Solving Your DBA Talent Gap: Upskill vs. Outsource

March 14, 2023
DBAs with Elephant

For businesses looking to leverage the full potential of Postgres database, there are few roles as important as database administrators (DBAs). 

DBAs provide vital management and monitoring for your organization’s architecture, ensuring that you don’t fall prey to avoidable outages, lose access to mission-critical applications or data during an upgrade or accrue excessive downtime that could damage your reputation with customers—and your revenue as a result. But the potential impact of an expert Postgres DBA team goes well beyond the day-to-day tasks of troubleshooting or tuning. By proactively ensuring the health of your database management system (DBMS), DBAs allow your enterprise to innovate, grow and evolve—the very goals you had in mind when adopting Postgres. 

Unfortunately, certified Postgres DBAs can be hard to find, as we’ve discussed in the past. Even when available in your area, they can be prohibitively expensive, given their scarcity. This leaves many companies who love and depend on Postgres with a DBA talent gap that they need to fill, but are often unsure whether to: 

  • Invest in training to get their existing DBAs up-to-speed on the latest Postgres certifications 

  • Outsource DBA responsibilities to third-party service providers who have accredited Postgres experts on-staff

In this blog, we’ll dive into both strategies and provide you with actionable insight on how to build the best Postgres-centric DBA team possible.


Mind the gap: Why you need Postgres-certified DBAs

Over the years, we’ve seen businesses take different approaches to building out their Postgres DBA teams. In the wake of the shortage of Postgres-certified DBAs, a concerning strategy is to simply write off the need for Postgres experts altogether.

“My DBAs are smart and versatile,” decision-makers might say. “Why do I need to spend money or time hunting down and hiring someone who is intimately familiar with Postgres?”

As we see it, the answer is simple: if you’re running a Postgres database without the proactive support provided by a Postgres-certified DBA, you’re taking major unnecessary risks that could result in the loss of revenue, productivity and damage to your reputation. You can’t rely solely on DBAs who aren't Postgres experts, because while they may be in-house, they’re less likely to be able to respond to Postgres-specific challenges effectively or efficiently. 


Upskill your DBAs: Costs and benefits

Once it becomes clear to organizations that they simply cannot rely on database generalists to manage and monitor Postgres, many will decide the obvious solution is to transform their current DBAs into Postgres experts. After all, these are DBAs who already know your business!

There’s no doubt that upskilling can go a long way towards empowering your DBAs and deepening your in-house Postgres expertise; however, attempting to solve your talent gap with an upskill strategy alone can end up consuming time and resources that your enterprise didn’t account for—and can’t afford to lose! Because the Postgres community is extremely serious about the integrity of the Postgres project, certification may require a number of specialized courses. 

Those who think all they need is to upskill their existing team also often don’t realize that certification is just the beginning of the journey to fully understanding Postgres. A certification will absolutely put a DBA in a better position to handle routine maintenance issues, but Postgres is an incredibly feature-rich database that operates very differently than any of its peers, and many of the best Postgres DBAs boast 10+ years of experience.

Think of it like this: you’ve spent months getting your pilot’s license, flying in a twin-propeller plane. Then, the very next day you’re told you’ll be participating in a Top Gun-style dog fight. Your training wasn’t useless by any means, but it didn’t prepare you for that!

Additionally, upskilling alone doesn’t solve one of the main challenges of the DBA talent gap: the need for 24x7x365 support. Can your upskilled team provide 24x7x365 coverage? Is that in your budget? 

To be clear, encouraging existing DBAs to get certified with Postgres training and learn more about the database is incredibly valuable. As your primary strategy for bridging an existing talent gap, it may not fully bridge your gap.


Outsource your DBA services: Rely on the experts

This is where outsourcing DBA responsibilities to distinguishes itself. By leveraging remote DBA services from Postgres experts like EDB, you can build on your existing team without overspending.

Remote DBAs provide proactive support for your database day and night—just because your team is off the clock, doesn’t mean your database is unattended. They also take care of all the Postgres-specific management and monitoring tasks that might otherwise eat up your DBAs’ day, preventing them from focusing on the business initiatives you’ve been hoping to put into action. While remote DBAs tend to your Postgres’ health, your DBAs are working on projects that will move the needle for your business. Plus, since you’ve outsourced to Postgres experts, you can call on them for advice and best practices when it’s time to take one of your apps to the next level, upgrade your architecture or introduce new technologies.

In many ways, outsourcing could offer the best of all worlds—you get top-notch, unbroken, ultra-responsive Postgres expertise whenever you need it, while also taking full advantage of your existing DBAs, who know your business inside and out.


Outsource or upskill: Why not both?

As you look to supplement your DBA knowledge base, outsourcing to EDB Remote DBA Services can provide you with a depth of expertise and 24/7 proactive management you can’t get anywhere else. These services put you in direct contact with DBAs who have years of hands-on experience working with databases just like yours. And best of all, they’re more cost-effective than finding and hiring in-house Postgres DBAs.

Upskilling with EDB free on-demand Postgres training is not only important but also very cost-effective at no charge (private instructor-led training is also available). Investing in training your DBAs in Postgres will put your team in a more advantageous position, even if it’s not your primary strategy for solving the talent gap. In fact, a combination of upskilling and outsourcing may be one of the most effective ways to empower your DBA team and optimize your Postgres.

Don’t let the limited availability of Postgres DBAs hold back your business. With outsourcing and upskilling, you can build your dream DBA team at your price point and on your terms.


Want to learn more about how to fill the gaps in your support infrastructure? Read up on what EDB Support has to offer with our eBook, “6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Rethink Your Postgres Support,” and check out the extensive training programs: Learn Postgres from EDB experts

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