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7 Causes of DBA Burnout

Author: Jeff Duncan | | May 1, 2024

DBAs naturally have a lot of stress in their work environments due to the nature of the job.

It’s not hard to see why DBAs can easily become burned out. Here are some of the most common causes that could plague your team.

Heavy Workloads

Does your environment require 4 DBAs, but you only have 2? Your team has a lot of work, with deadlines hitting left and right. While DBAs can learn much in this scenario and experience good growth, it can easily be overwhelming.

Constant On-call Status and Firefighting

DBA burnout is especially common in smaller firms because often, the database management team is one person. They know they have the data of the entire company on their shoulders. When your DBA is stretched to the limit, they may miss deadlines and succumb to the pressures of the high demands placed on them.

Pressure of Maintaining Data Security/System Performance

You’re dealing with a constant balancing act. We want to protect our systems and look for better methods of protection, but things like all-encompassing encryption will impact performance.

Lack of Recognition

Have you ever gotten a call from someone who said, “Things are running great, and I wanted you to know that!” It’s a rare occurrence.

Most of the time, the caller says something like, “All I did was click on my report and it’s spinning.”

Once you dig in and get it working again, you don’t even get a thanks most of the time.

Values Mismatch

In many organizations, IT and DBAs are viewed as a cost, while software developers are seen as revenue-generating resources. DBAs can end up feeling disconnected from organizational goals.

Lack of Career Advancement and Professional Development

Do your DBAs view their jobs as a dead end, lacking advancement in either technical or management tracks? Are professional development opportunities and training few and far between? This situation can add to the pressure your DBAs face.

Deluge of Technology Advancements

Constantly changing technology can be exciting, but not when your DBAs have no time to learn new skills or adjust to a new stack. Dealing with multiple databases, data warehouses, and data lakes, shifting on-premises mindsets to the cloud, accommodating the data demands of AI/ML solutions, and learning the intricacies of data meshes and fabrics can add up to a lot of stress.

Learn more about what you can do to if DBA burnout pops up in your organization with our guide “Preventing and Addressing DBA Burnout on Your Team.”

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