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Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 11:42 AM
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Koen: Thanks for the pointers to relevant certs.

I think one reason I haven't yet jumped into the cert game is that it appeared to me from the outside like they (MS) simply changed the cert tests and stuff waaaaay too often, so that the moment I ponied up my $1k (or however much it costs), they would have changed it, and I'd be left holding a big bag of nothing.

Is that perception on my part mistaken?

Thanks again!
Post #1105640
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 2:00 PM


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Good article, Craig, thank you.

I do have what I hope isn't a 'stupid question', please. To be a competent SQL Server DBA, how good should my T-SQL skills be?

I know some DBAs gravitate more toward development work, which I imagine would require good T-SQL skills.

But what about DBAs who are more on the admin side? Do they still need to be reasonably proficient at T-SQL?

And what about DBAs working in small shops? I would guess you have to wear more hats and specialize less than in a big shop - and again, I'd guess T-SQL skills would be important.

What do you think?
Post #1105719
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 2:10 PM
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Craig-315134 (5/9/2011)
Good article, Craig, thank you.

I do have what I hope isn't a 'stupid question', please. To be a competent SQL Server DBA, how good should my T-SQL skills be?


For practicality, I recommend that you at least be better than the weakest developer at your work. Otherwise you are almost certain to be held in contempt by the devs - especially when they have company policies that FORCE them to come to you for various tasks. They will be saying in their heads "wtf do I have to waste my time going to this idiot when I could do it 10x faster, and right the first time, myself?".


This is just my own experience with devs at a couple of locations - possibly it is not representative - others with more experience could speak to that.

-sff
Post #1105722
Posted Monday, May 9, 2011 8:23 PM


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sherifffruitfly (5/9/2011)
Koen: Thanks for the pointers to relevant certs.

I think one reason I haven't yet jumped into the cert game is that it appeared to me from the outside like they (MS) simply changed the cert tests and stuff waaaaay too often, so that the moment I ponied up my $1k (or however much it costs), they would have changed it, and I'd be left holding a big bag of nothing.

Is that perception on my part mistaken?

Thanks again!


Just so you know, I hold certs in multiple levels of SQL, Windows server and clients, infrastructure, AD and so on. I re-certify with every new version for the last 9 years and it only costs about $135, not $1000 per test ($67 if you are MCT as I am, except the MCT which is $400 per YEAR ) and it only takes one or two tests to upgrade each cert once you have them. They even have 2-for-1 specials on the cert tests. The ROI from certification is huge. I make about 15% more than the IT pros I know with the same amount of experience and no certs. Plus, certs are important to the companies I want to work for.

Basically each certification on my transcript is worth about $900 a year EACH if you average it out compared to my peers, way more than I dared hope 9 years ago when I got my first certification. And the weekly offers are amazing. But that is my experience. Your mileage, as they say, may vary...

And for the record, MCITP DBA and/or Dev are probably where you want to start to progress as a DBA/Dev.


Peter Trast
Microsoft Certified ...(insert many literal strings here)
Microsoft Design Architect with Alexander Open Systems
Post #1105818
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:19 AM
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Craig,
It's an Excellent artilce!!!!!
Post #1105867
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 6:07 PM


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Nice article Craig



Jason AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
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Post #1106581
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:07 PM


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yan-160997 (5/9/2011)
Craig,

I have been working for a financial company for over 10 years as a system analyst. During those years I have managed many SQL server both in production and dev environment. I have done the followings: installation, upgrade, backup, restore, create maintaiance plan, create queiries, sp, gereate reports, database tuning, system troubleshotting....etc. I want to concentrate on SQL Server as a true SQL DBA rather than a system analyst who does many other tasks. I know that I need to gain more knowledge to be qualified as SQL DBA, but it is hard for me to swich from System Analyst to SQL DBA because interviewer read my resume and question my position: "you are system analyst not dba? we need SQL Server expert" What should I do?

Thank you

Yan


Hey all. My apologies, I came down with a bad case of flu so I fell off the internet for a bit. Allow me to catch up a bit with y'all... and thanks for the well wishes.

Yan, your best bet here may be what they call a skills based resume. Instead of describing your duties at each job, you list your skills first, and then do a job listing that you highlight certain items at that position for. In this case, you'd list your SQL skills in the primary position (and only those), and then (bluntly) bury your system analyst title into the 'where I worked' area under it. In that area, try to highlight one or two things you did for SQL at each company to help the interviewer with talking points.

If they ask about the titles or the system analyst work, downplay it, and try to slide the topic back to sql server. Never lie, but you can manipulate the resume. Remember that leaving something OFF a resume is perfectly viable. Your resume can have nothing but your name if you choose. It's only when you start adding things you didn't do that you can get in trouble.



- Craig Farrell

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Post #1106622
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:10 PM


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Peter Trast (5/9/2011)
One of the most important things I have done is to create and maintain a LinkedIn presence. I get so many inquiries because of that site. I have my ACTUAL job experience and resume information. You would be surprised how many recruiters are looking there. Even with my relatively low experience (compared to the people who frequent this site) I regularly get called for decent and even some high end positions. So there is definitely a web marketing aspect but just be as honest as you can. Many people over or undersell themselves.


An excellent suggestion, and one I tend to overlook. I need to get more involved with LinkedIn. When it started I had expected it to be just another social site so I completely bypassed it for a number of years.

Many people will disagree with me about certs, but they work well IF you can back them up with real skills.


I would disagree with you here, Peter. As you say, certs are a powerful way to show booklearning. The problem is the number of crammers who use braindumps who devalued the power of a proper certification. If you can back them up with real skills, they are absolutely a great tool.



- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

For better assistance in answering your questions | Forum Netiquette
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Post #1106625
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:16 PM


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Craig-315134 (5/9/2011)
Good article, Craig, thank you.


Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

I do have what I hope isn't a 'stupid question', please. To be a competent SQL Server DBA, how good should my T-SQL skills be? I know some DBAs gravitate more toward development work, which I imagine would require good T-SQL skills. But what about DBAs who are more on the admin side? Do they still need to be reasonably proficient at T-SQL?


It depends on how that company handles DBA work, because the title DBA is far too generic these days. In a large shop, knowing T-SQL isn't as important if you're merely doing the rollout work for the development teams and the majority of your administrative job is to handle all of the background maintenance. Reindexing, backup/restore testings, etc. If however there is a call for Optimization, which isn't unusual because your devs simply can't see Production most of the time, and certainly don't have access to the necessary tools, then you're going to need some solid background in T-SQL optimization. Knowing execution plans, concurrency issues, index methodology, etc. There's really no way to avoid it.

However, most DBAs end up optimizing without the level of knowledge as the development teams do about the data. You simply can't know that much about that many servers and databases. So it's more a generic methodology which you'd send back to the developers if necessary.

In smaller shops, you're going to be doing a lot of everything. If you want to specialize like that, you almost have to go for a very large shop. The good news is in larger shops, they can more easily afford junior/mid to 'take a chance on' in the business.



- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

For better assistance in answering your questions | Forum Netiquette
For index/tuning help, follow these directions. |Tally Tables

Twitter: @AnyWayDBA
Post #1106629
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:43 PM


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Anipaul (5/9/2011)
Good article. I think a few more sample questions would have help the freshers more.


Anipaul, what do you mean by sample questions here? I didn't provide any sample interview questions or the like, so I'm not sure what you mean.



- Craig Farrell

Never stop learning, even if it hurts. Ego bruises are practically mandatory as you learn unless you've never risked enough to make a mistake.

For better assistance in answering your questions | Forum Netiquette
For index/tuning help, follow these directions. |Tally Tables

Twitter: @AnyWayDBA
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