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Systems Engineer - is it a good career goal for DBA? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 2:37 PM
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Hello,

I'm a SQL Server DBA with 6 years experience.
My job is entirely focused on SQL Server and I don't even have to touch other platforms or software.

I wonder though if it'd be a good career goal to learn Windows Server administration as well.
If I'm correct some companies call it a 'Systems Engineer' position - meaning "DBA & Windows Admin".

I'm not sure however if it's really good approach to focus on too many technologies at the same time (ie. Jack of all trades, master of none).
Please let me know what you think - would it be better to keep focus on SQL Server (I'm not even near MCM levels yet and probably never will be) or learn Windows platform as well?

Thanks!
Post #1495280
Posted Monday, September 16, 2013 7:25 PM


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o103452 (9/16/2013)
I'm a SQL Server DBA with 6 years experience.
My job is entirely focused on SQL Server and I don't even have to touch other platforms or software.


Learning Windows Admin would be a big plus, in my humble opinion. But, before we go down that road, what have you been doing with SQL Server? Are you a hardcore System DBA that rarely get's involved with applications and maybe has "average" knowledge of T-SQL? Are you an Application DBA that might not know very much about the administration of the system but knows the "black arts" of T-SQL? Are you a hybrid DBA with good experience in both of those DBA paths? Either way, how much of the security do you personally handle for your SQL Servers?


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1495348
Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013 11:28 AM
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I find it very hard to objectively evaluate my skills...
I'd say I'm just exactly 'in the middle' - neither bad nor exceptionally good.
I think that I have a decent knowledge of most SQL Server parts...

At work I'm a part of a bigger team - we just have lots of MS SQL machines and there are separate Windows and Network teams.
I've passed MCSA SQL Server 2008 exams but Data Platform seems to be just around the corner...

I wonder what to do next: keep learning SQL Server, or exand my knowledge to Windows.
I'm not really interested in BI components (Reporting/Analysis Services).

The real question is -- is there a market for "Win+SQL admins" or is it better to be a "good SQL admin" :)
One thing I know for sure -- other RDBMS are a "No-Go" for me...





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Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2013 12:18 PM


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o103452 (9/17/2013)

I wonder what to do next: keep learning SQL Server, or exand my knowledge to Windows.
I would say, why not do both
The real question is -- is there a market for "Win+SQL admins" or is it better to be a "good SQL admin" :)
The answer is "Yes" and "It Depends". Most of the larger shops have a separate "Windows Group" but someone with good knowledge of both is a fairly rare and valuable find. Even if they don't want you to do the Windows stuff, it's always good to know what's going on. So far as learning more about SQL Server, becoming a T-SQL "Ninja" with a good background of SQL Server at the system level has served me very well when it comes to finding high paying and interesting jobs.
One thing I know for sure -- other RDBMS are a "No-Go" for me...
I can't say I blame you a bit. I got tangled up with Oracle for about 3 years and dropped it like a hot potato right after that job ended.


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1495624
Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2013 9:35 AM
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Adding Windows administration skills to your skill set will definitely increase your value in a small to medium size shop, where people wear multiple hats. But you'll also need to know virtualization and storage. The former is not that difficult, you can download a free version of VMware. Storage is trickier, since your next employer may have EMC, NetApp, IBM, Dell, etc. At least learn as much as you can about the storage you are currently using.

One thing to do is to look at your favorite job board (Monster, Dice, Indeed), and look at job postings for Windows admins, and SQL Server/Windows positions. Look at the top of the requirements list, and see if these are things that you would be able to pick up quickly.
Post #1495987
Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 7:56 AM


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I'm going the other way. I've been a windows admin for a long time with some DBA duties on the side. Now I'm working on the T-SQL ninja stuff, more with applications than the admin side. SQL Server is far more interesting to me than all the windows admin stuff I had to deal with.
Post #1496901
Posted Friday, September 20, 2013 12:15 PM


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Jeff Atherton (9/20/2013)
I'm going the other way. I've been a windows admin for a long time with some DBA duties on the side. Now I'm working on the T-SQL ninja stuff, more with applications than the admin side. SQL Server is far more interesting to me than all the windows admin stuff I had to deal with.


"Welcome to the dark side, Luke."


--Jeff Moden
"RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for "Row-By-Agonizing-Row".

First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column."

(play on words) "Just because you CAN do something in T-SQL, doesn't mean you SHOULDN'T." --22 Aug 2013

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Post #1496991
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