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Is the old stuff worth learning?

By Ben Kubicek,

Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is on vacation.

Recently, I got in a discussion with Jeff Moden in the forums about old stuff and it being worth learning. You can see the discussion here: https://www.sqlservercentral.com/Forums/FindPost1905844.aspx. The discussion came out of how people are always suggesting that we need to learn new things to keep up with the latest technology and not fall behind. His main point revolved around T-SQL skills or the lack there of for a number of database professionals. When database professionals don’t have solid T-SQL skills they can get into trouble quickly if their tools fail or if they start a new job that doesn’t have the tools that they had previously used.

I do agree with this point and think it is a really good idea for all database professionals to have reasonable T-SQL skills. If you do a search on the www.sqlservercentral.com site on “stairway t-sql,” you will find thousands of articles. I am sure someone could put together the top 20 stairway T-SQL articles that every database professional should read.

Jeff brought up how people put a lot of time into things like SSIS, Web Methods, Business Objects. Yet, what actually needs to be done is simple enough, it should probably just be done in a stored procedure or two instead of a complicated SSIS workflow. Also, sometimes people use complicated PowerShell scripts when perhaps a simple DOS (command prompt) batch file would do.

I guess the interesting point of discussion revolved around; you need to have at least some knowledge of the old way of doing things to even determine if the new way is better. Even though I have used and still use some batch files, I still like to see if what I need to do can be done better with PowerShell. That doesn’t mean I am going to rip everything out and replace it with PowerShell, but as things come up if it looks like PowerShell would do a better job, I give it a try.

So what do you think? For the young people out there that have never heard of DOS and have never seen a batch file, would you consider a batch file as an option if it was a better solution? For you people out there that are very familiar with DOS and batch files, would you consider using something like PowerShell if it was a better solution? I know it is hard to change and to consider things that are unfamiliar to you, but aren’t we just trying to figure out the best solution for the problems we are facing?

In the end I think some of the old stuff is worth learning. Even if it only helps you know that you are using the correct solution for your problem. Share what you think? Is the old stuff worth learning or not?

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