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The Voice of the DBA

The Future of Knowledge Measurement

This is part 3 of a 3 part series of thoughts on certification and Microsoft technologies.

We'll never be able to completely and accurately measure a person's skills in technology. At least not in any cost- and time-effective way. Ultimately we want to come up with some way to weed through candidates and ensure they have a minimum aptitude for technology and some level of skill in the areas that are important to us. We want a way, with some level of confidence, to say that a person who has xx certification knows yy skills.

In the Microsoft world we can be sure that our platforms and technologies will change at least every 2-3 years, with major or minor revisions to all parts of the product we use. We might see minor tool changes, but fundamental feature enhancements or vice versa.  However even when there are major changes, the revisions to the effective way we accomplish tasks doesn't change much. It evolves, and I think that a core set of skills can be measured, and more importantly, scored.

How we do that, I'm not sure. As Brent Ozar said, however, the experiment must go on. We, as an industry and group, should be finding ways to assess our community, and drive forward our profession. I'd like to think that we could build an open source framework that allows for the presentation of a situation, and the evaluation of a result. It could be a framework like tsqlt, which allows us to write tests that can be evaluated by a scoring system. By taking a script of some sort, and comparing it to a "question", some automated measurement would be able to determine if the question was answered (or partially answered). 

Our community could easily build a bank of hundreds, if not thousands, of questions. Want to evaluate someone? Download 50 questions, drop someone in a room for an hour and see how much they get done. They might not finish, which would be a good test in and of itself. Run their answers through a scoring engine and get a report back. With tags, we could easily separate questions into a variety of packs that employers could use to test certain areas. Testing core skills, without too much worry about version specific items would allow questions to live for years. Heck, with the age of some SQL Server instances out here, I bet some companies still need SQL Server 2000 based tests.

Ultimately I don't think Microsoft will properly build and maintain a framework to evaluate candidates. They have too much incentive to cheat. They can fool lots of employers with easy to pass, paper diplomas and turn a profit with lots of easy certifications that sound good, but don't really test skills. The future of measurement in technology will be like it is in many other fields, with independent bodies that provide a minimal level of educational skill for most individuals. It will consist of granular tests that measure skills, in real situations, not question and answer trivia. Some people will slip through, some will cheat, but it will work well enough when it falls out of the hands of vendors.

Until that time, all you can do is prove your own skills, in person, through your publications, or with lots of good, valuable answers given to others. 

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

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Stairway to PowerPivot and DAX - Level 2: The DAX COUNTROWS() and FILTER() Functions

Bill Pearson from SQLServerCentral.com

Bill Pearson, business intelligence architect and author, exposes the DAX COUNTROWS() and FILTER() functions, while generally exploring, comparing and contrasting the nature and operation of calculated columns and calculated measures, in the second Level of our Stairway to PowerPivot and DAX series. More »


 

Manual cleanup Change Data Capture for a SQL Server database

Additional Articles from MSSQLTips.com

Kun Lee had a database where the log file kept growing and used 99.99% of the available space. He noticed miscellaneous change data capture objects still in the database as well as open transactions. This was causing his transaction log to continue to grow, but he couldn't disable CDC, because SQL Server thought it was not enabled. Read the full article to see his solution. More »


 

SQL Saturday #249 San Diego

Press Release from SQLServerCentral.com

Join SQL Saturday San Diego for a free day of SQL Server training and networking on September 21st. There will also be a free SQL in the City Session on the 20th presented by Steve Jones and Grant Fritchey. More »


 

How to Recognize When a Relational Database is "Good Enough"

Press Release from SQLServerCentral.com

In this Webinar on Tuesday September 12, Louis Davidson will explain the differences between good and bad database design. He'll discuss characteristics such as comprehendible, documented, secure, well performing, and normalized (naturally). Register to come along. More »


 

From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - Monitoring Database and Table Sizes

SteveHood79 from SQLServerCentral.com

Trending database and table sizes helps give you an idea of what to expect, and, sometimes, points out problems and... More »

Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Steve Jones):

How many results are returned from this batch?

DECLARE @i TABLE( mychar VARCHAR(10));

INSERT @i VALUES ('Steve'), ('Stephan'), ('Stephanie')
               , ('Sterling'), ('Steppenwolf')

SELECT mychar
    FROM @i
    WHERE mychar LIKE 'Ste[^p]%'

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by Pavel Bakunovich):

What is the output of query in the end of the batch?
CREATE TABLE Tr(
ID INT,
Name VARCHAR(10))

CREATE TABLE TrLog(
ID INT,
Name VARCHAR(10),
CreatedOn DATETIME,
AcrionType VARCHAR(10))
GO

CREATE TRIGGER tr_TrLoggin
ON Tr
AFTER INSERT
AS

INSERT INTO TrLog(ID, Name, CreatedOn)
SELECT ID, Name, GETDATE()
FROM inserted
GO
--Statement 1
INSERT INTO Tr(ID, Name)
SELECT 1, 'First'
GO

DISABLE TRIGGER tr_TrLoggin
ON Tr
GO

--Statement 2
INSERT INTO Tr(ID, Name)
SELECT 2, 'Second'
GO
ALTER TRIGGER tr_TrLoggin 
On Tr AFTER INSERT 
AS 

INSERT INTO TrLog(ID, Name, CreatedOn, AcrionType) 
 SELECT ID, Name, GETDATE(), 'Insert' 
   FROM inserted 
GO 

--Statement 3 
INSERT INTO Tr(ID, Name) 
 SELECT 3, 'Third' 
GO 
SELECT * 
 FROM TrLog 

DROP TABLE Tr; 
DROP TABLE TrLog;

Answer: 2 row with names 'First' and 'Third'

Explanation: Two rows are returned. The ALTER TRIGGER statement enabled trigger again and statement 3 fires the trigger a second time.

Ref: http://technet.microsoft.com/ru-ru/library/ms176072.aspx


» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

Featured Script

Find Foriegn Keys and their details in a database

Bodhisatya Mookherjee from SQLServerCentral.com

The script will show the details of all the FKs in a particular database. Open SSMS and run the script for the intended database. In the script I have used Adventureworks2012 as an example. You can replace that with your required DB name

More »

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