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Volunteering to gain SQL experience


Volunteering to gain SQL experience

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pietlinden
pietlinden
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"Believe it or not, SQL Saturdays are one of the best places to network."

Actually, there were a bunch of recruiter types there last week (#272). Someone actually e-mailed me today about a job here. The "qualifying question" (only one???) was interesting...
Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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pietlinden (1/26/2014)
"Believe it or not, SQL Saturdays are one of the best places to network."

Actually, there were a bunch of recruiter types there last week (#272). Someone actually e-mailed me today about a job here. The "qualifying question" (only one???) was interesting...


Ok, so what was that question?

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
pietlinden
pietlinden
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It's a health care company, so they do a lot of data importing, I assume.

The client stated that the candidate must understand Identity in SQL. They need to know what it is and how to retrieve it after the data is inserted into a table. They’re answer can’t be, “I run a select after inserting the data”

@@IDENTITY.

Was almost a stupid question. Well, I guess it shows how little I know, because I had to read the documentation. (Man, they cram a LOT of info under one little key on my keyboard!!! Are the rest of the keys as full of info as F1?)

(You can turn SET IDENTITY INSERT ON/OFF to allow inserting values into an IDENTITY column... so I assume they're importing parent/child records into existing tables.)

I guess now I have to see if I can figure out how to use it with BULK INSERT and all those . I would assume they're either using SSIS (which I know you hate), or BULKINSERT... I saw a few articles, maybe I'll have to read up here and maybe watch a video or two...

To me, it just seemed weird that that was their only question... Seems like they must do a fair amount of SSIS or something and call BULKINSERT or whatever inside their for each loop or something.

OH, and then there are the related commands: SCOPE_IDENTITY() and IDENT_CURRENT().... hmm... won't be getting an interview for that job!
Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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pietlinden (1/26/2014)
It's a health care company, so they do a lot of data importing, I assume.

The client stated that the candidate must understand Identity in SQL. They need to know what it is and how to retrieve it after the data is inserted into a table. They’re answer can’t be, “I run a select after inserting the data”

@@IDENTITY.

Was almost a stupid question. Well, I guess it shows how little I know, because I had to read the documentation. (Man, they cram a LOT of info under one little key on my keyboard!!! Are the rest of the keys as full of info as F1?)

(You can turn SET IDENTITY INSERT ON/OFF to allow inserting values into an IDENTITY column... so I assume they're importing parent/child records into existing tables.)

I guess now I have to see if I can figure out how to use it with BULK INSERT and all those . I would assume they're either using SSIS (which I know you hate), or BULKINSERT... I saw a few articles, maybe I'll have to read up here and maybe watch a video or two...

To me, it just seemed weird that that was their only question... Seems like they must do a fair amount of SSIS or something and call BULKINSERT or whatever inside their for each loop or something.

OH, and then there are the related commands: SCOPE_IDENTITY() and IDENT_CURRENT().... hmm... won't be getting an interview for that job!


I was going to say that responding with @@IDENTITY probably won't get you the job because of the huge problems it caused when used against a table that has triggers on it. SCOPE_IDENTITY() would be the preferred method for a singleton insert and the OUTPUT clause in the INSERT or the use of the INSERTED table in a trigger would likely be the best for multi-row set inserts.

BWAAA-HAAA... shifting gears a bit and just to clear the air on certain subjects, I don't actually hate SSIS. Neither do I hate Cursors, While Loops, Recursive CTEs, Triangular Joins, Covering Indexes, SQLCLR, Powershell, Functions, Views, or dozens of other things in SQL Server (although I will always have a deep rooted and devoted hatred for XML :-D). What I do hate is what many people (not ALL but a seeming majority) have done with those things because they don't actually know enough about T-SQL/SQL Server and they end up using those other tools inappropriately. Even then, they sometimes end up botching the job with the tool they know and have chosen to use and that makes it even worse, in my eyes.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
pietlinden
pietlinden
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Never thought I was qualified for it anyway. =)

After coming up with one answer, I looked around at all the other options, and that one is probably the worst. CHECK_IDENT() and the others SCOPE_IDENTITY() would be better. I guess I have to come up with some ways of using these on smallish datasets so I can see what happens when I mess up. It was a pretty vague question, though. (Maybe I'm just showing my ignorance... it's amazing what you don't learn if you study for an exam instead of learning to do a job.)

Like Kevin Kline said "All the SQL Server certs, except MCM, aren't worth the paper they're printed on." No wonder they got rewritten...
wolfkillj
wolfkillj
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Jeff Moden (1/25/2014)

Also, spend an hour to either sit down and design a simple business card with the area of SQL Server that you'd like to work with on it (as well as your contact info, of course), or spend a sawbuck or two to have someone print up a hundred.


It doesn't even take a sawbuck or an hour to do this. Vistaprint.com will print 250 basic business cards on their standard stock (it's kinda glossy, but heavy and stiff - plenty good for this purpose) and send them to you for only the cost of shipping (I paid $6.95). You do the design right on the web site, and it takes about 15 minutes. If you recognize that you can put anything into the form fields when designing the card, regardless of what they're labeled (e.g., you can put your Twitter handle in the "Address" field with no problem), you can get a card that includes whatever you need on it. Vistaprint will try to upsell you along the way, but it's easy to click "No thanks" to decline the offered upgrades.

I got some of these to hand out at PASS Summit, SQL Saturday, local PASS chapter meetings, etc. My employer doesn't provide me business cards, probably wisely so, because I don't have much work-related reason to hand them out. For networking purposes, I don't want to use my work contact information anyway, because I want folks to be able to reach me even if I leave my current job.

Jason Wolfkill
Blog: SQLSouth
Twitter: @SQLSouth
rho_pooka
rho_pooka
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All great ideas thanks guys!
Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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wolfkillj (1/27/2014)
Jeff Moden (1/25/2014)

Also, spend an hour to either sit down and design a simple business card with the area of SQL Server that you'd like to work with on it (as well as your contact info, of course), or spend a sawbuck or two to have someone print up a hundred.


It doesn't even take a sawbuck or an hour to do this. Vistaprint.com will print 250 basic business cards on their standard stock (it's kinda glossy, but heavy and stiff - plenty good for this purpose) and send them to you for only the cost of shipping (I paid $6.95). You do the design right on the web site, and it takes about 15 minutes. If you recognize that you can put anything into the form fields when designing the card, regardless of what they're labeled (e.g., you can put your Twitter handle in the "Address" field with no problem), you can get a card that includes whatever you need on it. Vistaprint will try to upsell you along the way, but it's easy to click "No thanks" to decline the offered upgrades.

I got some of these to hand out at PASS Summit, SQL Saturday, local PASS chapter meetings, etc. My employer doesn't provide me business cards, probably wisely so, because I don't have much work-related reason to hand them out. For networking purposes, I don't want to use my work contact information anyway, because I want folks to be able to reach me even if I leave my current job.


Very cool and decent price, too!

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
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