Why is the DBA the happiest job – in-spite of stress?

English: WMF Tech Staff Group Photo - honoring...
English: WMF Tech Staff Group Photo – honoring Domas Mituzas, a volunteer database administrator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I shared a story about stress. It’s called How to deal with IT and programming stress IT and programming stress. In the story, it mentions that programming is one of the most stressful jobs. It’s also a great paying job, which offers intellectual satisfaction.

This week, I read an article entitled The Happiest And Unhappiest Jobs In 2014 Happiest jobs. In the article, three jobs are mentioned at providing the most happiness:

Let’s focus on the first one, since it is an IT job. And stress was one major factor in IT job burnout, as we found from my previous article. The article on happy jobs asks this question: “Why does database administrator rank as the No. 1 happiest job, and what exactly does the work entail?” They went on to provide two answers I found interesting:

  • “Here’s the Bureau of Labor Statistics description of the job: ‘Database administrators (DBAs) use specialized software to store and organize data, such as financial information and customer shipping records. They make sure that data are available to users and are secure from unauthorized access.”’
  • “’Because of their importance inside organizations, they can be the key driver of success,’ she says. In the survey, DBAs gave especially high marks for the quality of their daily tasks and for job control.”

What about the stress of being a DBA? Actually, if you Google the words “Stress DBA”, you find some excellent blog posts on this topic. For example, there is DBA’s biggest enemy at DBA biggest enemy. The author mentions these items – among others – as stress factors:

  • Frustration and responsibility: DBAs get often blamed for problems that are beyond their control: “Why is the database slow”?
  • On-call and overtime: Most DBAs work day and night. Or at least are available around the clock.


MySQL Remote DBA training by Rakesh Kumar, OSSCube
MySQL Remote DBA training by Rakesh Kumar, OSSCube (Photo credit: OSSCube)




  • Fire fighting: no time left for proactive work. Because there are not enough DBAs for supporting all the databases.


Even an Oracle DBA has this to say at Oracle DBA and stress:

  • “Stress is your biggest enemy. The world of the DBA is an incredibly stressful one and it is even worse in smaller organizations. If you have only one DBA, he or she knows that they alone have to keep the database up and running, or the business will stop running”

So in spite of stress, the DBA is number one, on the list of happiest jobs. Why is that? It it because of the money? Or is it the satisfaction of making a contribution? Perhaps it is another reason. The DBA can always practice a simple meditation technique, like what we talked about last week.

What do you think?



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