Database Admin or Network Admin

iSkateiSkate Member Posts: 8 ■□□□□□□□□□
i'm an entry level tech working towards a help desk position and hopefully a network admin. however, everyone says "network security"- focus on that it's in demand. When i look around, it doesn't seem so in demand? It seems like everybody is going in that direction, they want to be a network admin, too. I'm sure this may be more or less due to where i'm at (san francisco), but still! Now, when i do a job search for SQL or just "database" it seems like not only a huge window of mass opportunity, but a more satisfying pay scale. Now, i'm not trying to ditch
my original focus for a few bucks, but seeing this "database developer" etc makes me wonder.... Since i'm totally clueless about database admin and haven't really heard too many of my tech friends talk about it, could you all school me on a database admin. what are the pro's and cons, how does it compare to a network admin (stress level, hours)?


  • phreakphreak Member Posts: 170 ■■□□□□□□□□
    While I cannot comment much on your post topic, I can assure you that network security jobs are all over. You just have to know where to look for them. Most of them can be found on the various government job postings. The drawback for the majority of us new (less than 5 years exp.) individuals is that most of the security jobs require 5-10 years experience in multiple areas of IT expertise. The jobs that are at the top all require a good 10+ years of experience plus CISSP certification.
  • SchluepSchluep Member Posts: 346
    Both are in very high demand. The high paying Database positions typically require certifications and experience as well though. The Oracle 11g certifications are being requested more and more, but so are DB2 and other Database Certifications. A lot of companies and consulting firms typically also require experience not only with their DMBS but also their reporting systems and the type of data you will be working with. For example, I did a lot of work with object oriented databases containing GIS data and needed to be famliar with manipulating GIS files and projected them properly. If you are looking through DBA positions more closely you will notice many of them require experience in things such as Informix, Oracle, DB2, Sybase, SQL Server, MySQL, Access, and many more things specific to the position and type of DBMS they are using.

    Not only do you often need database knowledge and knowledge in the specific field a company operates, but other types of experience and knowledge are also needed. Programming knowledge is often needed to a certain degree with a lot of database positions as well. You have to keep in mind that as a DBA you are usually not only responsible for working with data but also ensuring proper back-up and database integrity procedures are in place. Access controls need to be in place to prevent unauthorized use of the database (ties in to security here that you mentioned). You will often have to work closely with programmers to ensure their software can interact properly with your database and test with them. Ensuring high availability of the database is also critical. Just like if a network goes down, if something happens to the database calls on the weekend of after hours can be a part of many DBA positions.

    As phreak already mentioned and as can be seen by looking through many of the topics here, network and especially InfoSec positions also require experience and certifications as well. Either path has lots of positions available but there is also a lot of work involved and they require specific types of people. There are some great posts by Keatron in the various Security certification boards here going into specifics on this topic that I highly recommend you take a look at.

    Choose based on something you could truly see yourself doing and don't decide just based upon the pay or the number of positions available on a job search website. I started off in database and am now transitioning to InfoSec because database got to be monotonous and I wanted new challenges. It provided a great platform for moving into Security in my case just like years of networking experience can also do. Typically you to become involved in Security you need some background working with the things you will be securing or there is no way that you can have the degree of knowledge needed to secure them.
  • TechJunkyTechJunky Member Posts: 881
    I do database admin/engineer stuff for small databases compared to some people on this board.

    I manage around 20 SQL 2000 clients and 20 SQL 2005 clients. I also manage a propriatary SQL application for over 200 clients that is Sybase based. I have no experience with Oracle or MySQL, but imagine the context and language is very familiar. With coming from a pure windows/cisco background I can tell you this job is so much more intriguing just because its awesome what you can do with SQL to create custom modifications to fit a business's needs.

    I use Crystal Reporting, Label software that interfaces with these databases and a lot of importation from Access as well. There is so much to learn and I would say you would really need 5 years or so of in depth working with the products much like you would with microsoft or cisco to consider yourself even worthy of getting a job directly relating in only database administration. I have 2 years under my belt and I feel like the new kid on the block still. I have customized tons of reports/custom sql script modifications and still learn new things everyday.

    I wish I had the time to sit down and just program all day because there is so much opportunity in the database world, plus the min starting salary's are usually around 60min if you have 2 years experience with SQL 2005, oracle and MySQL. Most jobs around here start 80k+ if you are any good.

    There is no such thing though as trying to do both windows or cisco along with the database stuff. There is so much in detail you need to learn about SQL within itself that if you took away time from the database side to get experience into the windows side I really think it would be hard to get a database job. I came from 5 years of Windows/cisco administration/analyst experience so luckily I already have that behind my belt so it helps with programming, but no way in heck would I want to try and learn both at the same time.
  • filkenjitsufilkenjitsu CCNA R&S, CCNA SP Member Posts: 564 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Two completely different jobs really.

    Just research what you would like to do. A DB admin is VERY different than a Network admin.
    Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications - Mt. Sierra College
    Masters of Networking and Communications Management, Focus in Wireless - Keller
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