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April 13, 2011 by Mike Hillwig

My current employer has made the decision to move to an Oracle-based ERP system. And the decision has been made to outsource DBA services.  The only major system remaining on SQL Server will be Sharepoint. So my boss and I have agreed that I will be leaving at some point in the next six to twelve months.

I think this is a smart business decision for the company, and I’ve declined my boss’ offer for Oracle training. The company’s technology path and my career are going in opposite directions. I don’t want to be an Oracle DBA, and I don’t want to be cutting my teeth on a new technology during an ERP implementation. It takes years of experience with Oracle to manage their ERP system, and that’s why I think it’s a good idea to outsource that role.

This is an exciting time for me. The potential for a new opportunity is a bit overwhelming. Knowing that I will be out of a job is scary. At the same time, this is really good for me because a lot of the work I’m doing right now is application management and not that of a senior DBA. I have the time to really get it right.  To use a baseball analogy, I’m going to be cherry picking my opportunities.

Speaking at SQL Saturday last week gave me a new confidence. I’m good at what I do, and now I’m waiting for the right pitch to come across the plate.  In the meantime, I need to get my resume in order. I also need to get my work in a place where a more junior DBA can pick it up. And I need to start doing some serious networking to help provide a good supply of opportunities.

The real issue for me to figure out now is just what I want to do next in my career. Being in Boston gives me access to a lot of financial companies, which gives me an opportunity to grow in high availability and recovery. At the same time, those companies tend to be incredibly conservative. Being in Boston also gives me access to the high tech corridor and tons of startup companies. I’m not sure I’m ready to take on the growing pains of a rapidly growing company again. The last two taught me a lot about scalability and managing growth.

Consulting is an option, but I need to make sure I have access to good benefits. That leads me thinking that going solo isn’t a very good choice for me. Working for a small “boutique” consulitng shop would be incredibly appealing. I’d love to go out and do the tech work yet have someone else manage the business development end of it.

The good news here is that I don’t have to make any decisions right away. I have time to figure it out.