The tale of the burned out DBA

By Luke
27th September 2019

Do you have a DBA role open but are not getting applications from people with the right experience? Are the few applicants that do have experience asking for high salaries, that you don’t have the budget for? You are not alone.

It’s not uncommon for recruiters to post roles along the lines of:

  • At least 1 year’s exposure to your preferred cloud platform
  • Understanding of all versions of SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL or other database technology employed
  • Extensive experience in database installation and configuration
  • Solid foundation in sizing, capacity planning & backup solutions
  • Implementation and support experience for HA/DR mechanisms for mission critical multi-terabyte databases
  • Thorough understanding of optimisation and performance tuning
  • Experienced in writing & optimising stored procedures, functions and triggers
  • Strong skills in report writing and development
  • Experience with maintaining and optimizing the databases
  • At least 2 years’ experience in a software product development environment
  • Exposure to the full project lifecycle


Chances are the person doing this role just left. Probably, they burned out.

Chances are that the applicants who are not scared away are asking up to £20k more than the company budget.

And this is not surprising. It all comes down to how your previous DBA came to be responsible for so much; perhaps, 10 years ago ‘Steve’, your loyal service desk representative, had an interest in becoming a DBA, he was trained and promoted and has been doing a sterling job ever since.

Over the years, Steve met the company’s needs with building Reports, and a few ETL packages here and there, he learned on the job proactively and on his own. Over the years the company had more uptime requirements, Steve builds clusters and the databases see 99% uptime.

Steve was a legend.

Then one day, the company decides to move to the cloud and adds that to Steve’s responsibilities. To meet the new requirements Steve works late nights and long weekends, and makes it happen.

Steve is feeling the strain and is offered a position where he has to spread himself less thin, and this is when Steve hands in his notice.

This is also when his management asks HR to “write the job description with everything Steve took care of”. And that’s when the replacement of Steve becomes a problem, trying to find someone with the right level of experience, who fits your budget.

Luckily there is a way out: outsourcing.

Here at WellData we do all the things that Steve used to do for you. In fact, depending on your database estate, this solution will end up being less expensive than bringing on board a full-time employee or two, and you will be able to stop worrying about holiday cover and out of hours. Plus, you won’t need to go through the horrifying recruitment process.

By outsourcing to WellData, you can rely on us for all your database needs.

Find out more about the advantages of outsourced DBA vs in-house DBA

Luke Salter Senior SQL Server DBA
Luke Salter Senior SQL Server DBA

About the Author

Luke Salter is a Senior SQL Server DBA at WellData, providing technical expertise from SQL Server 2000 through to SQL Server 2017 and AWS Cloud Technologies. He is also a keen Pet & Wildlife Photographer who volunteers at his local animal rescue organisation


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