Have you ever done SQL development or administration while working in a non-IT department? How did you manage expectations? What challenges did you face? Did it ultimately work out?
I've been working as a developer in a unit with three other business analysts for a couple of years now. I use the term developer generically because I'm an experienced ASP.NET developer as well as a SQL developer. From a techincal perspective, I'm far ahead of my colleagues; they use Access/Excel to create datasets, I script them entirely in SQL. From an business analyst's perspective it's almost the opposite; they are much better at translating client requests into a finished delivery than I am. Yet, we all share the title "Programmer/Analyst".
My boss is disinterested in any of the techincal aspects of my work. I build stuff -- our intranet site, a new data warehouse, advanced SSRS reports -- and he likes it but doesn't understand its complexities. His top priority is giving reliable data to the executives of the company (read: the Analyst part of our jobs). I've had several instances where I've shown him a new site feature or a new report -- even things he's asked for -- and he has reacted with near-indifference. Perhaps I need to market my work to him more effectively. Have you ever had a non-technical boss to whom you've basically had to sell your work?
Another challenge I have is that on a technical skill level, I stand apart from my colleagues. My career work is sort of a 10-year SQL/ASP.NET hybrid and I'm a MCSE and MCTS in SQL 08. I don't feel like my title defines me or my work, but I do feel like a title change would appropriately distinguish my technical contributions to the team. I don't want to be advertised as superior to my colleagues because that's not true. Again, they are better, more experienced business analysts than me. Plus, while I'm a mentor to them for SQL Server, I'm nobody's boss so I'm not a manager of any kind. Should I pitch a title change to my boss, and what title would you recommend I ask for?
Lastly, and generally speaking, how did you manage working for someone who didn't understand what you do? Did it work out?
Your thoughts and insights are greatly appreciated.