What is the best why to get started in DBA

1240 pts.
DBA training
iSeries database
Microsoft Access
I have some experiance in SQL and Access and all the other MS software too. I deal alot with spreadsheets, and database in my job. I work alot with the AS400 and do alot of queries throught MS Access. What is the fasted and tghe most inexpensive way to get to the piont of being self sufficient as a DBA. Is there a good book or web site you might be able to point me to?

Software/Hardware used:
MSXP,Professional,Vers2002,SP3.and iSeries AS400

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I was in about the same situation when our System Admin/DBA left and I just inherited the job. That is a stressful way to start, but I learned fast. I did eventually get some training through an IBM business partner – after I had already done it for awhile. That actually makes sense from the perspective that then you really know where your weaknesses are in your particular situation.

If you are particularly interested only in the DBA role, then learn business object modeling & data modeling and SQL SQL SQL. Learning to design, document, and diagram your database in the context of business objects and their business relationships is important; learning to document the database itself is critical. There are lots of books and web pages available, I think I started with The Handbook of Relational Database Design. For SQL, I think I have SQL for Dummies, SQL for Smarties, SQL/400 Developers Guide, DB2/400, and DB2/400 SQL reference all sitting on my shelf – full of highlights and marked spots. There are useful functions in SQL that just don’t seem to turn up in places like MS Access, for example, “Coalesce,” which I use often. The web is also good – there are lots of tutorials, answer wikis, blogs and dedicated sites. You will need to work with short scripts at a minimum. Programming is good… Also, try doing the things you do in MS Access with the GUI using the SQL text editor instead. Design one in the GUI and open it in the SQL editor and see if you can improve it…

If you are interested in just the DBA role, you will likely want to investigate other database platforms like SQL Server, other flavors of DB2, and Oracle. If your interest lies primarily with System i, then you should develop some programming skills (CL, Java, RPG…etc) and learn whatever you can about system administration – in the System i environment the DBA role is frequently combined into the system admin role. Don’t be reluctant, you can learn that part, and it is fun. I took a 2 day class in CL programming – it is pretty easy and it allows you to automate tasks like crazy.

I hope this is helpful. Best wishes!

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  • TomLiotta
    What is the fasted and tghe most inexpensive way... If you want the best, then the fastest probably won't be the least expensive; and the least expensive probably won't be the fastest. A general rule is "It can be good; it can be fast; and it can be cheap. Pick two." Tom
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  • CompEng
    What is the best within the cheapest? What is the fast way? What is the most particle way to get into the field, in that I would be able to grow while using what I have already acquired? Give me a few scenarios'.
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  • CompEng
    Marz, thanks and I will take all that you mentioned to heart and act upon it. As engineer and working in the electronics field yet most of my responsibilities now are more with queries and other searches to compile the require information of the server, and daily learning SQL and the extent of what can be done with it is fun and challenging. It has opened a lot of doors to not only with helping out those in my department but also with my career too. I will be asking and coming back for more advice in the future. Thanks again.
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  • James Murray
    One quick way to get exposed to a new technology path are non-proffit organizations. If you are ready to go and need some experience, non-proffits allow you to practice in an environment that gives you a great deal of autonomy for practicing. Plus you are helping someone important. One of my first jobs was with a Chamber of Commerce where I got two years exposure managing network systems. At the same time I rebuilt thier database from scratch. Finally I learned how to plan, propose and implement projects. When I left I had paid my dues and my job prospects where much better. This was fast because nobody is good until they've paid thier dues. Non-proffits don't have the cash to hire the best, or build the best systems. Yet most have a great deal of credibility on your resume. So I had two years of intense work with a resume that included more types of work than I could have gotten in 5 or more years in a large organization. Cheap because most of the people in the non-proffits I work inside of became my mentors. They knew I was working cheaply so they tried to expose me to the types of work I needed to advance my skill sets. I could have spent 20,000 getting trained in Project managment, System administration, network operating system, database work. Instead I got that mentoring as part of the job. If you want to get some decent exposure to large databases and DBA work, go find a job working for the main offices for a statewide community college district. Washington state has a desperate need for help. City and State government is always in need of good people to manage database systems. It's not about what you read it's about your experience. Just get your resume together and put that your goal is to become a DBA. knock on enough doors and someone will be impressed enough to give you an opportunity. Good luck
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