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Who wants to be a SQL Server DBA? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 7:58 AM
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I have been using SQL Server for around 8 years and I have never, ever had to use a DBCC command. Why? Because I backup regularly and I design it "the right way' from the start, software and hardware wise.

Any DBA interviewer that asks you to know DBCC commands means that that shop isn't run correctly and has databases that are poorly designed and crashes regularly.

DBCC commands are wild goose chases when a siimple restore of backup is what's needed and needed ASAP.

Any DBA that thinks they need DBCC commands spends more time on DBA CERTIFICATION TESTING instead of producing reliable databases in a production environment that doesn't need constant maintenance. (By the way, that what SQL Server is designed for, to ELIMINATE this MAINTENANCE and HENCE the use of DBCC commands in the first place.)

When a DB crashes, do you think management and your customers have time for you to fish around using DBCC commands to figure out what's wrong? NO WAY!!!. It's restore, restore, restore and get it up and running, NOW!! Not tomorrow, not the end of the day, not a few hours, not one hour from now, but RIGHT NOW!!! All that time trying to figuring out wrong with DBCC commands could have been used to get a full restore up and running. Or for that matter, a partial restore or switch to the backup.

And by the way, DTS is total crap. If you are a DBA that says his shop uses it, it means they are ANTIQUATED and have to constantly support some legacy app with some GUI interface when t-SQL and SQL Server Agent will be far more powerful and more easily diagnosed.

And if you use DTS to import another database then you are a DBA that can't see the forest between the trees as you again can more easily write t-SQL to catch and modify exceptions when importing to your new database. Bottom line, t-sql will have a CLEANER import and less hassle. i.e. it's all in the code.

The article sound like it was from a booksmart DBA but clueless in the real world of production. Wait a second, the author says he works in an "academic" institution!!! That explains everything. And he can't find any DBA for over 6 month? Why? it's call JOB SECURITY, that's why. Wouldn't want someone coming in and showing management a better, faster and MORE RELIABLE way of using SQL Server would we?

It's no wonder that more than 70% of all I.T. projects fail. Clueless developers and DBA's that again are book smart and production clueless. Not to mention they are horribly SLOW in production.. Hmmm, I wonder why????

Post #410830
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 8:00 AM


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I'll say I think it shows something to finish college. It isn't a world class achievement, but it does show some ability to follow directions, learn, and continue with something for 4 years. For everyone that drifts through with prodding from their parents, there are hundreds that work hard to complete their degrees.

College teaches you how to learn to learn. It forces you to investigate a wide variety of subjects and learn something about each of them and then repeat what you've learned back under some degree of pressure. That helps somewhat with today's work as we often have to learn new skills or subjects in the work environment for new projects.

I do think a college degree requirement should be waived after you've had 5 or 6 years of work experience. It amounts to the same thing.







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Post #410832
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 8:02 AM
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Most job posters for IT-related positions have no idea of what the requirements are that they put on the description. What true DBA is going to know PHP or C++ past anything done in school getting their degree?

I see positions for programmer analysts requiring over 10 languages. Come on now... As a developer you only need to know 2 languages really well. T-SQL and something you write the application with.

Post #410839
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 8:11 AM


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rhat (10/15/2007)
I have been using SQL Server for around 8 years and I have never, ever had to use a DBCC command. Why? Because I backup regularly and I design it "the right way' from the start, software and hardware wise.

Any DBA interviewer that asks you to know DBCC commands means that that shop isn't run correctly and has databases that are poorly designed and crashes regularly.

DBCC commands are wild goose chases when a siimple restore of backup is what's needed and needed ASAP.

Any DBA that thinks they need DBCC commands spends more time on DBA CERTIFICATION TESTING instead of producing reliable databases in a production environment that doesn't need constant maintenance. (By the way, that what SQL Server is designed for, to ELIMINATE this MAINTENANCE and HENCE the use of DBCC commands in the first place.)

When a DB crashes, do you think management and your customers have time for you to fish around using DBCC commands to figure out what's wrong? NO WAY!!!. It's restore, restore, restore and get it up and running, NOW!! Not tomorrow, not the end of the day, not a few hours, not one hour from now, but RIGHT NOW!!! All that time trying to figuring out wrong with DBCC commands could have been used to get a full restore up and running. Or for that matter, a partial restore or switch to the backup.

And by the way, DTS is total crap. If you are a DBA that says his shop uses it, it means they are ANTIQUATED and have to constantly support some legacy app with some GUI interface when t-SQL and SQL Server Agent will be far more powerful and more easily diagnosed.

And if you use DTS to import another database then you are a DBA that can't see the forest between the trees as you again can more easily write t-SQL to catch and modify exceptions when importing to your new database. Bottom line, t-sql will have a CLEANER import and less hassle. i.e. it's all in the code.

The article sound like it was from a booksmart DBA but clueless in the real world of production. Wait a second, the author says he works in an "academic" institution!!! That explains everything. And he can't find any DBA for over 6 month? Why? it's call JOB SECURITY, that's why. Wouldn't want someone coming in and showing management a better, faster and MORE RELIABLE way of using SQL Server would we?

It's no wonder that more than 70% of all I.T. projects fail. Clueless developers and DBA's that again are book smart and production clueless. Not to mention they are horribly SLOW in production.. Hmmm, I wonder why????



Just trying to work out whether "rhat" is a cleverly ironic name... I must admit you nearly fooled me into thinking this was a serious post!

John
Post #410844
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 8:53 AM
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John - I so agree - trouble was the post wasn't ironic enough to be properly funny!!
btw. I'd never ask the format of a dbcc command in an interview and would take a dim view of anyone who asked me!
Getting experience? Yeah it's a problem, I've tried to tell clients they should consider looking at training up people so that they have a chance of having skills on hand, sadly mostly they think only of promoting someone from another area of iT which often does not work as skills in one area don't usually cross to another, and dba skills are somewhat of an art form I sometimes think.


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Post #410869
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 9:02 AM


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edu-dba -
You specifically mentioned looking for experience. Sometimes, experience can be a problem.

I have 25 years experience with the relational database lineage that MS SQL Server is part of (Britton Lee IDM, Sybase, MS SQL Server). I have a good job, but was interested in exploring other possibilities.

I found some fascinating positions available - especially in the field of integrating diverse datasources across alliances of companies without impacting the underlying systems or exposing data inappropriately.
However, with 25 years experience, the problem becomes that they've budgeted for someone with 10 years experience.

If they find the RIGHT person with 10 years experience, they've made a good move. For the right job, the exact salary isn't an issue - but I can't take a 40% pay cut. That's when I understood that my current pay was a reflection of the fact that my experience is at one company - since I know the company, I can literally do the work of 3 or 4 people. Were I to take a new position, I'd be doing the work of one person - and as good as that person would need to be, s/he's not going to make as much.

Obviously, the choice is up to me. I'm happy at my current position and they seem happy with me. I'm not suggesting anything "ought to be done" about this - it doesn't make business sense. If I really want to change, I can sell my house and move an hour farther north.



Roger L Reid
Post #410873
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 9:14 AM
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Getting experience is always the key. But I see many people doing application support of some system, with a database backend, yet they do no SQL with it. For example, if I was a network engineer curious about SQL, I would get a trial license of SQL server, import a the CDB file from a router and start writing queries against it. Look for trends in time, dropped packets, problems on the network ... Maybe you would even find something that you need to adjust on your network. Impress your boss with a graph of trends on the network. I started out many years ago doing data entry, there were no reports on the system and nobody to do them, so I learned OS-400 query.

I agree I don't want someone to rattle off DBCC commands - but I would want them to know about books online... Knowing where to go to get answers is extermely valuable and I expect to get responses like "I don't know the answer to that question, but I would look it up on BOL".
If your relying solely on the GUI to administer your servers, your missing out on many functions. I've had servers running so badly that the GUI will not function, if that was all I knew I would never have been able to kill any process that were bringing the server down.

The issue of too much experience and in essence pricing yourself out of a position is a problem. I don't know the answer to that issue - start turning down raises so you remain competitive? Or start lowering your salary requirements - or maybe accept that you make a lot and need to enjoy the current diggs?
Post #410881
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 10:05 AM


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I've been involved with hiring DBA's where I work for the last three years. It's been a frightful experience. We eliminate most candidates in a ten minute phone call. While I hate trivia tests, I think knowing the difference between a clustered and a non-clustered index or the difference between blocks, locsk and deadlocks are DBA 101 level stuff and not trivia. We knock out more people with those two questions. It's scary the lack of depth of knowledge in most of the candidates.

As to college degrees... It matters when the person has less than five years of experience in the industry. If they've been working for 5+ years and can demonstrate 5+ years of knowledge, who cares where or if they went to Podunk U and majored in underwater basket weaving. I have almost 20 years experience in IT now and I'm a college drop-out. I don't want a sheepskin, I want an experienced, knowledgeable human being.


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Post #410906
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 10:26 AM
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Grant I do so agree, the lack of basic stuff is truly frightening and even more so when you look to see where they work and how much they get paid!! I now have 10 basic questions for the agent to ask over the phone, the candiadte may drop maybe two answers otherwise no further.
You should try asking if you can have a non clustered PK, I'd say 75% of candidates have got this wrong - this is fail level for anyone reading - I'd never progress a candidate further who got this wrong.


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Post #410915
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 10:58 AM


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Wow, Grant, you're getting some good candidates there.

I've seen many knocked out with the "how do you return the identity value (post 2000)? and what's a bookmark lookup?".

What's more amazing is that many of these candidates were actually DBAs for some other company. Makes me appreciate how resilient and tolerant SQL Server can be.








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