Employment for DBAs is projected to grow 15 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that’s a slightly slower gain than is anticipated for some other areas of technology, it’s still significant enough to get attention. Among those DBAs, industry watchers say, many positions will go to those with Oracle DBA experience.
John Reed, a Colorado-based senior executive director at Robert Half Technologies, is bullish on Oracle DBA hiring trends. “Oracle is positioned really, really well,” he says. “When most people think about relational databases, it gets broken down into Oracle and SQL server. The market for Oracle DBAs is strong right now and I would anticipate it would at least maintain that level if not increase in values over the next 12 to 18 months.”
A Mixed Bag by Region
As with all technology, the need varies from region to region. While Reed, who abstracts data from Robert Half offices across the U.S. and Canada, sees a solid market for Oracle DBAs, recruiters in the northeast aren’t as enthusiastic.
“We’ve only placed a couple of them in the past couple years,” says Tracy Cashman, partner and senior vice president at the Boston-based WinterWyman. “One of the factors is that it’s a job that’s pretty easy to outsource. You’ll find a lot of those jobs offshore and if they’re on-shore, they’re handled by consulting firms.”
From where she sits, Cashman sees SQL Server cutting into Oracle’s domain. More robust environments can now run SQL, though until recently that wasn’t the case. DBA jobs are also often held by tenured employees, so fewer openings are available. Advances in technology, including automation, have pressured the need for large teams of DBAs, as well.
Reed agrees that regional needs play a part in hiring. In addition, he sees a given IT department’s dominant computing environment as another influencing factor. “You may have some organizations that live in the Microsoft stack, but other organizations may have a much more diverse computing environment and Oracle can be the primary database,” he says.
Broad Skill Set Provides a Boost
Regional and computing differences aside, Robert Half sees growth potential for Oracle DBAs with varied skill portfolios. “There’s a preference for Big Data and more companies are asking for diversity in working with structured and unstructured data,” says Reed, who adds that DBAs should brush up on MySQL, MongoDB and Hadoop. “We continue to see demand for DBL and PL/SQL,” he continues, “and Oracle 12c is something you want to have experience with, too.”
Reed’s also noticed that Oracle ATG is gaining momentum, and the market wants more Oracle RAC, too. His final analysis: “If you don’t have experience in some of those areas, it’s probably where you want to invest some time.”