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A little off technical topic and (hopefully) in good humor, I want to talk about DBA crushes. Most techies have them, but as a female DBA, I can refer to them as “crushes” without anyone taking too much offense to the term, (hey, I’m after these guys for their technically brilliant minds, mind you!) I’m sure some folks may bristle with the term, but we do have a tendency to follow certain “super stars” in the technical world like most people follow rock stars in the real world!
I’ve read DBA and Developer, consistently gush over Tom Kyte and Jonathan Lewis- two of the “alpha” DBA’s in the world of database administration. Many of the DBA’s, when discussing Tom or Jonathan, sound like my 12 year old daughter’s friends talking about the coolest boy in the class! I do understand completely- both Tom and Jonathan simply rock. Now maybe it’s because I also didn’t go for the cool boys in school, but they don’t, no matter how technically solid and correct that they are, make me technically swoon… I find their writing interesting, accurate and up to date, but they don’t make my mind race or give me the technical thrill ones I refer to as my DBA crushes do.
Now, my DBA crushes are the ones that I read an article or white paper from and it resonates with me. There is a connection, a technical kindred soul that reaches out and filling the void of that technical feature, makes everything clear. The light goes off in my head and I think “Finally, someone who understands!” They are sometimes interested in the same aspects of the feature or simply explain the feature with explanations and logic that synchronize with how my mind works.
Of course, I then proceed to technically stalk the person and search down every blog post, article, white paper and comment I can find from them. The demand to reconnect and gleam more knowledge is always a powerful thing. I am quite aware how I religiously read anything I can from Tanel Poder and Wolfgang Breitling on the cost based optimizer. I search out Cary Milsap because common sense is just plain rare in database administration, let alone legibly in English. For James Koopman and Tim Gorman I read their articles because I’ve worked with them, trust them- knowing that these are two great DBA’s that want you to be as great as they are. I scope out Alex Gorbachev and Martin Widlake for all the various topics that make me go “hmmmmm…”, (which I like since my brain prefers to be worked out…) Last, but not least, I really enjoy the no-nonsense view on Oracle by Niall Litchfield.
In my decade or so as a DBA, I don’t know if I’ve met another one who didn’t have at least one DBA crush, one other DBA that they idolized and followed, either buying their books, reading their blogs or searching for their articles. It’s a wonderful thing, these crushes, since DBA’s in the field are able to offer and connect to us in ways no one else can. Honestly, my husband gets rather bored after hearing 20 minutes on the cost based optimizer and dynamic sampling… 🙂