My name is Gwen Shapira. I currently live and work in Cupertino, California, as a DBA for the Software as a Service division of a very large technology company. (Actually, I used to be Chen, but then no one can pronounce or remember my name and introductions took 15 minutes. So now I’m Gwen, but you are still welcome to call me Chen).
As a DBA, I’m responsible for several large production Oracle RAC servers for various customers, running for a number of different applications. In addition, I’m also responsible for many many test, staging and development databases, a surprising number of internal tools and utilities, and few random servers that look somewhat like a database that somehow found their way into my job description (openLDAP and MySQL are the most annoying of these). As a result, I always have a story to tell, a lesson to share and a rant to vent. Which is why I post fairly often.
I started my career by studying for BSc in Computer Science and Statistics at the Tel Aviv University. To pay for my studies I found a job as a web developer for a major software company. I worked as full time developer throughout my degree and dreamed of the day I’d graduate and work as a low level developer.
I wanted to write kernel drivers and network algorithms not web applications. By the time I graduated, the bubble has burst and finding any development work was difficult. Experienced kernel developers could always find work, but I was not experienced.
My problem was resolved easily – I was offered a promotion to lead a web development team. While I never thought about a future in management, this was an offer I could not refuse. I think I did a good job as a team lead, but I missed working with technology.
My manager mentioned that our senior DBA would be leaving soon, and I persuaded him to give me the DBA position and support me in this career change. Databases looked technical and exciting and I knew that good DBAs were always in demand.
Lots of friends told me that I’ll hate being a DBA. That it is a dull and repetitive job with no place for creativity. I’m glad to say they were wrong. I’m a DBA and I love it.
When I don’t work I enjoy cycling, mountain biking, hiking, singing, reading and visiting all the beautiful places in California (There are so many of those!).