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The Voice of the DBA

Time for Learning

Working in technology usually implies that have a need to constantly challenge ourselves to learn new skills and improve our existing abilities to get work done. When I started as a DBA, I could work within SQL Server, writing T-SQL, making backups, and managing security. As the product has evolved, I've needed to learn more about Active Directory to troubleshoot security, I've been called upon to cluster machines and implement replication; I've had to teach myself about ETL processes. There are all sorts of areas in which I've found it important to develop some expertise.

However time is short. With family, with work, with commitments in the rest of my life, how do I find time to work on improving my career skills while balancing my other commitments? Most of my learning time has been spent at work, slipping in learning time during a project or spending lunches educating myself, but I've also had to spend some time at night, practicing skills or reading about the intricacies of some feature.

Andy Warren has estimated that it really takes around 100 hours to develop some level of competence with a new skill. That's 100 hours in a year, which doesn't sound like a lot, but dedicating two hours a week to your career can be challenging. It's much less than the 10,000 estimate for expertise, which is good since most of us can't spare that much time to become an expert.

However is 100 hours too many? There was a TED talk I watched recently that noted you could learn a new skill, at an acceptable level, in 20 hours. I'm skeptical that this is true, and I'd point out that there is prep time to analyze a skill, learn something about it, and then build the plan to learn. Those items alone could take much more than 20 hours.

I'm not sure what a good level is, but I'm thinking to try this in my life in some area and see what 20 hours gets me. I'm also on a Powershell Challenge, which will probably end up being close to 30 hours, but I'll see how comfortable I am with the skill after that time.

Do you think you could learn something like Powershell in 20 hours?

Steve Jones from SQLServerCentral.com

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums


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Featured Contents

 

What is your default database set to?

Ben Kubicek from SQLServerCentral.com

Some people set their default database to the database they use most often. This can cause issues when a restore fails. More »


 

Window Functions in SQL

Additional Articles from SimpleTalk

SQL's windowing functions are surprisingly versatile, and allow us to cut out all those self-joins and explicit cursors. Joe Celko explains how they are used, and shows a few tricks such as calculating deltas in a time series, and filling in gaps. More »


 

From the SQLServerCentral Blogs - Validating in-line DataFlow records with a Stored Procedure

Josef Richberg from SQLServerCentral Blogs

I have text file that contains data for a given fiscal period.  In this particular file there are around 2... More »

Question of the Day

Today's Question (by Steve Jacobs):

What is returned by these four queries? Row values in the answers are separated by commas.


CREATE TABLE #temp ( a NVARCHAR(10) );
INSERT INTO #temp
        SELECT '12345'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT '2A456436'
        UNION ALL
        SELECT 'afsdbcd';
--Q1
SELECT a
    FROM #temp
    WHERE a LIKE '%[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9]%';
--Q2
SELECT a
    FROM #temp
    WHERE PATINDEX('%[0-9]%', a) != 0;
--Q3
SELECT a
    FROM #temp
    WHERE PATINDEX('%[^0-9]%', a) != 0;
--Q4
SELECT a
    FROM #temp
    WHERE ISNUMERIC(a) = 1;
DROP TABLE #temp;

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Yesterday's Question of the Day

Yesterday's Question (by P Sibi):

Which edition of SQL Server supports "Data compression and the vardecimal storage format"?

Answer: Enterprise Edition.

Explanation:

Data compression and vardecimal storage format are only supported on SQL Server Enterprise Edition.

Ref : http://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/2108/identify-database-features-restricted-to-a-specific-edition-of-sql-server-2008/


» Discuss this question and answer on the forums

Featured Script

Generate row constructors for existing data

Gabe Tower from SQLServerCentral.com

I built this script for when I needed to move small data sets around, typically between servers. The script uses the tables columns to generate select statements of the actual data in the table.

1) ctrl+shift+m

2) Enter databse table, table name (note, this assumes DBO schema) and optional top percent

3) Execute

NOTE: Dont use this for large data sets. As with any statement, doing a union on large data sets performs horribly.

More »

Database Pros Who Need Your Help

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SQL Server 2012 : SQL 2012 - General

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SQL Server 2012 : SQL Server 2012 - T-SQL

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SQL Server 2008 : SQL Server 2008 - General

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SQL Server 2005 : Administering

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SQL Server 2005 : Business Intelligence

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SQL Server 2005 : Development

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SQL Server 2005 : T-SQL (SS2K5)

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SQL Server 2005 : SQL Server Newbies

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SQL Server 7,2000 : T-SQL

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