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So long story short. I work with Databases and i have a lot of Dev friends around.

One thing that i keep listening from them (edited) is how much work they have and they're working nonstop while saying that my job is easy because "I just work when something wrong happens and theres almost nothing to do (we work with tickets and theres almost 0 to none tickets to the database area, since nothing wrong happens)".

Well as a DBA only I know how much work I put here for thing to never go wrong. In my mind this is my job, to keep the company like this, with 0 errors, no slow queries, backups 100% protected.

And until you guys say something, I will continue to try to keep databases organized, creating reports, and other database administration tasks.

Is it fair/accurate to compare 2 different areas of technical responsibility?

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  • In the U.K. the expected reply would be “you’re talking out of your arse, and you know it”, which would be appropriate both in the case they know it and in the case they don’t. – gnasher729 Dec 17 '19 at 12:45
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    On some other site it was reported how a new manager fired all DBAs just before Christmas to save money because they didn’t do anything. End of January things started breaking. February they were all rehired at higher salaries, and March the new manager was out of a job. – gnasher729 Dec 17 '19 at 12:48
  • That's exactly what I feel Being a DBA. we work in the background, nobody knows what our jobs are doing, or how organized we are to protect the environment. In my mind, if "I'm doing nothing" it's because my job is 100% effective. If I have to work nonstop , something is wrong. – Green Baloon Dec 17 '19 at 13:05
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    There are always people who think someone else doesn't work as hard or as long or as much as they do. Why does this matter to you? Why do you care? You should care what your manager thinks about your work output and the quality of your work. What does your manager have to say about it? – joeqwerty Dec 17 '19 at 13:08
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    A fun shot back at the developers would be to complain about how they can't do their job right because they always have tickets and bug fixes or feature releases. "Just do it right the first time so there aren't any errors". Then when they complain that things break, just tell them thats what you do as well. – Shadowzee Dec 17 '19 at 23:01
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is it fair to compare the amount of work between 2 different areas?

No, it is not an accurate comparison, as the roles as traditionally defined are very different. In my experience, a developer's work is more visible while the dba's typically are only noticed when things go wrong. This has been a reality that dba's have lived with for some time.

We had the same discussions on my team at times, but now we as developers are aware of the work our dba's do. Our companies dba's are not just administrators, they also help us get updates to the products out the door, and are a part of the development team. They will create new databases, help with security, create stored procedures, views, etc. ( more development versus administration )

If your role doesn't include some SQL coding, perhaps you can become more integrated with the development team by absorbing some of the database related development? If not, find some way to make the work you do day to day visible to the rest of the organization.

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    A DBA's job is also architectural design. Any moron can create a database with VARCHAR(MAX) across every column, but my gosh, I would hate to work on that table. You will feel like you don't need a DBA until you do, but at that point, it's too late. – Nelson Dec 18 '19 at 5:42
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Is it fair to compare 2 areas?

Yes, it is fair. The comparison cannot be done 1-to-1, of course, but your colleagues do not need that.

Your colleagues need to understand that you also have your own share of the work and problems, just that they are different and not visible from their work place.

Your best bet is to explain them your work, and what you do to make things working well. Since they are developers, they must understand at least partially what you explain to them.

In this way, they will understand better your problems, and you will hear less of their comments.

I cannot give you to-the-point advice (I have never been a DB admin), but here are some ideas that you can share with them:

  • the alarms that can wake you up at any time - even if it did not happen yet;
  • the scripts you must write in order to monitor and fix things;
  • the logs analysis that you must do to understand what is going on;

and the effects on yourself (brainstorming, you choose what actually applies):

  • sore eyes;
  • difficulties falling asleep;
  • interrupted sleep during the night in case of alarms get triggered;
  • the cold server room (hopefully it is cooled, right?);
  • the thermal shocks going in and out - potentially leading to other health problems

and you can continue with whatever you actually experience yourself.


You can take the other route, being more and more irritated at your colleagues, and talking to them in worse and worse terms. But that will lead to a bad work environment for you.

Actually, you should be happy that they trust you to the level to actually ask those questions. I worked in companies where nobody asked anything, but things happened - behind the back. One could never defend against anything, even if completely innocent, since no info was ever shared, no complaint made.

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It sounds like what is going on is that the developers have all their work tracked in a ticketing system, but you do not.

Therefore, I think a simple solution is to start creating tickets for all the work you do, not just the incidents.

For example, if you analyse the performance of the ABCD query, write a ticket. If you re-write that query, write another ticket. If you create a one-off-report, write a ticket. Write a new job to rebuild indices, write a ticket. etc. etc. etc.

Not only will this show the other team how busy you actually are, it will provide you (and your boss) with great insight to what you are spending your time on.

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  • Yes, keeping work organized isn't the only point of having a ticket system. Showing how much you do is another one. Making tickets for the work you do, doing the work, then closing the tickets, makes it measurable how much you do. For your work to be appreciated, you need to make it visible and measurable. – ObscureOwl Dec 18 '19 at 6:52
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This is psychology. How does one group of employees, with only a vague understanding of the daily activities of another group of employees, judge their abilities when they have limited viability into their actual job?

We always have trouble making this comparison. We see it with imposter syndrome, Dunning–Kruger, Illusory superiority. Sometimes we are critical about our skills, sometimes were are critical about other employees skills.

Some people are better at fixing problems, others are better at developing new objects, others are better at keeping things operating smoothly. That is true when we are talking about developers, DBAs, engineers, medical doctors, teachers, or any other profession.

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    "Everything is easy for those who don't have to do it". – gnasher729 Dec 17 '19 at 14:13
  • @gnasher729 what you said is pure gold. I will take this forever! – Green Baloon Dec 17 '19 at 16:16

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