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Career as role of Database Administrator

Jan 1, 2017

Career as role of Database Administrator

The MySQL database administration(DBA) and developing is a very attractive field to be in. If you ever thought about taking your career into that field then here is a guide that might help you get started. The first thing you should know from an industry point-of-view, there are very very few MySQL DBAs around. The companies that are looking for them range from start-ups that have matured and done well for themselves to large enterprises that have figured that MySQL is by now, safe to use.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues with finding work in MySQL and I will address them in this post.


Who usually turns out to be a MySQL DBA?
  1. A developer who discovered that MySQL and relational databases are easy to understand
  2. A system administrator who has had to maintain and monitor MySQL DBs for some time
  3. An existing DBA in MS SQL or Oracle who wants to switch over to MySQL.


Why would you like to be a MySQL DBA?

Well, as mentioned, this is quite a niche. Salaries can reflect that. Here in India, you can currently get between 400,000k to 500,000 INR depending on your experience. all with the usual agencies. Not that familiar with American salaries, but seen that $95,000 to $120,000 per year.

  • No Official Standards

A lot of companies that advertise for a full-time MySQL DBA (for the first time) from my experience do not have a good idea what they are looking for.


You can think of the situation like this:

The people in the company, be it developers or system administrator, complain to management that they need a professional to come in help solve some difficult problems. Those people have been trying to solve those problems on their own, but are unsure if they are doing it right or that the results are not what they had hoped for.

Management approaches either their HR department or an agency to help them find the right person. What have been seen is that those agencies or HR people get some standard for a DBA from a different technology such as Oracle or MS SQL.

For example, if you see on a job advertisement “Must know how to write procedures, functions and triggers” then it maybe the case that the role was converted from MS SQL. Why? Because it is rare that companies that use MySQL use stored procedures, functions or triggers and tend to prefer to keep the logic inside their application.

Although currently working for a company that does in fact use quite a few store procedures. You have to use your own discretion and see for yourself.


How do you make the leap into being a MySQL DBA?

This would be suggestion:

  1. Take more interest in your MySQL DB at your current work till you feel comfortable with it.
  2. Read articles online. When I first started, this was one of the biggest reason why I decided to be a MySQL DBA. The community around MySQL was/is very welcoming.
  3. Try new things that you read about or came up by yourself – but in your own testing environment. Make doubly sure your findings are correct before recommending it to your company.
  4. Optional: go to a course as a supplement to the above points, not a replacement.

Like many things in open-source, you need to get your hands dirty and dive right in. You need to be curious about it and it needs to excite you. Do not be afraid to try new things and mitigate risks by setting up your own testing environment to practice on. And when you get to a stage when you think you know a lot, buy a few books on the subject and you will discover how much more you can learn about it.

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