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The Value of Experience Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:20 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Value of Experience






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Post #807578
Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:02 PM


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Yay or Nay?
I'll say definitely Yay!!!

In my experience (15 yr) of recruiting, I've interviewed somewhere between 500-600 people and went over thousands of CVs to pick those top 500. Not all of them were as good as I hoped in day 1, but the only ones that lasted long and did well on their jobs were the ones with vast experience in OTHER fields. We're talking about C# programmers that were computer technicians before, business analysts that were programmers before, etc.

The reason is that today, almost anything can be done by any tool: You can calculate tables in MS Word and design good looking text in Excel. The issue is choosing the right tool for the right job. You need to know your tool's capabilities, but more over,have a true knowledge of its LIMITATIONS.

DBA is no different than that: If you're really good you might know HOW to do that using SQL; But If you have experience, you will know IF you should do that in SQL in the first place.

Yay it is!!!


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Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:37 PM


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I have to agree. I call it the hammer and nail principle.. When all you have knowledge of is SQL you think every problem should be solved with SQL. You need to have experience in other tools to be able to evaluate whether a problem should be solved by a particular tool..

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Posted Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:42 PM
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I'd have to vote yes on this one. Other experience in some other area of IT is an absolute must. But there's 2 basic types of DBA - those that work in development environments, providing information and guidance to development teams, and those who work in production environments, keeping systems up, available and responding well.

Development DBA's do best if they come from a programming background because they have the experience of understanding the requirements of application development and using database resources from the other side. Production DBA's that come from a systems administration / networks / OS background are more suited to the job of keeping systems up, understanding the need for reliable and tested backups, capacity planning and security.

I've never met a DBA that just did a short course and then got a job... probably because they wouldn't keep that job for long...
Post #807623
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 12:05 AM


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I'm going to take the opposite stance from a lot of other folks. Sure, I believe that you have to know other "stuff" to be a good DBA or even Developer... but too many people are using things like CLRs, NHibernate, Hibernate, and a wad of other hooie because they don't know T-SQL or what it can and should do. Everyone keeps ragging about DBA's that need to know something else... how about GUI and other types of programmers? They should learn T-SQL!

Just like folks say that not everything should be done in T-SQL, not everything has to be done in something other than T-SQL.


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Post #807634
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 1:12 AM
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I am going to say Yes and No. Yes because you need experience of other areas but No because I think you need to have experience of other areas of business not just computing

If you do not understand the operational reasons/needs of the organisation, you cannot be effective. Your databases may be backed up, optimised, performance tuned etc etc but the information within them is useless to the front line forces. DBAs should be proactive not reactive


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Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 1:39 AM
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S Hodkinson (10/23/2009)
I am going to say Yes and No. Yes because you need experience of other areas but No because I think you need to have experience of other areas of business not just computing

If you do not understand the operational reasons/needs of the organisation, you cannot be effective. Your databases may be backed up, optimised, performance tuned etc etc but the information within them is useless to the front line forces. DBAs should be proactive not reactive


Your comments dont make sense, A dba is responsible for integrity and security of data, the content is irrelevant. Your responsibilities to the business could be non-existent depending on the company. Knowing how the business operates does not help as much as people make out.

Having a broad IT knowledge/experience/background can help you as you have a lot of experiences to draw from. Having business experience is only helpful, if you are engaged in assisting directly with the business.


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Post #807654
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 2:02 AM
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Too be a good DBA you do need understanding for other things than just the database. I'd say you should have some AD experience, OS experience. If you also have programming experience of setting up and distributing programs and building programs you'd be a even better DBA because then you are of higher value to the company because you can help the developers in a better fashion. Limiting experience to only one thing without no understanding of what the sql server is running in for a type of environment is a bit ignorant I'd say because having the bigger picture always provides a greater understanding.
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Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 2:16 AM


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Just like folks say that not everything should be done in T-SQL, not everything has to be done in something other than T-SQL. (Jeff)


True, but in order to be able to choose among two or more options - you need to have the other option (other than TSQL)....

For instance, a guy with some UNIX knowledge will never write a script to replace strings in a text file. He'll use SED command instead. If you only know Windows, you'll never know that it ever existed...


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Post #807669
Posted Friday, October 23, 2009 4:53 AM
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From my perspective I'd say understanding the context of the data you're manipulating allows you to see the bigger picture. However I'm a bit of a mongrel.

Choosing the right tool for the job is possibly not as important as reducing the complexity of the environment though. Tacking yet another "best in class" solution on every time you want to do something new is surely not the way forward (for a start how do you know it is best in class if it hasn't been around for 10 years, it's probably just another piece of cutting edge buggy crap). For me - there isn't much of anything you can't do with your business logic in TSQL, I'm with Jeff.

As to knowing bits about other aspects of the architecture - of course you need to understand a bit about the OS you're sitting on and the authentication systems surrounding it.

Perhaps how puritanical you are about this questions depends more on your environment than anything else - if you're looking after 50 databases for a company you're going to be spending an awful lot of time examining log files and query execution plans and doing not a lot else, if you're looking after 5 you need to spread out a little...
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