Survey: what’s in a job title?

There's been a lot of discussion on the MVP distribution list about various certifications and what SQL Server roles they cater to. Furthermore, there's a lot of disagreement on what the multitude of job titles mean. In this survey I'd like to find out what you think your primary job role is, and if you're up for it, add a comment or send email about what you job role is, what you're expected to do under that job role, and what you're not expected to do.

[Edit: The survey is closed. You can read the results HERE.]

Note: I don't imply anything by the order of job roles in the survey.

I'll report on the results during the first week of January.


40 thoughts on “Survey: what’s in a job title?

  1. I get to gather requirments, write requirements, write technical specs for developers, test ETL jobs, validate reports, write and publish reports on SSRS and sometimes troubleshoot production issues.

  2. Paul,

    When you mention "Developer and DBA", I hope it is database developer & dba instead of application developer & dba. Am I wrong?


  3. My official title is DBA. (Which is what I voted.) My official duties are mostly production support, a little bit of assistance with stored procs and such, mostly performance related. Oh, that and, "if anyone screws up entering data, fix that too…"

  4. Pretty much all else than what Don Kolenda listed, and none of that.
    T-SQL, SSRS, SSIS, lots of SSAS (MDX), performance tuning

    Job title: Sr. Consultant (should read Database Developer & BI Professional)

  5. Interestingly enough, when I freelance my business cards say "Database Developer" on them. I’ve never considered myself much of an admin, even when I was a *nix sysadmin I programmed my way out of having to do any administration :)

  6. Job title: Developer

    Strong focus on backend development (SQL Server & .NET) including database design, development, query optimisation and performance testing. Also work on maintenance-related scripts such as manual archiving/partitioning of data (no Enterprise Edition here!). Heavy focus in my role on the performance/scalability side of things so SQL Profiler/execution plans etc are not things to shy away from – some people feel that’s crossing more into DBA territory but I personally think it’s a very key part of being a developer.

  7. Job title: Consultant

    Meaning: If it’s even tangentially associated with SQL Server, I’m generally expected to be able to do it. ;-)
    Seriously, these days it’s mostly a mix of database design, database development, query optimisation and SSIS development with occasional forays into admin (backups and configuration)

  8. I work in the BI team, in a consultant house in Denmark, responsible for the datawarehouse, data mart, ETL jobs, SSAS cubes. Officially I’m a database developer by title, but as there is no DBA in the house, I do also DBA tasks when needed. I sat the backup (and restore, Paul) plan. I make sure the servers work as they should, and whenever IT gets an alert from one of the SQL Server machines, I’m the one who’s expected to fix the problem.

    I picked the Database Developer role, as it’s my primary role. I believe that any database developer/modeler/architect/designer/builder/etc. must know all the things a DBA should know. You cannot create decent products, within an environment you do not know and understand. Yet the DBA role is "only" to maintain what is developed, to make sure that what the architect designed works as it intended by her, to make sure that backups are taken wisely, that the restore plan works, that statistics are being gathered, and used, disk space, IO, performance baseline etc. If a pure DBA finds a problem, which requires him/her to change the code in a procedure or to change the database schema design, then he or she must contact the developer, as these changes must be made by a database developer, in a development environment.

    I do not care if the DBA and the developer are the same person, as long as they make sure they wear the relevant "hat" for each task.

  9. Pretty much anything that has to do with managing SQL Server databases. This includes performance monitoring, daily maintenance, installations and upgrades, troubleshooting, and capacity planning.

  10. Job title: SQL Developer / DBA

    From my original job posting:
    The database developer will work on a variety of challenging and complex problems in a dual-role; providing support to the application development teams as well as the providing direct support to the production database systems.

    Really, I provide on call support for the production systems, I do query tuning, I deal with data integration (using SSIS, Service Broker, Linked Servers, etc), I write and update stored procedures, etc. Prior to this job I was pretty much a B.I. guy.

  11. My title is DBA. That means anything dealing with databases(performance, design, ha/dr, dev), applications or the network usually ends up at my feet. From troubleshooting firewall issues (so users can get to the db) to helping the AppDevs use their ORM’s correctly(very rarely do they take the time to learn to use them correctly on their own), I need to be on top of it. It is a large hat for sure, but I have a huge head so bring it on. Phone typing so laugh away if there are some awkward word replacings.

  12. My title is "Database Developer" My company that sells enterprise solutions to colleges. Other coworkers take care of the hardware, clustering and security. Here’s an (incomplete) list of what I do.
    * I’m an in-house consultant for a number of products.
    * I’m responsible for the performance and scalability of the database.
    * Day to day, I often audit sql scripts and schema changes.
    * DB design.
    * Troubleshoot when our support team determines a problem is database-side, but not hardware.
    * Give lunch-and-learns for .net developers on best practices and standards.

    I’m really curious about the results. I often wonder whether my job title reflects what I do well enough (in 4 words or shorter).
    But the survey might shed light more on blog readership demographics and less on job title semantics.

  13. I wrote in "Data Administrator." While there is an actual DA position, and it has to do with metadata management, my position is far beyond that. When I was given the title, it was explained to me that it was so they could give me any and all data related tasks from SQL Server administration, helping out with reports, to data entry and cleanup. It’s quite the cluster…

  14. Hi Paul. I’m currently a Developer DBA. What that means, at least in my current environment, is that I primarily focus on new database development. And by that, I mean I primarily create new schema and stored procedures, with some SSIS packages when necessary. I’m a Developer DBA and not a Database Developer because I’m also responsible for things like maintenance, ad hocs, query optimization, and troubleshooting. However, backups, security, replication, etc. all fall under a different group’s responsibilities.

    I’ll be interested to see the results.

    Thanks, and have a great day! :)

  15. Paul,interesting.
    I have a small discussion with Christoph Muthmann; is a DBA = DataBase Administrator or how Glenn and Christoph think DBA = DataBase Architect – and?
    I wish you a nice day,

  16. Voted DBA, since that’s my job title and primary role. But I was torn, because I’m also called upon quite frequently to do T-SQL development work to support our application developers.

    That said, my current role as DBA pretty much means I’m responsible for planning, installing, maintaining, recovering, administering, reporting on, and praying over any technology that has "SQL" in its name. Need an SSIS package? My job. Need an SSAS instance set up? My job. Reporting Services configuration? My job. Etc. It’s a consequence of working in a small firm which recognized it needed a dedicated SQL Server role, but simply can’t justify having multiple such roles. Another consequence of which is that I’m also pretty much the level-1 Windows administrator for the machines hosting SQL Server, and the guy responsible for monitoring and reporting on SQL Server technologies via SCOM.

  17. I selected SME from the other list. Currently I manage the SQL Servers. In the short future I’ll be moving the data center from our MSP to a CoLo and I’ll be managing the VMware servers, SAN, SQL Servers, etc.

  18. My title is DBA, but since we are a small company I do everything with the databases. This includes database development, database administration, database design, setting up the cluster for the database, ect.

  19. My consulting role consists of everything SQL Server – Relation Engine and BI stack. I do a lot of performance tuning of both hardware and applications, query tuning, architecture configuration, storage configurations, HA/DR reviews and planning, migration/consolidation/upgrade planning. Data modeling and schema design and some DB dev. I do one-on-one training and classroom training. :) But you know what consulting is…

  20. My title is a Database Administrator thus I selected DBA. However, I possibly fall into several options.

    duties including but not limited to:
    1) per Don Kolenda "Pretty much anything that has to do with managing SQL Server databases. This includes performance monitoring, daily maintenance, installations and upgrades, troubleshooting, and capacity planning."
    2) SSRS Development(Hoping to do more of this)
    3) SSIS Package creation( hoping to do more of this)
    4) Developer code review(T-SQL, databse objects: tables, Stored Procedures, etc.)
    5) environment management(PROD, QA, TEST, DEVELOPMENT) including deployments to these environments as well. Fortunately all DB related objects need to go through the ‘DBA Team’ except for DEVELOPMENT. Developers can play all they want but eventually we will see it before it goes on to the next level. We at times can be a bottleneck due to limited resources but at least nothing will ‘go out’ without our review and approval.

  21. Enterprise DBA, Architect, and Developer responsible for Development, QA, and Production environments of a 24×7 Social-Site Aggregator.

    Responsibilities include:
    1) Design and implement an environment able to maintain 100% up-time (2 years and running — ignoring the painful speed-bump called Database Mirroring). The includes propping new hardware, O/S, Clustering, SAN-management, and ongoing maintenance while balancing needs with budgetary constraints.
    2) Participate in all database related changes.
    3) Participate in application architecture, design and implementation as DBA and Developer (T-SQL and Application code).
    4) Responsible for BI-related development and support
    5) Responsible for Data-Warehouse activity
    6) Involved in all Release Pushes from Development to QA to Production
    7) Responsible for performance issues in Production and communicating any needed changes to the development team or implementing them myself.
    8) Responsible for providing a recovery mechanism if everything fails — Having valid backups helps.
    9) Always on-call. If not able to be near a system, then able to coordinate activity until I am able to be in-front of a system.
    10) I am certain I missed something and simply tossing in the anything a DBA, DB-Developer, BI-Developer would do or be responsible for should cover it.

    I would like to include a serious jealousy of "Emil Fridriksson’s" job at CCP — See his comment above.

  22. I get to be a Database systems Coordinator. Not "Administrator" as that applies to a role that is lower in the Co. hierarchy than a "Coordinator".

    Roles that I fulfil Systems Analysis, Requirements Analysis, Project Management, Application Development (web and .exe), Database Admin (checking backups, security, config etc), Database Development (new databases, changes to existing), Performance Tuning/Code checking other BI users, Capacity Planning and Upgrades (hard/soft ware), Liaison between ICT and MI teams, HA/DR.

  23. Official title is programmer/analyst. Work takes the analyst part to the max and I find myself doing everything from system administration to database development to web. The key phrase in my job description is "…and additional duties as assigned".

  24. I’m a developer and DBA and pretty much the sole person running our 5 instances of SQL Server across two machines. Though my title is senior developer, it doesn’t stop of writing VFP/.Net/T-SQL code. I do the research and purchasing of hardware, admin of the boxes, setup of software, maintenance scripts/schedules, and performance tuning. It’s been a fun ride but I feel like the jack of all trades. I can’t specialize in a certain area because each one needs my focus. I’m working on my MCITP for DBA and Developer 2008 certifications. But, I feel we work with SQL Server in a unique way that makes it a lot of fun to work with.

  25. My job title is "Senior virtual world database administrator" and I have a hard time translating it to Icelandic.

    I’m the senior DBA over the team that manages the massively multiplayer online game EVE Online and other projects CCP Games is working on.

    My duties are maintenance and monitoring of the production and test database servers for EVE Online, consultation with developers about database issues, hardware scoping for database servers, resolving customer support issues escalated from the customer support department, development of maintenance scripts, maintaining PCI compliance, mentoring the other DBAs in the team, SAN configuration, maintenance and monitoring as well as some operations of the application servers that run Eve Online.
    All the regular DBA things and a few that would go under developer, SAN admin or IT admin.

    I’m probably forgetting something :)

  26. My title is DBA but like most other commenters here I wear multiple hats. I’m the senior DBA in our company only because I have the most knowledge and I’m responsible for the day-to-day management of 10 servers plus dev and testing. Because of that I’m usually brought in when other servers have issues. I do some database development work and some BI tasks. I’m probably not an Enterprise DBA since most decisions about SQL architecture (server configuration, SAN configuration, HA/DR, etc.) are made by other non-DBA managers.

  27. I selected dBA, but do more; really just a JOATMON. Server (hardware) setups, OS installs, SQL Server installs. Help administer Avamar, SANs and a real lovely job: Software Compliance in addition to Sysadm duties. Everything to do with managing SQL Server once databases are established, both production and dev. Very little T-SQL, some SSRS, some performance tuning. I work in a small IT shop and all of the people wear several hats.

  28. Voted for "Developer and DBA", meaning that I handle everything DB-related, from business analysis to schema design to sql coding to instances support. No client-side development whatsoever, of course, except SSRS.

  29. Interesting topic. Title and what the title should emply vs. what is actually asked of a person to do seem to always be a problem. In my current and prior 2 positions where I’ve been tasked to perform SQL duties, I’d say the actual and litteral are converging, finally. Here’s some history:

    Current Title: SQL DBA / Developer
    Implied duties via title: Administration and DB development
    Actual duties: Mainly development so far, leaning toward BI dev (new warehouse going up!)

    Previous Title: Data Programmer / Analyst
    Implied duties: Stored procedure creation – SME between business needs and data
    Actual duties: Created SSRS reports, maintained data warehouse

    First SQL Title: Technical Analyst
    Implied duties: Distil tech requirements of business group
    Actual duties: Build / maintain data warehouse, create reports, manage DTS ETL framework and process

    Title’s have always been a bit weird for me. I never seem to be doing what my title implies. My most recent title is just about right on though. Currently short on the Admin part of the title, but it’s brand new, so there’s quite a large backlog of development work which needs to be done.

  30. I’m an independent consultant filling an "Operational DBA" role for a mid-size (200 SQL Server installs) web marketing company.

  31. Paul-

    I chose DBA. I do ETL with SSIS, performance monitoring and tuning. I help develop reports through SSRS. I do a bit of application support and database design as well as we have a company writing a custom application for us.
    I have also continue to develop, test, and document our recovery strategy.
    We are a smalller sized company so I don’t work with most of the enterprise features of SQL

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