Career Forum

The future of database admin vs IT audit

By Career Forum
July 18, 2006 4:17 PM EDT
Question: Anonymous wrote:
Hello, I am currently considering an offer from PWC for the SPA group. I am currently working as an Oracle DBA w/1 year exp. I'm not really sure if I should leave the database field for IT Audit. I'm concerned about the future of DBA's vs. the future of IT AUDIT. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks
Answer from management consultant, David Foote:

Dear Anonymous

I see your decision as this: dig into a specialty or have more flexibility/options should employment conditions change. Database skills can give you a wealth of possibilities once you have more experience under your belt. Three years and an intermediate-level Oracle certification gets you a lot of choice; having one beginner-level Oracle cert with 1-2 years experience is not a bad start either (you'll need to pass two exams and take two training classes). On this path you can focus on an industry or customer demographic, or maybe a solution (e.g. patient records systems in healthcare). Some employers will pay you a 7 percent to 10 percent salary premium for beginner/intermediate Oracle certifications according to our most recent certifications pay surveys (see

I happen to like your other option with PWC in their SPA group better, with some reservations. Because of Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations, auditing has a strong and steady future. Similar to what national security, computer viruses, and endless intrusion attacks have done to boost demand for infosecurity skills and jobs, regulation and economic recovery will continue to boost demand for auditing. It's a great place to be if you like the work, and especially if you can get employment with a professional services firm. They will continue to train and support you professionally, in return for your billable rates which increase with every certification and year of experience you acquire. It's the standard staffing and development model for consulting. Here's my reservation: You just have to be sure you can thrive under the work conditions. There is frequent travel, internal competition from your peers to get ahead, and generally more pressure all around. Works better for some when they have fewer personal responsibilities, such as children and family. Whatever you choose to do, weigh all the work/life, pay, security, and career advancement factors. Don't be single-minded.

David Foote
David Foote is co-founder, CEO and chief research officer of Foote Partners LLC, a general management consultancy and IT workforce research firm that helps companies increase performance and achieve business goals through collaboration of IT, HR, and business resources. The firm publishes the *IT Insider* research series, one of the industry's most comprehensive sources for IT organization, compensation and workforce trends. David's columns and articles appear regularly in leading newspapers and industry periodicals. He can be seen on network and cable television, and heard on National Public Radio, global webcasts and podcasts. Contact him at

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