DBA Role/Responsibility

Basically I'm interested in the straight role of a DBA; designing, creating, implementing, fine tuning, reporting and backup & recovery.

SQL Server appears to be a more manageable entry into the world of a DBA (complexity wise) as opposed to Oracle... however from talking to some tech's I get the impression that SQL Server DBA's are regarded more as VB developers who are quasi-administrators. Personally I have little interest in coding (beyond SQL syntax) and therefore I'm concerned that a MCDBA is one part administrator 2 parts developer??

With Oracle, does programming generally revolve around PL/SQL or as future versions are released, is it expected that administrators can code in other languages such as Java? I'd like to confirm the value of being good at PL/SQL (qualified) in the job market, not necessarily administrator qualified.

Any constructive insight would be appreciated.
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My experience is that you aren't going to get close to being a DBA until you prove yourself at something else. My route was as a retired Navy chief without a CIS degree: application support, SQL user, PL/SQL developer, unix & shell scripts, production support, and now finally, junior DBA.  It took five years and three jobs.  

The cert exams were crucial in qualifying me for an interview. Once I had completed the first one, SQL, I was taken for an interview with a big client by a small local consulting firm who gave me a try out. That exam didn't get me the job. It got me the interview.  I haven't finished them yet.

In an information society, the data is the most important thing the company owns. The smart ones don't just hand you the keys.  Expect to pay your dues and gradually approach your goal.
I myself am an Oracle DBA.  In my opinion, you should go for Oracle, and not just because that's what I'm doing.  Oracle has a much larger market share for databases, and therefore there are more jobs. Also, since Oracle is a much more complex beast, the pay is substantially higher.  And as far as capabilities, Oracle beats SQL Server hands down.  Therefore, most of the really important systems that companies are willing to throw money into usually end up on Oracle.  You will get to work on many more very high-visible systems on Oracle than you would on SQL Server.

As far as coding goes, it would be wise to be very familiar with PL/SQL, but not to the point of a developer. You will need to know some PL/SQL as a DBA to do your job (it comes in very handy for many things). Also, being a DBA, you might be expected to be the on-site Oracle expert, so you might be expected to review and approve developer's PL/SQL code before putting it into production.  You have to look at it from a performance and security perspective, rather than functionality, so your point of view will be different from that of a developer's.


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hazzard_2000Author Commented:
Thanks to Don, for views on working towards the goal.
Thanks to Andrew for explaining significance of PL/SQL and expectations.

Curious to hear from anybody with SQL Server experience?
hazzard_2000Author Commented:
Would have liked to have had confirmed whether SQL server DBA's are generically expected to code in VB or languages other than Transact-SQL.
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