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dba or sysadmin?

Occasional Contributor

dba or sysadmin?

Is dba a step up from sys admin? would that be the next level? i have the choice of being a sysadmin or dba and would like to choose the "better" position. What do you all think, what would you rather be?
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: dba or sysadmin?

These definitions are from my perspective, others in the forums may or may not agree with me:

System Administrator - Takes care of all things related to the machine(s). Installs hardware, installs and tunes the OS, installs patches, installs software (including database software, ie oracle, sybase, etc.), deals with hardware issues (ie. failures), deals with network issues, basically deals with anything and everything related to the system(s) you are assigned to administer.

Database Administrator - Deals with anything related to the database(s) you are assigned to work on. This may include some system / OS related activity.

I personally would rather stick with being a sys-admin. I enjoy the responsibilities of being a sys admin, although the hours you have to put in can be really bad sometimes. I carry a pager and a cell phone, both provided by my employer. I am on call 24x7. I try to avoid being on call when I go on vacation, but I can't always avoid it.

If you are a DBA, you may or may not have to carry a pager, and the hours might not be as bad as a sys admins.

Trying to define which position is "better" is difficuly. It really depends on what you want to do and what you like to do. MY OPINION (sorry DBAs) is that a sys admin will have the opportunity to have a broader range of knowledge in that you will have the opportunity to learn about the hardware, OS and various software packages that run on your machines if you so choose. A DBA specializes in databases, usually, but not always, in a specific kind (ie. Oracle, Sybase, Informix, etc.).

You can make a good living doing either job. I know DBAs and sys admins that are makeing VERY good salaries.

All in all, it just depends on what you want to do and what the responsibilities of the jobs being offered you are. I don't know that anyone on these forums can tell you definitively one way or the other what to do.

Best of luck in makeing your decision.
Alexander M. Ermes
Honored Contributor

Re: dba or sysadmin?

Hi there.
I mostly agree with Patrick.
It depends on what you really want to do.
If you are more into technical stuff like
figuring out, what the robot on a tape library really does or if the HP tech has connected
terminated SCSI cables to your SCSI systems, if you want to fight with the electricians
about installing a new machine, that needs about 63 A / 220 V on one phase, then you should go for sysadmin.
If you are more into programming and theoretics, go for dba.
My situation is doing both for my company
( United Parcel Service Deutschland ).
Anyway, both jobs require some guts, because you might have some collisions about different issues with your superiors.
Think about it and make your decision.
In Germany DBA is paid better than Sysadmin.
Take a look at the pay tables in the web, which are valid for your country.
Alexander M. Ermes
p.s. It's a hell of a job, but it is worth it.
.. and all these memories are going to vanish like tears in the rain! final words from Rutger Hauer in "Blade Runner"
Dieter Degrendele_1
Frequent Advisor

Re: dba or sysadmin?

Found somewhere in a unix book: Systems Administrator: Somebody that solves the problems a Database Administrator creates.

The possible we did, the unpossible we're doing but for a miracle you have to wait some time.
Rodney Hills
Honored Contributor

Re: dba or sysadmin?

According to your ITRC name you could be neither. You are a "user". :)
There be dragons...
Ajitkumar Rane
Trusted Contributor

Re: dba or sysadmin?

Actually both go hand in a lot of times but as far as theactual duties are concerded I think sys Admin is a few steps up than the dba's.
DBA -create database, maintain db,tune database what else you can think of.
Sys Admin-Maintain thewhole system ,what else., The list starts -setup H/W, install os, setup a prober kernel, create partitions, filesystems, users ,add printers etc etc etc the list goes ON and ON and ON.
System down - responsible person, get hold of the sys admin first.
Amidsts difficulties lie opportunities