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Help Required - How To Get Career Back On Track? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, June 04, 2012 10:07 AM
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Last Login: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:25 AM
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Hi Everyone,

I'm here looking for help/advice on how to get my MS SQL career back on track? In 2007 I started working for an offshore global private bank in their IT department as an analyst/developer. There I spent the majority of my time writing T-SQL and C# code for our in-house banking application. The bank was a good employer also offering training to solidify the skills used. Unfortunately in June 2009 I was made redundant due to the recession. I saw this as an opportunity rather than a negative and decided to look into getting my MCITP in MS SQL Server 2005 & 2008. I have always been proactive in keeping my skills up to date and while working at the bank in my free time I'd read a number of MS SQL books & used SQL Server Central as a major learning source trying to complete at least one Article a day to increase my knowledge. I hoped doing this would help me in the future to complete my MCITP certifications and to get a position specialising in MS SQL. I did my research and then I decided to commit to completing my MCITP in both SQL Server 2005 & 2008. I couldn’t decide which learning track to do as I have a number of year’s experience of IT Operations/Support, therefore I decided to complete both the Developer learning tracks and the Administrator learning tracks (please see below).

Please access my certification transcript online @:
https://mcp.microsoft.com/authenticate/validatemcp.aspx
Transcript ID: 861335
Access Code: DanielMCITP

After completing the training I was on top of the world having gained the skills to do what I love most in the world to work with MS SQL Server (maybe sad but TRUE). My challenge started because I lived on the small island of Jersey, Channel Islands (population 90,800). With very limited SQL DBD / DBA jobs out there I waited until January 2010 before securing a role with the local utility company. They employed me as they were a MS Gold Partner who needed someone with the MS SQL certifications I possessed to enable them to keep their gold status. They predominantly used MS Dynamics NAV and promised even though none of their back ends were SQL that they would be upgrading and that they would need my skills. After working with NAV for 18 months (not enjoying it after .NET) I decided that it was time to have that chat with the IT Manager and ask why my skills were not being used as promised. It turned out that the company being a small team of six including me had taken on to much work due to poor management and therefore the upgrades and use of my skills had been delayed until further notice. I decided at this point that my career was not going in the direction I wanted it to and thereby made the decision for us to part company.

After six months in Jersey unemployed my partner and I decided to relocate back to Cambridgeshire, UK. While in Jersey I’d joined a couple of online job sites and the response I was getting to my qualifications and experience in offshore finance indicated there are lot of opportunities out there for me to get back on track.

Some help / advice I’d like from members of the SSC forum:
• Where should I be pitching myself in the job market? I have the qualifications but I’m lacking the experience in a production environment, which I feel may put me at a disadvantage. How do I get past the question ‘why should I consider you since you’ve not worked with SQL Server since June 2009?’
• I have MCITP in DBA & DBD learning tracks. Should I consider the MCITP BI Developer track to complete my skill-set? I feel that the DBA & DBD skills I currently possess are both very large areas of MS SQL Server. It may be a mistake at this time to do the BI Developer certificates? Further I think I’m best suited to the DBA side of work due to my previous operations/support experience?
• What level DBA jobs should I be applying for? I was in a mid-level salary / position in Jersey and feel reluctant to go back to junior status. However I love SQL and would just really like to get a foot in the door and prove myself. Going in at a lower level may open doors that wouldn’t be open for reasons previously given?
• I have the complete set of courseware books used to complete my MCITP certifications. Before the relocation I had my head firmly stuck in those. Do you guys think that revising all my coursework will help me in my search for work? I’m hoping refreshing the brain will help me to get through any technical interview questions.
• How can I get some experience of performing the daily tasks of a DBA as if I were in a real job? Should I set up a lab at home?

Any suggestions, help & advice very much appreciated – thanks in advance…

ITGuy


MCTS | MCITP | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Administration & Development
MCSA | MCSE | Business Intelligence SQL Server 2012
Post #1310615
Posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012 3:03 AM
Old Hand

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Last Login: Thursday, March 27, 2014 10:07 AM
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Hello,

Yes, set up a lab at home, that's always good whatever your doing. I am going to make the assumption that you are looking for a permanent position, but if I were you, I would look at contract work instead. I think you would have a better chance at getting back to SQL quicker, and the pay would not have to be massive if you take into account the tax breaks. It also means that if the pay was quite low, you are only in the job for a certain amount of time, so you could then either negotiate a better rate, or look elsewhere. Either way you have got yourself back in the SQL game. As far as BI goes, I guess you could just make a start at looking into it, anything you do will broaden your appeal and increase your chances of employment. I'm also a DBA and quite fancy the BI route as I find it very interesting. Good luck.

Regards,
D.
Post #1314939
Posted Tuesday, June 26, 2012 4:23 AM
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Hey,

Hope you are doing good. I have some tips on how can you really get started if you happen to choose SQL DBA path. Coz am SQL DBA too. I strongly feel hands on only gives you solid base.

1. set up 2 instance SQL server in your home comp/laptop
2. just search google on day to day DBA activity. list them.
3. try to implement/test all possible activities. I agree you cannot implement everything in your 2 sql instance. such as cluster. (for cluster you may thoroughly refer step by step install articles)
4. it is difficuilt to answer if you were asked that you dont have DBA exp. Yes all you can say is I have all the skills to take up on the role and completed all administration certificationa. And I have thoroughly implemented/worked on all DBA activity in my lab environment.
5. And there are many SQL sites showing you DBA implementation step by step, record them in MS Word and try implement in your lab setup.

I am from India, I really wish all the very best. just leave a comment here if you get through, which I hope you will. :)
Post #1321123
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:14 AM
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Last Login: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:25 AM
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Hi Duran,

Sorry for the lateness of my response, my partner & I have just relocated to the UK from Jersey C.I. and I've been getting my internet supplier set up.

I'll definately set up a lab at home I have both a home server and a powerful laptop so I was thinking of getting them talking together to practice some of the skills which require networked machines. As I'm in the UK I don't have any knowledge of the 'tax breaks' you mention. I have thought about trying to get a job in the US, are there opportunities for qualified outsiders? I like the idea of contracting and I feel that being on the floor and getting my hands dirty would be beneficial. It's really frustrating having all my SQL certs and I love anything SQL so I just want to be working right now. I don't mind low pay either as long as I'd have the opportunity to prove myself and to show an employer how passionate I am about all things SQL. I think I will start looking at the BI side as well but won't commit at this crossroad as who knows where I may end up!

Thanks for your reply...

Dan (ITGuy)


MCTS | MCITP | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Administration & Development
MCSA | MCSE | Business Intelligence SQL Server 2012
Post #1321775
Posted Wednesday, June 27, 2012 4:45 AM
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Last Login: Wednesday, April 09, 2014 2:25 AM
Points: 116, Visits: 209
Hi bob__21,

Thanks for your input and yes thank you I'm doing very well. As discussed with Duran I will set up my SQL lab ASAP I think this is my number one priority. Great advice regarding searching for day to day DBA activities. Further I agree with point 4 and this is where I want to be. I'm lucky as I have all the official MS course books and there are detailed labs at the end of every chapter that I'm going to complete using my lab environment.

Finally I recently found this book 'SQL Server Interview Questions & Answers', has anyone seen it? http://bit.ly/sqlinterviewbook

Here's a quote from it any thoughts?
Once we analyzed the content of many, many interviews we realised that most of them do not require a deep knowledge of the technical details of SQL, but they did require a solid understanding of the basics. Luckily, it is not necessary to know SQL inside and out to clear an interview. Subjects like 'SQL Server' are so vast it would take a lifetime to learn every detail of what it can do....even we learn something new every day!


Thanks...

Dan (ITGuy)


MCTS | MCITP | Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Administration & Development
MCSA | MCSE | Business Intelligence SQL Server 2012
Post #1321785
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