Robert Davis

1. Everyone’s an accidental DBA (or database professional) – what’s your story? How’d you become a SQLPerson?

When I was looking for my first tech job, I was interviewing for web developer positions. I was offered a database developer position instead, and I took it. I was hired to assist the two database developers they already had. Two months later, they both quit (on the same day) without warning leaving me the sole database developer. Within a couple of weeks, I had things were running smoother on my own than when there three of us. Along the way, I received quite a bit of help from an application developer, and we managed to drastically improve our processes during this time. In truth, if it wasn’t for the process improvements that we did, there was no way that we could have handled the workload.

Over time we built up the team to as many as seven database developers, including the application developer as a permanent member of the team, with me as the team lead. We also hired an exceptional DBA who really taught me a lot about SQL Server and database administration.

I trained one of the members of my team to take over as the team lead, and finally got the opportunity to work on web development projects. I spent the next 6 months working as a web developer until the .com bomb hit and the company was forced to cut staff. Over the next couple of years, I would switch between web and database development projects based on the needs of the company.

In 2003, the CTO told me that they felt the company was in a position where I would be able to focus on web development permanently. By this time, I had found something I liked better. Our DBA had left the company 6 months earlier, and they had not replaced him. I made a counter-offer and became the DBA and continued as lead of the database development team. By this time, the helpdesk was also under my direction. I renamed the team the Data Management Team.

I’ve been DBA focused ever since.

2. What’s your favorite part of your current gig?

One of the biggest compliments I have gotten in the past year was when the Director of Operations told me that he considers my outside activities to be beneficial to Microsoft and made interacting with the SQL Community external to my group, both within and outside of Microsoft, part of my commitments. In addition to being a more active member of the community, this has afforded me the ability to spend work time on projects such as helping develop the new MCM exams and tech reviewing courseware offered by Microsoft’s Premier Services.

3. Complete this sentence: “If I could do anything else, I would…”

“If I could do anything else, I would be a hand model …. No, wait, a horror fiction writer fulltime. Yes, definitely a horror fiction writer.”

4. Complete this sentence: “When I’m not working I enjoy…”

“When I’m not working I enjoy playing tournament poker, writing and reading horror fiction, and doing stuff with my wife and German Shepherds.”

5. Complete this sentence: “I think the coolest thing in technology today is…”

“I think the coolest thing in technology today is the explosion of personal gadgets. Not just that there are a variety of rapidly evolving gadgets, but the fact that the focus is on the operating system and supporting apps rather than the hardware. I think that Apple will eventually lose in this arena if they don’t get away from the dedicated Apple hardware model.”

6. Complete this sentence: “I look forward to the day when I can use technology to…”

“I look forward to the day when I can use technology to as a direct conduit to the human brain. Imagine computing at the speed of thought.”

7. Share something different about yourself. (Remember, it’s a family blog!)

If you see me, I look like just your ordinary white guy. Most people are surprised to learn that I am half Native American. That’s just a rough estimate based on what I know of my heritage. I’m French, Irish, Cherokee, and Choctaw. I hope to one day research my family tree and become a member of the Cherokee tribe.

Originally published .

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