Thursday, July 21, 2005

My Journey

Since I started this blog a couple of days ago and made my initial request for informtaion, the reponses have been flooding in!
There's been a wide range of comments, both from other Newbies and from seasoned pros.
I'll be incorporating them into my presentation and will also post some of them here, as I believe they are of great benefit and need to be shared.

I've also had some stories on how people became DBA's, it's interesting to hear how many of them arrived in the role by accident!

I thought I'd share my story, it might explain why I still consider myself a Newbie!

I started out as an end-user of the Oracle Financials application at a large Housing Association. I was actually a temp hired for data entry, I was 20 years old, had just returned from working abroad and was desperate for a job!

I was one of these people that liked to 'play' when I thought nobody was looking. So I'd randomly push buttons and do things differently, just to see what happened!
It seemed natural then, that after about a year, I was seconded down to the IT section on a one year contract to assist in the project to upgrade the Financials app.
I got to play around with configuring the app, setting it up and learning some business analysis skills in the process.

After go-live I was offered a permanant job in IT, providing a second line support service to the application. As was usual with me, I kept fiddling and was curious to learn more.
By this time my Boss was practically having a nervous breakdown over me, but he was very supportive and encouraging.

He persuaded me to take up the Company's offer of training and I signed up to do a part time degree in Computer Science. It meant night classes and lots of work, but I wanted to learn. (I graduate this year by the way!)

After about a year as a support analyst I started getting more curious about how everything worked together, I asked a lot of questions (and probably annoyed a heck of a lot of people!) of the unix SA and the DBA. Both were nice people and willing to give me time.

Then the UNIX SA quit, his responsibilities were handed over to the DBA until a replacement could be found.
Then the DBA quit.

And that is how I ended up as a UNIX SA and Oracle DBA!

I covered both roles and it really was a baptism by fire learning experience. In all honesty, the way I learned was generally by doing things wrong and then learning how to put them right! The company took a big gamble on me taking over, but it was done on a temporary basis initially. I carried out the roles for 6 months before the job was officially mine.

I had no formal training before I started the role, and I was the only SA/DBA in the company so I had nobody to teach me or to help me out. They did bring in a contract DBA for an upgrade and he became my mentor over the next 2 years.

I've since moved on from that company, but I'm also the only DBA in my current place of employment.

I'm getting there eventually but I still feel I have a long way to go and a lot to learn.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The beginning

Well, here I am!
I've decided to create my own blog as a result of the tremendous feedback I received from my public request for information on Tom Kyte's blog and the subsequent posting on Niall Litchfield's blog.

Basically, I'm giving a presentation at this years UKOUG conference based on the world of Oracle through the eyes of 'Newbies'.

I decided to do this presentation after attending last years conference and noting that there wasn't much material for the beginner.
I'm not looking to provide a means of teaching people about Oracle, rather I'm wanting to show people how and where to learn and how to get ahead.

I'll be posting a little bit about myself and my experiences, and inviting others to do the same.
This has started out as research for my presentation, but we'll see how far it goes!

Too kick it off, I want to say a public 'Thank You' to all who have contributed so far.