When people that are not somehow related to computers ask me what I do - I tell them I'm a programmer. This profession has become enough of a commodity in the last years, so that there everyone know what a programmer looks like. The knowledgeable ones ask in which language I do my programming. Then it gets tricky.
-"Well you see, I'm not really a programmer, I'm actually a DBA!"
-"What's a D'bah?"
Now it's down to two options:
- Explain what databases are, and what part they take in the products they know and love. Explain why it is different from programming, and why you have a specific person to do it. Dive into the implicit and explicit duties and responsibilities of a DBA, and describe how a person in this spot interacts with the development team and management.
Usually this a great choice if you want to be left alone or be met with bored looks.
- Say "It's like playing with Lego for money." or "It's like herding data."
How can you explain that being a DBA is different from being a programmer? Maybe it shouldn't be? What really defines a DBA's role?
The answer is the typical and classic reply you'll usually get from a DBA: "Well, that depends".
I'll try and go into more detail about this in another post.