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Don Burleson Blog 









Oracle DBA job Duties

Don Burleson

See these important related notes on how to get an Oracle DBA job and how to become a Oracle DBA guru and how Oracle DBA jobs will be different in the year 2020.

As the primary manager and custodian of the data resource the Oracle DBA has many job duties.  Many of the duties of the Oracle DBA have been clouded by the explosive growth in Oracle servers during the 1990's, when UNIX minicomputers caused IT shops to have hundreds of Oracle servers, each with their own instance, and copy of the Oracle software.

Historically the senior Oracle DBA had total responsibility for the Oracle database and had the following job duties:

  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Install, patch and maintain all Oracle software
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Tune all Oracle instance components including SQL and PL/SQL
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Approve all production schema changes
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Approve changes to database design
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Control all migrations of Oracle schema objects
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Design and implement a backup & recovery system
  • Oracle DBA job duty:  Implement Oracle failover technology

Remember, in many shops the Oracle DBA is a senior manager with high responsibilities and specialized job duties.

The Changing Role of the Oracle DBA

In the late 20th century, shops had dozens of Oracle DBA staff and important tasks were still overlooked because DBAs said "It's not my job," or "I don't have time." Changing technology mandated that the 21st century DBA would have more overall responsibility for the whole operation of their Oracle database.

Winner of the "It's Not My Job" award

So, what did this mean to the Oracle DBA of the early 21st century? Clearly, less time was spent installing and maintaining multiple copies of Oracle, and this freed-up time for the DBA to pursue more advanced tasks such as SQL tuning and database performance optimization.

But the sad reality of server consolidation was that thousands of mediocre Oracle DBAs lost their jobs to this trend. The best DBAs continued to find work, but DBAs who were used for the repetitive tasks of installing upgrades on hundreds of small servers were displaced:

The changing dynamics of human and hardware costs

The surviving Oracle DBAs found that they were relieved of the tedium of applying patches to multiple servers, constantly re-allocating server resources with Oracle Grid control, and constantly monitoring and tuning multiple systems. The DBA job role became far more demanding, and many companies started to view the DBA as a technical management position, encompassing far more responsibility than the traditional DBA.

New Oracle DBA job duties

Consequently, many computer professionals and Oracle DBAs were faced with a new requirement to have degrees in both computer science and business administration. The business administration allowed them to understand the working of internal systems and helped them to design the corporate database.

By 2005, the automation of many of the Oracle DBA functions led to the Oracle professional accepting responsibility for a whole new set of duties:

  • Data modeling and Oracle database design
  • Data interface protocols
  • Managing data security
  • Managing development projects
  • Predicting future Oracle trends for hardware usage and user load


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