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How Do We Prove Expertise?

Today we have a guest editorial from Grant Fritchey as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

Without getting into the politics (please!), there’s a fascinating debate going on about how the concept of expertise is dying. Depending on your point of view, it could be that expertise is perfectly fine, but the internet, social media and changes to society’s approach to expertise means that expertise is trusted less and less. Alternatively, your view may be that the “experts” are just not actually expert in their field, despite having a degree from Prestigious U, thereby earning less trust. Arguments and counterfactuals exist supporting or destroying either point of view. I don’t want to enter the debate, however, it brings up another one.

There is a very long and old debate within the IT community as regards to expertise. For some, there is a single path. You first attend university and get a degree in IT. Next, you get a stack of certifications. Ta-Da! Through all this gathering of knowledge, you are an expert and worthy of being listened to. For others, what matters isn’t a stack of embossed pieces of paper on your desk, but rather a successful track record. You build a database that works. Then you build another. You recover from a disaster. You create expertise through learning and doing things. The necessity of an external acknowledgement of your expertise is unnecessary.

The fact is that the truth is a muddled gray swamp covering both points of view more or less equally. Note, I didn’t say “in the middle.” There is plenty of evidence to back up either point of view. Some wildly successful people have followed the traditional path and equally wildly successful people who didn’t. Also, there are people who have followed both paths that I wouldn’t trust to run a backup on a dev database. To me, the argument is silly because both sides can point to success. No, to me, the real argument is, how do we prove expertise?

See, the question matters, not to us, because we can very quickly tell if you know what you’re talking about or not. The question matters to all those people out there who don’t have a clue what we do, yet, are trying to hire us. For them, this question, do you measure expertise by what people have done or by the pieces of paper they hold, is brutally difficult. Now, I know, raising it at all is likely to throw benzine on the fire. However, I’m interested in one question:

How do we, regardless of our personal path, help both the people who are trying to hire “experts” and the people who are aspiring to be “experts” get together successfully?

Grant Fritchey

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

Redgate Database Devops
  Featured Contents

SSRS Audit: All reports executed/not-executed during previous 30 days

Stan Kulp-439977 from

This article presents a pair of queries and reports that reads the ReportServer.dbo.ExecutionLog table to list all SSRS reports that were executed or not-executed in the past 30 days, how many times they were executed, and who executed them.

A simple use case for Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server

Additional Articles from

In this article we look at different use cases for columnstore indexes like when performing SQL Server count * queries.

Data Categorization for AdventureWorks using SQL Data Catalog

Additional Articles from Redgate

Josh Smith shows how to use SQL Data Catalog to perform a 'first cut' data classification for one your SQL Server databases, identifying all columns that are likely to hold personal or otherwise sensitive data.

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - My Desktop Setup

aen from Anthony Nocentino's Blog

Every once in awhile when I’m recording a Pluralsight course, I’ll take a photo of my desk to let people see the behind the scenes of the process. Well,...

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Help! My restore has finished but the database still has a status of recovering.

Kenneth.Fisher from SQLStudies

I’ve been thinking about writing this for a bit and then a co-worker actually had this problem recently, so, well, ... Continue reading


  Question of the Day

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


Commenting SQLCMD

I am writing a SQLCMD script in SSMS with SQLCMD mode. I want to add a comment as a new line in the script for other developers. What should I type for a single line comment?

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



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

Float Issues

I have this code:

DECLARE @tmp1 FLOAT = 0.289;
    CONVERT(INT, ROUND(@tmp1, 2) * 100.0)

What is returned by the SELECT?

Answer: 28

Explanation: This is a strange one. 28 is actually returned as the float type imperfectly stores 0.289.  This is a good reason not to use the float and real types. Ref: float -

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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Connecting to an Oracle server - Hi all   We need to pull data from an Oracle server and I'm trying (and failing) to set up the linked server. The Oracle that's running is version 12c and I've installed the OLEDB drivers.   I've also got the details for our login/password as well as the server name and port number.   […]
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SQL Server 2016 - Development and T-SQL
CTE - a simpler solution? - All, I'm trying to get the average number of relatedpostid counts per postid. The following achieves the result I want: create table postlinks (postid int ,relatedpostid int) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values (5,1) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values (5,2) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values(6,1) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values(6,2) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values(6,3) insert into postlinks(postid,relatedpostid) values(6,4) with postcount […]
Development - SQL Server 2014
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Require Recommendations | Index Rebuild - Hi Guys, I have created a script to rebuild indexes which is in the attachment- NOW - Please review the procedure and let me know if there is need for any modification or if there is anything additional to keep into consideration. Be my guest. P.S- Maintenance jobs are not working properly. Hence the script.
@@ROWCOUNT in a Exec() with identity_insert - Hi, I have a SP to be able to archive a database ( from production to other database). i have got a problem with identity_insert. As this is very huge tables, i work with set rowcount= xx to avoid lock. Here a very simple example  of my problem : CREATE TABLE [dbo].[Table_1]( [KEYU] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) […]
SQL Server 2019 - Development
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Does TSQL support natural and EQUI joins? - I am trying to find some information on this, but it seems like TSQL doesn't support natural joins and EQUI joins.  Is this true?
Integration Services
SSIS - Data Conversion Truncation error - Hi Folks: Need help with SSIS package. I have created package using the CSV Input file (file attached). In the Input file I have the following records in the end which we don't want to load to SQL table. In the package I am using conditional split to filter those records and it works for […]


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