My 5 pieces of advice for new DBAs

As my first post, I thought I’d list a few points that I would say to any new DBA. I’ll probably turn each one of these into a post on its own but for now here they are:-

Backups
Of all the tasks that you perform, making sure that there are recent, valid backups being taken is the most important. If something goes wrong, a restore is required and there is no valid backup, guess who will get the blame?

Production
Be paranoid, as the saying goes ‘Hope for the best, plan for the worst’. You are responsible for the security, resilience and performance of the live environment(s). Carefully review anything that is going to be deployed and make sure you have a rollback plan.

Research
There is a wealth of information on the internet regarding SQL Server from Books Online to blogs this like. When asking questions about SQL Server, the most common answer you are going to come across is ‘it depends’. For any questions that you have, collate information from multiple sources and then test, test, test, test, test (you get the idea)…

Mistakes
At some point along the line, you will make a mistake. Everyone does. I’m not saying this means you can start working rashly without care but even if you are the most diligent DBA in the world one day you will make a mistake. It’s how you react to it that matters, suck it up and learn from it (I know everyone says this, but what else can you do?).

Training
We are in a profession which relies on technology that is ever evolving, meaning that even if you’ve been working with SQL Server for 20+ years, there will always be something new to learn. I’d have a look at the Microsoft approved entry level course:- http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en-us/Course.aspx?ID=40364A

As your knowledge grows you can attend more advanced courses.

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