How did you get started in IT? I got started programming in sixth and seventh grade, when my parents bought an Apple IIe for my brothers and me, and signed me up for summer school programming courses in LOGO and Apple BASIC. One of my friends’ parents had a subscription to Nibble magazine, which would come with fully written program code printed on the pages—like tens of thousands of lines—that you could take and run on your own if you had the patience. Stuff like that was really interesting to me.
Job title/description: Lead DBA, providing production support of a 30-plus TB database
Location: Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Oracle credentials: Oracle Certified DBA (Oracle Database 10g Release 2)
Oracle ACE Associate
Which new features in Oracle Database are you finding most valuable? Probably the in-memory column store. Our primary database is a hybrid of online transaction processing with a lot of analytics being run on it, and a lot of indexes to support those analytics. We’re already utilizing a large system global area, so the thought of transitioning some of that to the in-memory column store and possibly dropping a few indexes is very appealing from a storage and maintenance perspective.
What advice do you have about getting into database administration? Download Oracle VM VirtualBox, Oracle Linux, and Oracle Database; read a few of the 2 Day guides to get a quick start; and just play. As you get your bearings and start to get more curious, then read some of the more in-depth documentation. But there’s no substitute for just rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty with it.
What advice do you have about getting into application development? Focus on a specific business area. When a company is looking for any IT skills, it’s a competitive advantage to have an understanding of the business processes of a given area. Examples include supply chain, finance, HR, manufacturing, and then subprocesses within these areas. Being able to apply technology to solve business problems is really the goal of IT.
Job title/description: Senior IT manager, helping clients successfully deliver results in complex and diverse technical situations
Location: Calgary, Canada
Length of time using Oracle products: More than 20 years
What technology has most changed your life? At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur, I would say e-mail. I prefer it to text or phone, as it provides a record of conversations. Try just for a moment to imagine living with only a telephone and paper correspondence!
What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? It’s not enough time spent gathering, clarifying, and verifying business requirements. Without properly documented and agreed-upon requirements, all project management aspects are challenging.
How do you use social media in your work? TweetDeck is always running on my workstation—it helps me keep connected to the vibrant community of Oracle professionals on Twitter. Social media in general helps keep me connected and updated with the latest news from Oracle, other DBAs, conferences, and even my favorite breweries.
Job title/description: Technical team lead and senior DBA, leading a team of database and application administrators supporting nonproduction services for the enterprise
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Length of time using Oracle products: Eight years
Oracle ACE Associate
What’s the most common cause you see when IT projects go wrong? Communication and collaboration are the keys to any successful project. When the project managers, business stakeholders, or software developers don’t have a consistent understanding, bad things will happen: delayed timelines, defects, failed releases, or worse.
What would you like to see Oracle, as a company, do more of? Oracle should consider promoting more use of their Express Editions, which are great tools to get to know Oracle Database.
What’s your go-to Oracle reference? I keep it simple and use Google to filter my queries to only return results from oracle.com. I get results from blogs, Oracle documentation, community support forums, and more. When in doubt, go straight to the source.