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9 Habits of Our Highly Effective DBAs

Erika Kalar

By Erika Kalar

Posted on: December 7, 2018

Top tips from ObjectRocket DBAs on how they keep their skills sharp.

  1. Sharpen your coding skills. Everyone knows that gaining more code skills in any tech job helps. Where to start, though? Pick a language that suits the datastore you’re most skilled at. For example, Python for MongoDB.
  2. Focus on the database, but spare some time for other stack components. When it comes to successfully scaling databases, the entire stack matters. The network, the app, firewalls, connection handling, bulk operators, etc.
  3. Read. Keep up with what others are doing to get creative ideas for solutions.
    Some of our favorites:
    Information is Beautiful
    Percona Blog
    Unbalanced Paren
    I Quant NY
  4. Attend as many good conferences as you can. Not only do you learn new things, but you get a chance to create lasting connections with other database engineers that face the same struggles you face. There’s something powerful about being around fellow DBAs and open source enthusiasts that’s inspiring.
    Some of our favorites:
    Percona Live
    Elastic{ON}
    Kubecon
  5. Be open to new ideas. There are usually so many ways to accomplish what you’re doing.
  6. Make mistakes. You can (and will) make mistakes. The important part is learning from your mistakes. Take the time to have a retro. Learn and grow.
  7. Keep your end user (and developers) top of mind. The needs of the database will come a second or third on the developer’s priority list. They’ll be looking for the best performance to put in front of the application user. Show developers how they can optimize what they do for the best performance and data quality. Help make sure they are properly equipped to work with the database.
  8. Do a fun project with a data store. Have fun and learn new things. For example, we connected our cold brewed coffee keg with ElastAlert and Kibana so we can visualize our caffeine consumption, and use Slack to alert us whenever we need to order more. Not only did this help our entire office see the power of Kibana, but we learned a lot along the way about using alerts.
  9. Coffee is your friend. Speaking of our cold brewed coffee, our DBAs mention that it’s important to always have some caffeine around.

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