For some reason I got thinking the other day about DBAs and what they do. This thread goes some way to answer this question, but then I looked up the leading jobs site in my area out of curiosity, and it seems like there are more Oracle DBA jobs around than many other technology specialties. Even relatively common-sounding ones, such as "Java Developer" or "Network Administrator".
Here's the thing: I've been in this industry for ten years, worked in several jobs (a couple in fairly large corporate shops too), and I've never actually seen a real live DBA. There was usually a self-taught "database guru" around who was the goto guy for database issues (otherwise employed as a developer like the rest of us), but I've never seen anyone in an official DBA role, anywhere, ever.
So, where are all the DBAs? I'm guessing that since all the places I've worked so far were relatively application-oriented, I've just never experienced a very hardcore DB-heavy environment. At the same time, at least one of the jobs I've had seemed like a pretty extreme data-centred operation (real time market/trading systems, huge databases), and even here the only "database people" were these "developers who were database gurus on the side". No official DBA roles.
Is it really just a case of me never having been in the kind of environment where DBAs are needed? If so, what kind of environment is that? Is this phenomenon perhaps to do with data centres being separate/outsourced operations these days, so most application level programmers just don't see them anymore?
Note: I am basically trying to understand where the separation between "developers who know databases well" and actual DBAs is. It seems like a lot of dev roles require some pretty hardcore database knowledge these days (and that most development teams - even in quite DB-heavy environments - get by without an official DBA on staff). ie Please don't close or move to dba.SE.