I want to be an Oracle DBA in the near future. I have an information systems background in my masters. I do have a basic understanding of SQL and Oracle. I want to know what path should I be taking to be a successful Oracle DBA. (I guess I need to start at the entry level as an SQL developer, then PL/SQL, etc.). But I want to know what all I need to learn to become a successful Oracle DBA. One reason why I chose to be a DBA is I liked SQL the moment I worked on it. And the the other reason was I am not a great Java /C/C++ programmer. Can you please guide me how to become a successful DBA and what all I need to learn on the way to being a successful DBA?
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.
Hope this helps and good luck!
This was first published in June 2007