How do I become a DBA?

My first post is my answer to this question, I see it get asked occasionally on the otn forums and elsewhere, unfortunately my answer probably doesn’t help anyone else, I got here by the following route:-

After leaving school I took Physics at university for the same reasons most 18 year olds take a university degree, I had no idea what career I actually wanted to follow but was good at physics and maths and all my friends were also heading off to University so I figured I didn’t want to be the only one staying in my hometown and getting a job.

Four years later (after a small hiccup and a change of university) I realised that I didn’t want work in the field I had just spent four years studying and the most likely alternative didn’t seem to attractive (apparently 50% of physics graduates end up as accountants), however I was really interested in computing so found myself starting out as an outsourced phone tech support agent for a large Internet provider, back in the days of dial up. Surprisingly this didn’t put me off a career in IT completely, trying to guide people through connecting to the Internet when they have just unpacked their first PC was a sometimes frustrating procedure especially as almost no one I spoke to had two telephone lines. After a year i moved into the IT department as an MIS analyst (OK the only MIS analyst) and spent a lot of time with Excel, over the next three years spent time working with crystal reports, oracle SQL and P/SQL and MS SQL Server, as well as assorted CTI and telephony technologies. Then in 2000 whilst my employer was between financial controllers and DBA’s my manager managed to get the 8i dba training courses approved for me and a colleague, the next four years I was a mix of DBA and developer working hours that I never want to repeat, until finally moving on in 2004, since then I’ve been a DBA covering both development and production dba roles.

Overall I have been very fortunate in working for a company that was setting up for the first time in the UK, I got to try lots of different IT roles and found the one that suits me and I enjoy, a more normal career path taking a computer science degree and entering a graduate training program may have been quicker but at least this way I know I’m in the role I enjoy most and one that I’m well suited too.

Hence my answer to the question is I don’t know how you become a DBA, I know how I got here but its not the most direct route and was the result of working for and with the right people at the right time.

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