a great way to get noticed. While at the conference, you can do some social networking to get your name out there. Sometimes it's who you know.

Finally, take a look at some job postings in your area to get an idea of the salary range your market is offering. In my market, you won't get $117K going to work for a new employer. The markets do change periodically, so some research might be needed to determine what the market will currently bear.

This was first published in July 2006

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