How did I became an (Oracle) Database Administrator

How did I became an (Oracle) Database Administrator

Every now and then, I get questions asking me how did I get into the field of database administration. Getting a role as a DBA is tricky. If you look at the requirements for DBA, they usually require more than 3 years of experience. There are very few companies looking for fresh graduates for DBA role.

After completing my 2 years of mandatory National Service (NS), I began to look for an IT job. 2 years of NS reduced my IT knowledge to non-existence. I was out of touch with the IT industry. I couldn’t even tell you what version was .NET framework at that time. I attended an interview (System Engineer) with a web-hosting company in Singapore. It was a horrible experience.

Interviewer: So, why do you want to join the IT industry?
Me: Because I love technology and I think it’s rather interesting.

He started asking me technical questions about the position and I could barely answer his questions. At the end of the interview, he made this remark.

I’m going to be frank with you because I do not want to waste your time. I will not hire you. You have no talent in IT. Since you mentioned that you are interested in technology, why don’t you go and try to sell handphones. It will probably suit you better.

I was devastated. I felt so insulted and shameful of myself. I was never insulted like this before. I went home and cried my lungs out. I didn’t had to mood to attend any interviews after that. I was seriously contemplating about what to do with my career. Then, my brother introduced me a 2 month free Oracle database course (MDeC KDI programme) in Malaysia, KL.

I worked my ass off for 2 months straight and got my first Oracle certification (OCA 11G DBA). When I got back to Singapore, I applied for many Oracle DBA positions and finally I got an interview from Seagate. It took me about 3 months of job hunting. The interview went like this.

He asked me 2 technical questions.

1. Purpose of Redo log
2. Purpose of Undo log

Interview: Why do you want to join us?
Me: Because I want to learn. The job scope is exactly what I am looking for. The salary does not matter to me, you can pay me $800 and I will still want the job.

And yes, I got hired in the end. πŸ™‚

Today, I am still very grateful to my hiring manager at that time (I still drink coffee with him once in a while). He told me, the only reason why he hired me was because of my attitude, he knew that I was eager to prove myself and that was why I will be willing to put in everything I got to make it work. My advice to all fellow IT professionals, keep that learning attitude and your chance will come. Don’t give up and don’t get discouraged by the nay-sayers.

We have a saying in Chinese.


Chance is for those who are prepared.


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