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Are you ready?


I have talked about wanting a change. I thought I am prepared to embrace that change when it finally comes.

I have waited for the right opportunity. And, yes, I finally met the right opportunity.

I wish this is a success story.

If there is one blog post I remember most from Thomas LaRock (@SQLRockstar | Blog), it’s his post about timing and opportunity. In “Timing Is Everything“, Thomas said:

Timing is everything, no matter what you are doing. You need to be able to prepare yourself so that at the time the opportunity presents itself you are ready. If you do, some people will look at you and say “wow, how did you get so lucky?” Others, like myself, will say “wow, how can I prepare myself to be ready when the time comes?”

How one prepares himself for an opportunity?

No excuses

The inadequacy of your present job is not an excuse for not knowing the things you aspire for in a job. There is just no excuse for your lack of knowledge. If you think you’ve worked hard enough, work even harder.

Dig in

If you are like me, one of the biggest challenge of learning advance SQL Server knowledge is the lack of an environment that supports your development. If I can’t find help from within, I must find some other means to learn the things I need to learn.

Knowing and not knowing

It’s not enough that you are aware of what you don’t know. You must act to find the answers. It might be ok to say “I don’t know” to a question in an interview but communicate how willing you are to work to know the answer.

Learn scenarios

It’s not enough that you know the fundamentals and the technical know-how’s. Focus your learning effort on scenarios – on solving problems. Equip yourself with knowledge that will enable you to navigate through providing solutions in different situations.

Identify the heart of the job

SQL Server is a management tool. It’s like a hammer to a carpenter. Unlike a hammer, SQL Server has different features that address specific needs. Majority of those needs have something to do with monitoring, performance tuning, and troubleshooting – the need for servers to be running all the time. You cannot possibly learn all the features of SQL Server overnight. But, if you are like me who’s still struggling to find that one ideal SQL Server DBA job, you’d want to focus on monitoring, performance tuning, and troubleshooting.

Know the trinity of a SQL Server DBA job

I just said it. I am not repeating this for you. I am repeating this for myself. Three things will get you through a SQL Server DBA job interview:

  • Monitoring - Knowledge beyond SQL Server Error Log and Agent Error Log. Act of omissions on the SQL Server level won’t show as errors (obviously). How to monitor things that are not readily visible in the eye? Proactive Monitoring! Identify the tools and features available to you.
  • Performance Tuning – Perfmon, DTA, DMV’s, and SP_Who2 are too common for an answer. Describe scenarios and identify the tools that you might use depending on the situation.
  • Troubleshooting – There are different points of failure you need to get yourself familiarized. These are some of them: User Access, Application Access, Security, Replication errors, diagnostics , etc. Basically you’re looking at a scenario which is something like “This stops running, how to fix it?”.

Yes, indeed, timing is everything. Finding that ideal SQL Server job is not about waiting for the right opportunity to knock at your door.

Yes, I failed that interview but the failure of not getting the job did not cripple me. It might have discouraged me a bit but it only strengthened me as a person.

That failed interview showed me a failure that does not weaken. It showed me the beacon of where I should be heading. It gave me directions to follow.

The failure does not matter now. I learned. That’s all that matters.

When opportunity knocks at your door, how ready are you to answer the call?

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