Beginner, Expert, or Both?

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715422

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Beginner, Expert, or Both?

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 994556

    I believe you meant "competent" rather than "complacent" in the following...

    They're expert beginners, and since they can accomplish the things they're asked to do at their jobs, they think they're complacent.

    ...but I absolutely agree. I have a piece of art hanging on the wall that I commissioned a friend of mine to draw. The words on the piece state "Before you can think outside the box, you must first realize... you're in a box!"

    Considering all of the 8 and 9 out of 10 marks I've seen people give themselves on resumes when they turn out to be a 0 to 2 on the SQL Richter scale, including "DBAs" and "developers" alike, I'd have to say that I agree with the assessment that they just don't know what they don't know or, worse yet, they don't actually care. So what separates those people from many of the good folks we see answering questions on forums like SSC? That, in and of itself, is the answer and a lot of people simply won't take the time because "they're not getting paid for it".

    I also blame technology. I asked one fellow some questions about backups and after answering "Don't Know" to all of the questions his question to me was "I've always used {insert name of some backup software} to do my backups. Why do I need to know anything about native SQL Backups or the BACKUP command?" With others, questions like "What is a Clustered Index" are also answered with "Don't Know" and, when I explain it, I get asked "Why would a DBA or Developer need to know that?". My step kid's are all grown up so I can't confirm it but rumor has it that they're not teaching multiplication tables in school anymore. Guess that explains the worst of it all.

    Anything I could say on the subject after that would be perceived as a rant about complacency, a lack of intellectual curiosity, or, perhaps, a matter of arrogance, so I'll quit while I'm ahead. 🙂

    --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
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not."
    When you put the right degree of spin on it, the number 3|8 is also a glyph that describes the nature of a DBAs job. 😉

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
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  • chris_masiero

    Grasshopper

    Points: 15

    I really don't know if being an expert is even required for 95% of jobs.

    What would you call the level you reach once you are able to understand how to interpret, and modify expertly written examples from this website.

    I mean, there are a lot of people who say they are an expert at SQL and barely know how to perform a join or just know the basics of INSERT, UPDATE , etc. But take me for example, I've just spent 3 years 'porting' myself over to the paradigm that is SQL development. I use this and other sites a lot and can produce some pretty good stuff, but I would hardly consider myself an expert - just a competent builder tweaking the experts plans to suit my own household requirements.

    I might even fail a 'test' in an interview if they wanted me to write something of the top of my head that involves some of the more exotic SQL.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    Of course, the editorial is spot on. So many people do not bother to find out the "why" either like SQL being set based, the ordering of the execution of a SQL statement, etc. Yet I find myself caught in between being honest and being fairly compared with my peers. How can I mark myself honestly out of 10 when I know the last half dozen people may know a lot less but still mark themselves highly? When asked verbally I do try and explain my score...I can only hope that it is received in the intended manner the other side of the table.

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • reuben.anderson

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 816

    Totally agree. That's why I follow this site. I really like format; a little bit, on a range of subjects, each day.

    I can't keep up with it all though. My goal is understanding enough to be able to know where to go when I need more.

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    reuben.anderson (10/7/2013)


    Totally agree. That's why I follow this site. I really like format; a little bit, on a range of subjects, each day.

    I can't keep up with it all though. My goal is understanding enough to be able to know where to go when I need more.

    I've taken to a rather pragmatic strategy. Do the QOTD to test my knowledge and expand it, read the editorial to keep a finger on the pulse of the SQL Server community, at least read the synopsis of the articles in the newsletter (diving in to only those most relevant) and finally I am subscribed to the PowerShell forum (perhaps where there is most mutual benefit to be had).

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Cadavre

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 41582

    I think of myself as a beginner. I've been working with SQL Server for almost 4 years and generally move on to a new job as soon as I feel like there is nothing more to learn from the people I work with. That being said, I'm constantly trying to learn things on my own (currently have SQL Server MVP Deep Dives on my bedside table!) from books and articles. However, as I don't work somewhere (and never have) that has a traditional "DBA" or even any dedicated SQL developers it is difficult to see where you are in the hierarchy of a software development career. If I were looking for a new position, I'm not sure whether I'd be looking for Junior or Senior roles.


    Forever trying to learn
    My blog - http://www.cadavre.co.uk/
    For better, quicker answers on T-SQL questions, click on the following...http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/
    For better, quicker answers on SQL Server performance related questions, click on the following...http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQLServerCentral/66909/

  • simon.crick

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 227

    I will probably get shot down again for saying this, but I believe people should stick to core technology and basic tecnhiques unless there is a very good reason for using exotic technology and advanced techniques.

    Why? Because no one person (even those of you who think you are expert experts) can ever know more than a tiny fraction of all the available technology and techniques, and if we all go off on our own paths following our own preferences for exotic technology and advanced techniques, then our systems will end up being a completely unmaintanable mish-mash of technologies and techniques.

    I am not dumb. I have consistently achieved very high grades and won awards for outstanding achievement, etc., but the more I learn, the more I realize it is impossible to know everything, and therefore, out of consideration for our colleagues, we really ought to be sticking to core technology and basic techniques wherever possible.

    Simon

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 395449

    Excellent editorial Steve.

    At my previous employer we spent years and interviewed hundreds of people trying to find qualified DBAs. This story, someone knows a few things and repeats them for years, is extremely common and quite shocking. The IT world is constantly shifting. If you're not shifting with it, you'll be out of a job. Even that simple job where you do three things over & over is going to shift at some point (heck, I hear people are actually upgrading from SQL Server 2000).

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Cadavre

    SSC-Forever

    Points: 41582

    simon.crick (10/7/2013)


    I will probably get shot down again for saying this, but I believe people should stick to core technology and basic tecnhiques unless there is a very good reason for using exotic technology and advanced techniques.

    Why? Because no one person (even those of you who think you are expert experts) can ever know more than a tiny fraction of all the available technology and techniques, and if we all go off on our own paths following our own preferences for exotic technology and advanced techniques, then our systems will end up being a completely unmaintanable mish-mash of technologies and techniques.

    I am not dumb. I have consistently achieved very high grades and won awards for outstanding achievement, etc., but the more I learn, the more I realize it is impossible to know everything, and therefore, out of consideration for our colleagues, we really ought to be sticking to core technology and basic techniques wherever possible.

    Simon

    I disagree completely. You go with the "best" technique (measurable by performance tests) for the job, regardless of complexity. Then make sure that you document how the logic works.


    Forever trying to learn
    My blog - http://www.cadavre.co.uk/
    For better, quicker answers on T-SQL questions, click on the following...http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/Best+Practices/61537/
    For better, quicker answers on SQL Server performance related questions, click on the following...http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/SQLServerCentral/66909/

  • simon.crick

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 227

    Cadavre (10/7/2013)


    simon.crick (10/7/2013)


    I will probably get shot down again for saying this, but I believe people should stick to core technology and basic tecnhiques unless there is a very good reason for using exotic technology and advanced techniques.

    Why? Because no one person (even those of you who think you are expert experts) can ever know more than a tiny fraction of all the available technology and techniques, and if we all go off on our own paths following our own preferences for exotic technology and advanced techniques, then our systems will end up being a completely unmaintanable mish-mash of technologies and techniques.

    I am not dumb. I have consistently achieved very high grades and won awards for outstanding achievement, etc., but the more I learn, the more I realize it is impossible to know everything, and therefore, out of consideration for our colleagues, we really ought to be sticking to core technology and basic techniques wherever possible.

    Simon

    I disagree completely. You go with the "best" technique (measurable by performance tests) for the job, regardless of complexity. Then make sure that you document how the logic works.

    So if it works 1% faster but is 10 times as complex, you still go for the "advanced" technique?

  • Bhuvnesh

    SSC Guru

    Points: 59344

    Often, The objective if Interview is bascially "not to select good DBA" but to select a person who can easily fit in the requirement and often the inerview's question are very much limited and predictable.

    and this is also a reason why people instead of picking the stuff for learning perspective, they choose to grab perdictable easily catching hen.

    Very few people read the article/"join forums" to learn or excel their skills.

    -------Bhuvnesh----------
    I work only to learn Sql Server...though my company pays me for getting their stuff done;-)

  • Dird

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5081

    I think it's all down to motivation. We have quite a large team (16 DBAs) where you can see juniors (1-2 years experience) who are better than a couple seniors (10+ years experience) which just should not happen. They become complacent in their roles & yet can still probably find a new job quite easily by simply showing the duration of their CVs. This becomes even worse when looking at SQL Server since only 3 people support it (vs 15 people for Oracle). None of the 3 SQL DBAs are at the level of the good, mid-level Oracle DBA here, let alone the top Oracle seniors.


    Dird

  • Gary Varga

    SSC Guru

    Points: 82166

    simon.crick (10/7/2013)


    Cadavre (10/7/2013)


    simon.crick (10/7/2013)


    I will probably get shot down again for saying this, but I believe people should stick to core technology and basic tecnhiques unless there is a very good reason for using exotic technology and advanced techniques.

    Why? Because no one person (even those of you who think you are expert experts) can ever know more than a tiny fraction of all the available technology and techniques, and if we all go off on our own paths following our own preferences for exotic technology and advanced techniques, then our systems will end up being a completely unmaintanable mish-mash of technologies and techniques.

    I am not dumb. I have consistently achieved very high grades and won awards for outstanding achievement, etc., but the more I learn, the more I realize it is impossible to know everything, and therefore, out of consideration for our colleagues, we really ought to be sticking to core technology and basic techniques wherever possible.

    Simon

    I disagree completely. You go with the "best" technique (measurable by performance tests) for the job, regardless of complexity. Then make sure that you document how the logic works.

    So if it works 1% faster but is 10 times as complex, you still go for the "advanced" technique?

    Surely, that is over simplifying the argument to validate your point.

    It is frequently said on these forums that "it depends" and your statistical scenario would most likely result in a no to the "advanced" technique in most cases, however, there are possibly scenarios where 1% would be considered of enough benefit. Particularly as a tactical solution to overcome system capacity limit issues.

    Yet I agree with you in principle that all too often a complex solution is rolled out due to:

  • role justification
  • CV engineering
  • curiosity
  • post-training experimentation
  • etc.
  • I guess this is another example of where professionalism should be applied alongside experience and expertise (and documenting skills ;-)).

    Gaz

    -- Stop your grinnin' and drop your linen...they're everywhere!!!

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715422

    Jeff Moden (10/5/2013)


    I believe you meant "competent" rather than "complacent" in the following...

    They're expert beginners, and since they can accomplish the things they're asked to do at their jobs, they think they're complacent.

    Tx, reworded.

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