Author Topic: Upside potential for a DBA?  (Read 1984 times)


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 955
  • Location: NoVA
Upside potential for a DBA?
« on: September 09, 2015, 01:21:48 PM »
I'm 43, has been a database administrator for the better part of my career. Making ~150K currently in a HCOL East Coast area. Looking to FIRE by 50.

Both my wife and I are fairly frugal, and have steps to downsize and cut expenses more or less mapped out. But while I am working, why not maximize earnings? And since a lot of this board is apparently in the hi-tech field, what a better place to ask for advice?

There is an opportunity at work to learn ElasticSearch, HBase, or MongoDB. All look equally interesting to me. Which one has a better earning potential for someone on the administration side of things (not a developer)? Or is staying with relational databases (Oracle, Postgres), but looking for a better employment opportunity or a consulting/sales engineering type of work a way to go? If it helps, I have a "lead architect" title, but not really enjoying managing a team.

Glassdoor shows significantly lower salaries in our area. However, people I personally know (and candidates I interview) earn more in line with what I make than with Glassdoor.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1837
  • Location: NJ, USA
    • KOWines: Deep discount wine/spirits store.
Re: Upside potential for a DBA?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2015, 01:35:44 PM »
One problem with being a DBA with something common (Oracle/Sybase etc.), is that it is extremely easy to outsource the job. DBAs and system admins are endangered species now.

My wife is a DBA [Sybase:-( ] and what she did was to get additional skills which prevents her job from being outsourced. She learnt security skills (Guardium) which means that for the next 3 to 5 years, she should easily find a job. After about 3 years, her plan is to find  and become competent in the next skill which will make her a desirable employee.

So, my suggestion is to gain complementary skills. Looks like MongoDB etc may become big, so that may be an option.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 238
  • Location: Sydney
Re: Upside potential for a DBA?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2015, 05:56:14 PM »
Yeah my view is its essentially a gamble about where to invest your time and whats the next big thing.
*Obviously AWS is big so ElasticSearch seems good, but maybe Azure will pick up its game.
*HBase is part of the current market leaders suite, but Java is an older language that may fall out of flavour in terms of maxing upside.
*MongoDB looks promising, but its a skillset that could be taken over by specialist full-stack JS devs rather than DBAs.

In a way you're lucky as you've limited you need for a language to be around to your RE time of 7 years. My gut feel is stick away from ElasticSearch, do HBase if you know Java and if not do MongoDB.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!