5 things that made me a better DBA

Several times I've figured things out in my career and thought "how did I ever call myself a DBA without knowing that?"

There are so many parts to becoming a DB2 DBA. One of my newbie-friends described being a DB2 DBA as a “black art” that takes at least 2 years to learn. Several times I’ve figured things out in my career and thought “how did I ever call myself a DBA without knowing that?”.

  1. An intimate knowledge and experience with real-world backup and recovery. You only have something missing that you need for a restore once.
  2. Doing and understanding builds and installations as the only DBA involved – doing the basic physical design.
  3. Learning Explains well enough to teach them to others.
  4. Learning the ins and outs of physical perfomance and monitoring.
  5. Understanding that you don’t just do whatever developers or others request you to do – it’s important to know when to say no and how to guide people to a better choice.
Ember Crooks
Ember Crooks

Ember is always curious and thrives on change. She has built internationally recognized expertise in IBM Db2, spent a year working with high-volume MySQL, and is now learning Snowflake. Ember shares both posts about her core skill sets and her journey learning Snowflake.

Ember lives in Denver and work from home

Articles: 552


  1. Hi!
    I’m at the beginning of my DBA career and I’m particuarly interested in number 4 (Learning the ins and outs of physical perfomance and monitoring). This is for me the most hard thing to do. I’m getting questions from the procedure developer like this: “Why is my procedure doing all the time the same work, but sometimes it takes 80ms to complete and sometimes it takes 300ms.” How to go about this types of questions? Do you have any experience in this type of questions? Any pointers about how should I learn to do monitoring, …?

    Best regards,

    • The real lightbulb moment for me on this stuff came when I took the advanced DB2 DBA course that IBM offers from Melanie Stopfer(http://www-304.ibm.com/jct03001c/services/learning/ites.wss/us/en?pageType=course_description&courseCode=CL462). A portion of that focuses on performance, and it was just amazing to learn this stuff I had never even thought of before. Another good course I took that helped was Scott Hayes’ performance seminar on the day before the IDUG conference one year. It took the basics that I learned in the IBM course and really went to the next level.

      If you can’t do the paid education, the Advanced Admin Certification books generally have a decent section on the basics of performance. Even if you’re not planning on getting certified the thicker Certification books have really good information in them.

      The specific question on performance is complicated, and could have a number of components to it. I’d be looking at things like the overall system performance at different times, whether it’s doing IDENTICALLY the same thing every time, or hitting different data each time, look for locking issues while the slower performance is occurring, etc.

      Most performance problems require solid foundations in both physical DB2 system performance as well as in SQL tuning and performance to address.

      Does that help?

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