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Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 11:33 AM


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Also depends on the position you are being interviewed for:Database Developer vs Database Administrator as well as level Junior, Mid, or Senior. That would also impact the correctness of the answer. I would hope a senior DBA would be more likely to answer regarding the system databases correctly than a junior DBA.

Back to this question, though, I did not see it as a trick question. In fact, for me, it reinforced the fact that there are 5 system databases, reminding me about the little known Resource database.




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Post #498116
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 1:23 PM


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I would consider a question about the Resource database valid in an interview (or QotD). In the interview environment, if asked "What are the system databases in SQL 2005?", if someone answered with the usual suspects, but missed "Resource", I would certainly hope that wasn't enough to fail the interview outright, but it would be something to consider.

On the other hand, last summer, in an interview, the company I was interviewing at placed a tremendous amount of importance on the fact that I don't have all the DBCC commands memorized. So, you never know what an interviewer is going to consider important vs trivial. (I thought it was odd that their DBAs couldn't read estimated execution plans, and didn't know about compile locks on procs. They thought it was deficient that I couldn't recite a list of DBCC commands. Different folks, different priorities. I hope whomever they did hire filled in some of their skill-gaps.)


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Post #498181
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 1:30 PM


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GSquared (5/9/2008)
I would consider a question about the Resource database valid in an interview (or QotD). In the interview environment, if asked "What are the system databases in SQL 2005?", if someone answered with the usual suspects, but missed "Resource", I would certainly hope that wasn't enough to pass on the person, but it would be something to consider.

On the other hand, last summer, in an interview, the company I was interviewing at placed a tremendous amount of importance on the fact that I don't have all the DBCC commands memorized. So, you never know what an interviewer is going to consider important vs trivial.


I think it would be rare to find an interviewer who would ask a question if they didn't already know the answer. So to answer your question about 'might consider important', turn that statement around.


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Post #498189
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 2:46 PM


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If you had asked me about the resource database prior to this question I would have failed miserably. I would not have stated it as a sytem database. It simply was a datbase I had forgotten about; however, if I had to move the master database, I would have not forgotten it and now because of this question, I will not forget it again.

I really appreciated this QOTD and the discussion.




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Post #498237
Posted Friday, May 9, 2008 6:00 PM
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** Somewhat OT **
I get lots of weird questions at interviews.

At interviews I wish people would state the pass/fail criteria rather than having hidden parameters. I was going for a C++ programming job and was asked (via email) to write a C++ program that would count the number of '1' bits in a buffer IN THE SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME (capitalisation theirs). As an assembler programmer of over 10 years experience, I knew how to do these things.
I asked the guy if my program was the fastest he'd ever come across (humility isn't my strong suit as reading my posts will show). He said he didn't know as he didn't run it. "Why not?" "Because I didn't understand it."
I didn't bother pursuing the position.
Post #498288
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 12:25 PM


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Tom Garth (5/9/2008)
GSquared (5/9/2008)
I would consider a question about the Resource database valid in an interview (or QotD). In the interview environment, if asked "What are the system databases in SQL 2005?", if someone answered with the usual suspects, but missed "Resource", I would certainly hope that wasn't enough to pass on the person, but it would be something to consider.

On the other hand, last summer, in an interview, the company I was interviewing at placed a tremendous amount of importance on the fact that I don't have all the DBCC commands memorized. So, you never know what an interviewer is going to consider important vs trivial.


I think it would be rare to find an interviewer who would ask a question if they didn't already know the answer. So to answer your question about 'might consider important', turn that statement around.


I'm not clear on what you mean. Did I imply that the interviewer didn't know something he was asking me about? If so, I didn't intend to. He was quite obviously competent on the subject of DBCC commands (and I was not). My point was, I would never consider memorizing lists of DBCC commands important. They did.

To add to the narrative here, we had already spent 6 hours in two prior phone interviews, going over subjects like database design, performance considerations, execution plan interpretation, indexing, normalization, and a large number of other subjects that I do know reasonably well. Their lead DBA admitted that he himself, and the other DBA in the company, were weak on these subjects (while being very strong on maintenance, server set up, and other subjects), and was quite excited about the possibility of hiring me to round out the team's skillset.

Then there was another 3 hour interview, which the senior DBA was not involved in, which consisted almost entirely of questions like, "something goes wrong with one of your databases, it doesn't matter what: How do you start solving it?", and "What DBCC command do you use if you want to shrink the database and what switches do you use on that command?" Two hours of being grilled on DBCC commands, after I made it clear to the interviewer that I use BOL when I need to use those. (I pointed this out when he asked the first question.)

He considered it important. I didn't. I would never have guessed that I would have to arm myself with that data for that interview, especially after the prior two interviews ended with the senior DBA enthusiastically telling me that "I already feel like your part of my team! This is great!" (His exact words.)

That's my point. I made a statement about the importance I would assign to a question like, "Which of the following are system databases in SQL 2005?", and then made a comment about never being able to predict what other people might consider important.

But I still don't understand what you mean about turning my statement around. Can you clarify that?


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Post #499022
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 1:47 PM


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But I still don't understand what you mean about turning my statement around. Can you clarify that?

- GSquared


I actually was trying to say 'turn my poorly worded comment around.'

I just meant to say that an interviewer would not ask questions on subjects they weren't comfortable with.

I was probably thinking of a situation several levels of scope down from the job that you may have been interviewing for.

Sorry for the confusion.


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Post #499097
Posted Tuesday, May 13, 2008 9:35 AM


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Tom Garth (5/12/2008)
But I still don't understand what you mean about turning my statement around. Can you clarify that?

- GSquared


I actually was trying to say 'turn my poorly worded comment around.'

I just meant to say that an interviewer would not ask questions on subjects they weren't comfortable with.

I was probably thinking of a situation several levels of scope down from the job that you may have been interviewing for.

Sorry for the confusion.


That makes sense. Thanks.

Actually, I've seen interviewers ask about stuff they were obviously clueless about. Some admitted they didn't know enough, and made it clear that the reason they were looking for someone was to fill in a knowledge gap in their company. Others thought they knew more than they really did. For about a billion examples of the later, check out thedailywtf.com.


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Post #499753
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 9:24 PM
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System databases are master,model,mosdb and tempdb.These are what we see in sql server but not resource. I dont think resource is a system database in SQL 2005
Post #604830
Posted Friday, May 15, 2009 11:02 AM


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Interesting; a system database that is not listed under the system databases in 2008. But, I dig it..


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John Esraelo
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