Gaining knowledge

  • as1981

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2762

    All,

    I would appreciate some opinions on a few questions. I appreciate that some of it's subjective and I'm not looking for definitive answers, just some advice or opinions.

    I've had a bit of experience of reading CV's and recruiting staff but not much.

    I'm currently unemployed looking for a new job. I have several years SQL Server 2016 server experience. I don't like to self comment but I'm probably at the mid/higher end of the 'junior dba' level. I'm definetly not a senior DBA. I'm UK based. I also have a programming background and I'm currently learning some .net.

    Looking at job adverts it seems that adding Azue and Data Warehouse to my knowledge would be of benefit? So far I've self taught myself some of the basics of SSAS and Data Warehousing (also some SSIS and SSRS as well).

    From the Azure perspective I'm wondering if it's worth doing this certification https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/learn/certifications/azure-database-administrator-associate

    I'm debating due to the following:

    A certification doesn't replace experience but perhaps shows that I've gained some knowledge and used my time away from work usefully? There are lots of great resources online but on a CV an actual certification might be better proof than 'self taught'? However I don't want to waste money on something that an employer is going to have no interest in.

    Would this certification be a good choice for someone with 'on premises' experience looking to add Azure knowledge?

    Is there an equivalent certification for Data Warehousing? I searched but I can only find the ones that expire in January 2021.

    I appreciate that SSIS/SSRS might be useful as well but I'm less concerned about those, at the moment, as I did quite a lot of ETL and reporting work in my previous role, albeit with different tools, so my knowledge gap is a lot smaller compared to Azure and Data Warehousing.

    As well as the above any general advice/ideas would be appreciated.

    Thanks

     

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  as1981.
  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396715

    Let's be clear, opinions all stink and this is very much my opinion.

    You're going too broad. SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, data warehousing and Azure (which, all by itself, ENORMOUS topic) is too much. You're only going to learn a smattering of each of these. Instead, focus. Does it look like, looking in your area, there are more data warehousing jobs? Then look at that, maybe toss in a little SSAS (which isn't used as much these days, columnstore indexes do a lot of that work). Is there more work for data movement, then SSIS. Is there more Azure work, then that. I'd really narrow it down a bit. I'm not saying specialize in a single thing, but right now you're too broad.

    As to the certification.... I can't lie. I'm not a fan of certs. They're gamed far too easily to make them worth much when I'm sitting in the hiring chair. Yes, with the mythical two candidates that are equal in every way, certs might matter. However, frequently, if I see a lot of certs, but not much experience, I get nervous.

    That said, certs are how you get past HR. Now, networking to get jobs is the VERY best way to get past HR, but certs is how you get by them otherwise. So yeah, if you're looking to grow into Azure (and I do recommend that, depending on your individual job market), then getting that certification is probably a good idea.

    Now I need to go wash my hands after typing that last sentence.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    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

  • BrainDonor

    SSCoach

    Points: 19234

    I'm with Grant on this. Certifications on their own aren't viewed well - experience is always the main focus. However, studying for the certificate will give you some direction and focus, and it does show that you are committed to self-improvement - a big deal in itself.

    I have frequently successfully applied for jobs that quote SSIS, SSRS and SSAS knowing that I have almost no experience of SSRS and SSAS. The job descriptions are like a wish-list, with every possible attribute they would like - sometimes generated by somebody far removed from the actual role. I tell them that with today's product nobody is an expert in all of those; they are simply too large to specialise in all three.

    Which aspect really appeals to you? If you're focusing on an aspect that doesn't really interest you then you won't enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it then you won't learn as well as you could.

    Steve Hall
    Linkedin
    Blog Site

  • as1981

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2762

    Please see 3787558 below. 3787558 contains this post and some edits.

    I intended to edit this post but it showed as a new post instead. User error I think.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  as1981.
  • as1981

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2762

    Edit: BrainDonor and I replied at the same time.

    My original reply was only a reply to Grant's reply.

    ---Original reply---

    Thank you for all your advice. It's really helpful

    As you said certificates don't replace experience. My intention is very much to a) to add to my knowledge in a way I can demonstrate b) to genuinally add to my knowledge - Everything in my previous role was on premise (primarily 2016) and I had no involvement with Azure. c) As you said it helps with those hirers which tend to focus on certificates.

    I don't intend to come across as "I've done a certificate so I know everything".With on premises I think there is probably little enough difference between 2016 and 2019 that it won't be a huge issue to an employer? I have 2019 installed on my laptop to start looking at some of the new features so I've at least seen and used them. I'm also going to look at Columnstore Indexes soon and I had wondered whether they might have an impact on the use of Data Warehousing.

    With Azure I'm stuck in the classic "I don't have experience so I can't get the job to gain the experience".  At least I can do something about my knowledge.

    I wonder if it's a bit of a phase and some companies will come back to on premises but, for now, it's on lots of job requirements.

    Grant Fritchey wrote:

    You're going too broad. SSAS, SSRS, SSIS, data warehousing and Azure (which, all by itself, ENORMOUS topic) is too much. You're only going to learn a smattering of each of these.

    Thanks. This confirms something that I'd wondered about and didn't mention in my original post.

    --- Added reply---

    BrainDonor wrote:

    However, studying for the certificate will give you some direction and focus, and it does show that you are committed to self-improvement - a big deal in itself

    Thanks - This is one of my reasons for getting a certificate, it helps to see that others have the same opinion.

    BrainDonor wrote:

    The job descriptions are like a wish-list, with every possible attribute they would like - sometimes generated by somebody far removed from the actual role.

    I've wondered about this as well. I'm perhaps to cautious about what I apply for.

    BrainDonor wrote:

    Which aspect really appeals to you? If you're focusing on an aspect that doesn't really interest you then you won't enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it then you won't learn as well as you could.

    Thanks for this advice and I agree with you.

     

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396715

    as1981 wrote:

    As you said certificates don't replace experience. My intention is very much to a) to add to my knowledge in a way I can demonstrate b) to genuinally add to my knowledge - Everything in my previous role was on premise (primarily 2016) and I had no involvement with Azure. c) As you said it helps with those hirers which tend to focus on certificates.

    Yeah, that's it in a nutshell. It's more for HR than for the people hiring you, or, at least, it should be.

    I don't intend to come across as "I've done a certificate so I know everything".

    No, I didn't think you were coming across that way at all. Sorry if I sounded like that.

    With on premises I think there is probably little enough difference between 2016 and 2019 that it won't be a huge issue to an employer?

    It shouldn't be. Are there differences? Yes. Are they enormous? Not on the fundamentals. You should be perfectly fine. If I were hiring, it wouldn't concern me. My question to you would be simple: What's your favorite new feature in 2019. I don't expect anyone to always be using the latest stuff, at all. I expect everyone to at least be aware of what's in the new stuff to some small degree, if I'm working with, or moving to, the new stuff.

    I have 2019 installed on my laptop to start looking at some of the new features so I've at least seen and used them. I'm also going to look at Columnstore Indexes soon and I had wondered whether they might have an impact on the use of Data Warehousing.

    HUGE impact

    With Azure I'm stuck in the classic "I don't have experience so I can't get the job to gain the experience".  At least I can do something about my knowledge.

    They have free tiers and if you have an MSDN license you get some degree of free access. Use all that while you learn.

    I wonder if it's a bit of a phase and some companies will come back to on premises but, for now, it's on lots of job requirements.

    Nope. Hybrid is the future for everyone. Some people will be cloud only. Very few, and constantly shrinking, will be on premises only. Best to learn Azure, AWS or Google Cloud, something. The cloud is going to be some degree a part of everyone's future. May as well get on it now as you're doing.

    And don't put too much stock in my diatribes against certs. Fact is, I've had one cert in 30+ years in the industry (Sybase back in 1995). I got it as part of work. Recently, discussions have been going on around my getting AWS certified. If work requires it, I'll do it. If I were just getting going in the industry, I'd probably get a cert or two as well. I'm still not a fan, but I understand why people use them.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    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

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396715

    And yeah, total agreement on ignoring the list of required technologies. That stuff is a nightmare.

    Story time:

    Leaving my previous employer after 10 years (all good with them, I just wanted to do something different and Redgate is wonderfully different), I sat with my boss discussing a replacement. He started asking about all the stuff I had done over 10 years. Well, being a senior person and having helped build the team, I'd touched just about anything you can name related to SQL Server, Windows, networking, data, security and data management back in 2011. He lists it all on the board and says, this is the person we need. I start laughing. I point out to him, I'm not that person. Yeah, I messed with SSRS on a couple of projects, helping out the team. But did I know SSRS? No way! Same goes with the rest of the ridiculous listing on the board. However, guess what I saw in the want-ads? Yeah, that whole silly list. No one, including me, was qualified.

    Just apply anyway if the experience range looks right.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    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

  • as1981

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2762

    Grant Fritchey wrote:

    Sorry if I sounded like that.

    You didn't at all. I understood what you meant. My "I don't intend to come across as ..." was entirely paranoia about my posts and not a reaction to your reply.

    Thanks for all your other comments. I appreciate them but only quoted the one I wanted to refer to specifically.

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