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Starting to Program

By Steve Jones,

As DBAs, I think we need to learn to program better for the future. It doesn't matter whether you are looking to manage clusters with Powershell or add your own SQL CLR routines to an instance, it pays to learn a bit about programming. At some point. Every DBA will be exposed to some type of code that isn't written in T-SQL at some point in their career. Whether they'll be able to do anything with the code, or understand it, is entirely up to the individual.

As the SQL Server platform has expanded, there have been enhancements and additions to the product. In addition to the core T-SQL, there is now VB.NET and C# in Integration Services, Reporting Services uses RDL and various programming expressions. Analysis Services has XMLA, MDX, maybe more. Powerpivot introduces DAX, and the .NET language runs through all of these subsystems. PowerShell is being pushed as the future administrative language for all Microsoft technologies.

With so much of the data professional's job starting to require programming skills, how does one get started? We are working on some stairways to help in some areas, but this Friday I wanted to ask this question:

For the DBA or system administrator that wants to learn programming, what do you recommend?

I'm looking for some links or tutorials, similar to this list for a Python programmer. Do you have a list of programming resources that might help someone learn basic concepts, get started with a particular language, or improve their skills? I'm looking for links that you've used, or a friend has used. I'll look to compile these into a few lists that people can reference to get started on learning more about programming.

Steve Jones


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