This Database Administrator has a unique skillset in the e-commerce market. This article explains the pros and cons of these type of jobs.
My name is Gordon Peck and I currently work in the industry of electronic commerce as an Oracle Database Administrator for the Georgia Department of Education. My position requires specific knowledge of the Oracle platform, including Oracle 10g RAC and 11g production support, experience managing a database in a 24x7 environment, incorporating that experience into online retail, using Shell and SQL skill sets as well as using Dataguard, Oracle ASM, Grid and RMAN. The reason that being an Oracle Database Manager pays six digits as a starting salary is because of the quite specific skill set that an administrator must have. It is only taught in specialized programs and requires a unique type of personality.
I definitely did not go through the more traditional methods of job search etiquette to obtain this particular job, and were it not for a comprehensive effort on my part with the judicious use of online job technology coupled with the undying support of my friends and colleagues, I would still be unemployed. To speak of that, I was unemployed for 2 full years before finding this position, and I think I looked for a job every day of that 2 years without fail.
I absolutely used technology in my most recent job search. I found the position of Oracle Database Administrator quite intriguing, and there was a bit of strategy involved. Because the Oracle platform is a standard, I knew that it would always be in demand somewhere. I just had to make sure that I was open to a relocation.
Also, because the learning curve and the barriers to entry are somewhat high (often requiring a 2 - 4 year specialized program in order to teach to a fully uninitiated person), I knew that the competition for the position, should I learn it, would be lower than the other positions for which I was applying. I therefore used technology not only in the direct job search, but also to take classes in Oracle Database Administration from home while I worked as a freelance affiliate marketer from my laptop.
I also used technology to keep up with what companies were hiring for an Oracle Database Administrator. I followed companies that were hiring for that position through job boards, and I kept their information on a Google Document, updated weekly. I used Google Docs so that my friends who knew that I was looking could update my sheet remotely if any of them heard anything. I thought this course of action much more convenient for them than having to hear about an update, wait until they got a moment, then try to remember what they had heard as they call me. The strategy worked! My current job is thanks to an update I received from a college friend of mine.
If I were applying for the exact same job position tomorrow, but with a different company, I would make sure to show, not tell, to stand out from other applicants. You see, the Oracle Database Administrator position is hardly one that you can simply waltz into. Also, it is not one that can be taught by another member on staff as many times, the person working the Oracle DBA is the only person that knows the system in the entire company.
Many times the interviewer does not even know what the system is for. You have to hold their hand - interview them in a sense. And being able to show what you can do instead of just talking about it would have worked wonders for me, I think. I would have, if I had it to do over again, taken the initiative and given them a free day of my services.
The job interview that went extraordinarily well for me was the one in which the interviewer had a background in e-commerce and could somewhat understand what I was saying when I got technical on him. However, the others did not go as well because those people did not come from my background. It is like a political debate against Presidential candidates: The people who talk real policy are never the ones up in the polls. The ones who focus on the one-liners and the easy-to-follow logic are the ones who actually have the positioning to put changes into place.
What I learned through all of these interviews that did not go well is that you can not assume that the interviewer knows what he or she is talking about, especially when it comes to a highly technical position. I think what I learned is that you have to be prepared to walk someone through something while maintaining a sense of humor and keeping the conversation on a basic level if need be.
The most important thing that I learned about the professional job search process is that people overwhelmingly, even in this recessionary economy, are hiring people that they like. I found that the companies that liked me the most were the companies that I saw early in the morning, right after I had my coffee and was at my most energetic. The job skill set that I brought in was almost, but not quite, secondary. It almost seemed as if they were rooting for me after a certain period.
I did use the services of the Career Center. I found some friends who helped my Google Doc stay updated! If I could do one thing from my professional career over, I would have learned Oracle much sooner than I did!
By: Stephen Tanner