The Annual Review

BACKSTORY: I was hired as a Systems Support tech by my current company almost 2 years ago.  I’ve since been “promoted” from support to the Database Administrator.  The current DBA is the Vice President of Information Tech and his plate is too full to maintain the DBs, thus my luck.  He’s training me on our set up as needed, with a “flying solo” date of October 2014.  This is basically 1.5 years of OJT in SQL Server which I’m pretty proficient in, and Oracle Rdb on which our legacy systems run until they are upgraded (a long time from now).  The majority of the training will be in this area, and I’ve never dealt with Oracle’s Rdb or OpenVMS.
I’ve never had a review like this before, 14 years in the Army I’ve had reviews, but in my first annual review last year they went over my work and expectations, and then just slid a piece of paper over with my pay raise on it.  I’ve never had to negotiate a pay raise or anything because the Army just had this stuff scheduled, so I just said thanks!

SITUATION: I am coming up on my 2 year review, the first in this new position.  I moved into this position from Helpdesk / Support without any sort of pay raise which is no big deal to me.  My goal is to have my MCSA Certification prior to the review.  My company doesn’t really care about certifications, but it seems like it shows my dedication to the position (in my head).

QUESTION: How do I approach the subject of a pay raise?

On the one hand I am grateful just to have this job, and appreciate the training the VP is giving me, and the many Microsoft courses they pay for which are leading to my MCSA!  They also pay for and give me the time to attend the PASS Summit every year as well as all of the local user groups & reasonably close SQL Saturdays (even reimbursing my mileage).

On the other, not that I think I’m “better” than anyone else, I think the DBA Position is typically paid more than helpdesk.  I could be wrong, but how do you “learn to negotiate” for more money?  If they just handed me a raise in the past should I just leave it alone and hope?

Any advice would be great!  Thanks guys.

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