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Beginner, Expert, or Both?

By Steve Jones,

It seems that there's no shortage of interviewers complaining about the lack of qualified candidates for open positions. It seems to me that the best thing you could do to get a better job is work through all the articles and lots of forum posts from SQLServerCentral, complete all the exercises in your favorite SQL Server book, and improve your skills so that you shine in an interview. If most candidates are really that bad, it can't be that hard to make yourself stand out with a little work.

However it seems few people do that. In fact, it seems that quite often we find people that have 5 years of experience with SQL Server really have 2-4 months of experience repeated 15-30 times. What's more disconcerting is that they don't realize how much knowledge they lack.

This article might provide some of the reasons why people think they're more experienced than they are. They're expert beginners, and since they can accomplish the things they're asked to do at their jobs, they think they're competent and become complacent. They have success because they're not asked to do more, perhaps because their employer only needs a small fraction of SQL Server knowledge to keep their systems running along.

I think this is a hard trend to break. Employers don't want to pay you to learn skills that aren't important to them, and they certainly don't want to pay you to learn things that will move you to a new employer. However that doesn't mean you should have the same attitude.

I think you should continue to expand your skills, grow your knowledge, and try new techniques. The best people in all professions continually question their current skills and techniques, looking for better ways to accomplish tasks. It's good to use what you know works, have experience with, and ensure stability in your systems, but always be prepared to evolve if you find something that works better. 

And keep looking for ways to do better.

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