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SQL Server Central
The Voice of the DBA

You’re not really that good at SQL Server

I really hate to say it, but more and more it seems to be true. Some of you reading this aren’t good at your jobs; some are very good, but I think plenty of you are not. I talk to friends that hire people, and I hear from technical workers that interview people. I see the questions posted at SQLServercentral and elsewhere about the difficulties you are having with SQL Server, and I believe it is true.

You aren’t that good at your jobs.

It’s not all your fault. Perhaps your job doesn’t demand it or you employer won’t support you. However, some of it is your fault because you ought to be looking to improve your skills and become better at working on the platform, even if there isn’t the need at your current job. That’s part of being a professional: stretching your abilities and growing your skill set. The way that the MCMs, the MVPs, and the experts become better is by practicing their craft.

The longer I’m in this business, the more I think that many people with 5 years working with SQL Server usually don’t have 1 year of experience 5 times. I’m really starting to think that many people have 1 month of experience repeated 60 times. They aren’t asked to much with SQL Server at their company, and they don’t face tough challenges. They learn just enough to solve the problems they face and close the tickets they see, and that’s it.

I get it. You need to get work done. When things aren’t broken, or you don’t have deadlines, you don’t want to increase your stress or workload. You have a secure job and don’t see the need to learn about APPLY or LEAD and LAG if you don’t develop software. You don’t care about replication because your employer doesn’t use it. It’s human, and it’s how most people approach their jobs.

However you will need a new job at some point. You will want to relocate or change companies or want a raise, or any of a hundred other reasons you’ll interview for a position. At that time, do you want to be the person that appears as a joke on Twitter, The Daily WTF, or a blog because you don’t know what Foreign Keys are or how to query a DMV or how to write a CTE? Do you want to be the Dilbert character that all the interviewers laugh about?

Or do you want to be the person with the job offer? If so, make an effort to regularly and continuously improve your skills. Even if you are strong in some areas, practice those skills and build others.

Please feel free to pass this along. I’d like to see most SQL Server professionals as craftsman, not factory workers.

Steve Jones - SSC Editor

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

  Featured Contents

A tour of the Execute Package Task

arapaima_uk from

Integration Services (SSIS)

Introduces modular programming with the Execute Package task, and shows bi-directional parameter passing.

Using the SQL Monitor Estate Pages

Additional Articles from Redgate

SQL Monitor

Kathi Kellenberger introduces the new Estate monitoring pages in SQL Monitor 9, and explains how they will help DBAs monitor and safeguard the security, stability and availability of all servers in their care.

How are you using tools to design and model databases?

Press Release from Redgate


Redgate invite you to participate in their survey on database modeling. In order to inform their future product decisions, they’d like to better understand the needs and motivations behind the use of such tools.

Introduction to SQL Server Security — Part 4

Additional Articles from SimpleTalk

SQL Server

The sa account is the most powerful account in a SQL Server instance, and most DBAs disable it. There are several other built-in accounts that you may not think about that often. Robert Sheldon continues his SQL Server security series with an article about built-in accounts.

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Generating a Jupyter Notebook for Glenn Berry’s Diagnostic Queries with PowerShell

spaghettidba from SQLServerCentral Blogs

The March release of Azure Data Studio now supports Jupyter Notebooks with SQL kernels. This is a very interesting feature…

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - The Curiously Large CASE Statement

SQLRNNR from SQLServerCentral Blogs

A powerful little expression in SQL Server is the CASE statement. The CASE statement has the ability to “transform” data…


  Question of the Day

Today's question (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor):


Adding Custom Error Messages

Who can add custom error messages to the sys.messages table?

Think you know the answer? Click here, and find out if you are right.


Redgate Webinars


  Yesterday's Question of the Day (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor)

Getting the columns

I have a database and I call this procedure.

EXEC sys.sp_columns @table_name = 'Articles'

What is returned?

Answer: A list of all the columns from the Articles table for my default schema

Explanation: The sp_columns procedure returns a list of columns for the object(s) specificed in parameters. For just a table name, the table is determined by the default object rules for a user. If a different default schema is used, or the user owns an object by that name, then those columns are returned. Ref: sp_columns -

Discuss this question and answer on the forums


Database Pros Who Need Your Help

Here's a few of the new posts today on the forums. To see more, visit the forums.

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SSIS Question - We used to have all SSIS packages in files systems. As I’m upgrading them to the new server, I’d like to see your opinion where to store these packages, File System to MSDB? what’s the pos and neg ?
Add to Briefcase doesn't work - Today I wanted to add one of the articles that came across in the SSC newsletter, to my Briefcase. I clicked on the Add to Briefcase link multiple times. It never seemed to work. At least it never indicated that I’d actually saved anything to my Briefcase.
CREATE ANY LOGIN permission? - I am trying to allow a login to create other logins but not be able to alter or drop logins which already exist. The closest I seem to be able to get is the ALTER ANY LOGIN permission but this allows control of all logins. As there is no CREATE ANY LOGIN permission does anyone […]
adding default column with type BIT and default value as Y - I want to add new column test to the table contact with type BIT with default value Y. PLease let me know how to do this
adding default column with type BIT and default value as Y - i want to add new column test to the table contact with type of bit with default value Y please let me know
Can't see number of reads for my posts - As a blogger whose posts are syndicated on SSC, one thing I liked was that I could go to my “author” page and see the number of reads for each post. That appears to be gone with the new design. Maybe there is another way I can check these numbers? If not it would be […]
Broken Links in Google Searches - A lot of google search results that find SSC articles are coming up with a page not found error – rather than there being a re-direct to the new location. e.g.
NGrams8K Article Missing - –  “Oops! That page can’t be found.”. It’s also, as a result, disappeared off Google: DelimitedSplit8k and DelimitedSplit8K_lead are giving the same page errors.
Images not displaying - In today’s issue of SQLServerCentral (4/4/2019), the topic is “Rebuilding SQLServerCentral”. At the bottom of the email, I saw a link for an article I clicked on: “From the SQL Server Central Blogs – Disk Space and SQL Server”: Disk Space and SQL Server The images display fine with Internet Explorer (Version 11.0.9600.19204). However, the […]
Automatic Replication of DDL statements - This has been bugging me for sometime now. I’ve tried to read documentation from Microsoft and it confuses the crap out of me. What I’m trying to accomplish is when someone creates a new stored procedure, new table etc. I’m needing to have the new table, proc etc. added as an article and the subscription […]
Option to use old forums? - I really don’t like the new forums. The layout makes it really hard to read posts containing a lot of technical information. Even on Mobile there is a ton of dead space
Mysterious permissions issue – SELECT denied on UPDATE - Hi, I have been working all day troubleshooting a SELECT permission denied error, and at first I thought I just did something really silly, but I’m becoming more and more convinced there may be some bug in SQL Server. 1. Executing the failed statement in SQL Server Management Studio using Run As Different User results […]
Unable to get the results im expecting with a join or sub select - I have a query that pulls in from 7 tables.. One of those tables i just need 1 column returned for each record. The issue is that the table can have multiple records or no records.. and if there are multiple records, i just need to return 1 value, i dont need to have 3 […]
SSIS Encryption - Has anyone else had a problem when they set an encryption password on their SSIS packages? I did all the steps to change security to EncryptSensitiveWithPassword while I was still in development mode. For a while it was working fine. Today I opened Visual Studio and loaded the project, it prompted me for a password […]


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