I am trying to become an Oracle DBA, but every advert I see requires at least six months' DBA experience. I have been working with Oracle for 18 months but get rejected as I have no "real" DBA experience. Who would I be best applying to and what can I do to improve my chances?
Approach your employer
You are generally correct in your observation that most jobs advertised require anything between six months' and two years' experience in the necessary skills set. It is an indictment of our industry's continued reluctance to train staff. However, this situation is easing as we enter another period where demand for certain skills far outweighs supply - Oracle currently being one of the premier skills.
To improve your chances, approach your current employer and examine the opportunities for cross-training internally. There may be a development programme for staff that allows you to train on company (or your own) time, with a view to transferring into a new role - this will give you the experience you need.
Alternatively, you could take external training and use that as a basis for demonstrating your commitment to this area with potential employers and that you have the theoretical knowledge for a DBA role.
Finally, Oracle DBAs are in huge demand and it is worth persevering with other job applications - employers' flexibility will increase through this year.
Solution by Michael Bennett, director, Best People
The panel: Elan, Apex, Best International Group, Capita Tomkins Computer Futures, Computer People, Monarch Recruitment, ITNTO
This was first published in May 2000