Whether you are an entry level IT professional looking to break into the world of databases or a seasoned networking or server specialist trying his/her hand at a new challenging role, you will quickly find that the field is both interesting and rewarding. While it’s true that many DBAs (Database Administrators) slide into that role by gradually assuming responsibilities in the absence of an actual designated trained employee, for an equal number it is the profession of choice.
One of the major considerations when entering the field is a decision on whether to pursue a Database Development/Business Intelligence or an Database Administration path. The difference can be likened to managing and maintaining the infrastructure (Administration) as opposed to working primarily with the data (importing, exporting, manipulating etc) contained within databases. It is advisable to specialize in one or the other and not attempt to be a generalist. The extensive depth and vast breadth of material, makes being an effective generalist virtually impossible. Selecting an area of expertise and maintaining competency in the other will likely prove to be most fruitful.
Many different database certifications are currently available, and the one you choose will depend greatly on your current employment or future employment goals. Some employers make it a requirement in lieu of a college degree while others simply require you to display some competence. For the sake of personal development, I suggest obtaining certifications in your field (DBA or otherwise). As an effective DBA, you will realize the importance of continual learning, especially since there are always new versions of database software being released.
The final point is one which should not be overlooked. That is the importance of sharing your experiences and lending support to a DBA in need. This could be done in many forms. A teammate with an issue, an online question posted in a public forum by a DBA newbie, questions from your local user group or assistance to non-DBA staff. Shared learning is important as assisting others will help build confidence in your abilities.