How Do We Prove Expertise?

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396384

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item How Do We Prove Expertise?

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

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 995976

    BAAA-HAAAA!!!   Step 1 is to ask them how to get the current date and time in T-SQL. 😀

    Of course, when you do find an expert, can you actually use them correctly?  Here's and example of what I'm talking about...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg

     

    --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."

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • David.Poole

    SSC Guru

    Points: 75308

    There's acquiring expertise and then there is acquiring recognition for expertise.

    The first one requires passion, hard work and opportunity.

    The 2nd one is trickier and in this day and age involves more risk.  If you want to become known for expertise you have to share what you know.   You also have to be approachable and willing to learn from the person you teach.

    You could have two people with equal knowledge but the one people will say is the expert is the one who they feel comfortable learning from.

    To give an example, without naming names, there is someone on LinkedIn who definitely knows their stuff.  But they publish posts with the title "To laugh or to cry" in which they rip someone to shreds for a question from someone who is probably at the beginning of their journey.  When I read their blog posts what comes across is someone who is knowledge rapped up in a love with their own cleverness.  Both the wording and phraseology is designed to show the reader just how clever the author is rather than give a leg up to to the reader.

    I did learn a lot from them, but it was through gritted teeth and eventually I found their tone (not the content) so repellant I just unfollowed them and stopped reading their material even though it would be in my interest to do so.

    I have always found the atmosphere at SQLBits to be warm and friendly.  Attended by people who are passionate to learn and the speakers are passionate to share.  Many of the speakers are on Twitter and many respond to questions under the hastag #sqlfamily.  The hash tag says it all.

    This site has also been a friendly site.  The spirit of SQLBits is inherent in this site and talking to the people at Redgate that same spirit seems to be part of the Redgate culture.  That is why this site and simple-talk are the first places I go to for expertise, closely followed by blogs and Twitter posts from those people who had the guts to stand up and present at SQLBits.

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396384

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Jeff, you'd never hire me. And yes, I love that video. Thanks for burning 7  minutes of my morning forcing me to re-watch it. HA!

    David, yeah, I have to say I agree with you. Despite the fact that I know sometimes I'll pop a gasket about some of the questions I see online, I try (and somewhat fail) to stay positive about it. Negativity, tearing down, just generally poor behavior doesn't do anyone any good. Best to always be, as much as possible, uplifting. It does get hard sometimes though, just saying.

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

  • Jason-

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2559

    "Negativity, tearing down, just generally poor behavior doesn't do anyone any good. Best to always be, as much as possible, uplifting. It does get hard sometimes though, just saying."

    I never called you stupid, but when I asked you to spell "ORANGE" and you asked me "The fruit or the color?" it kinda caught me off guard.

    -

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396384

    Jason- wrote:

    "Negativity, tearing down, just generally poor behavior doesn't do anyone any good. Best to always be, as much as possible, uplifting. It does get hard sometimes though, just saying."

    I never called you stupid, but when I asked you to spell "ORANGE" and you asked me "The fruit or the color?" it kinda caught me off guard.

    Which was it?

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

  • Doctor Who 2

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 7764

    Good question, Grant. I've seen some well known companies do very rigorous testing and interviewing of the candidates. I'd get the feeling that they really had a good idea as to how well that person would do, before they hired him/her.

    When I interviewed for my position with the university I worked with formerly, and helped interview other people, we brought the candidates in, asked all of them the same questions and did this only in one hour. The same goes for where I work now, in State government. From that single encounter, a judgement is made and a candidate hired (unless they were all totally incompetent.) This isn't always a good predictor as I've seen people let go who didn't work out, more often than what you're going to see at a more rigorous approach.

    Its a real fixed bag.

    Rod

  • Chris Wooding

    SSCarpal Tunnel

    Points: 4311

    It seems to me that you could have all the certificates under the sun and be next to useless or none at all and be really good. The only useable metric of expertise I can think of would be personal recommendation, but how would a recruiter know whether the people recommending you are just friends helping out or genuine work colleagues? References from previous employers should help, but more and more companies are refusing to provide anything other than a bland confirmation of start and end dates, for fear of legal action. When I was freelance, I assumed that a record of being repeatedly renewed somewhere was an indication of good work, but the updated IR35 legislation (in the UK) means that freelancers need to move around more frequently regardless of how well they perform. In short, I don't know how anyone in the IT industry could "prove" expertise other than a trial period of a few months.

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396384

    Doctor Who 2 wrote:

    Good question, Grant. I've seen some well known companies do very rigorous testing and interviewing of the candidates. I'd get the feeling that they really had a good idea as to how well that person would do, before they hired him/her.

    When I interviewed for my position with the university I worked with formerly, and helped interview other people, we brought the candidates in, asked all of them the same questions and did this only in one hour. The same goes for where I work now, in State government. From that single encounter, a judgement is made and a candidate hired (unless they were all totally incompetent.) This isn't always a good predictor as I've seen people let go who didn't work out, more often than what you're going to see at a more rigorous approach.

    Its a real fixed bag.

    This is the approach that good organizations should take. The issue you run into is a chicken/egg situation. What if you don't already have enough expertise in house to set up and administer the test & interviews. I was hired once by a company that sent in their "technical" guy who sat down and said, I kid you not, "I don't know this stuff at all. What kind of questions should I be asking?". No, he wasn't playing 4-D Chess and tricking me into exposing my own ignorance. He was their best and he just didn't know what was necessary to arrive at a good answer. I think the fact I didn't blow him off or act badly is what got me the job offer. I'm pretty sure that's not that unique a situation.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    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: 396384

    Chris Wooding wrote:

    It seems to me that you could have all the certificates under the sun and be next to useless or none at all and be really good. The only useable metric of expertise I can think of would be personal recommendation, but how would a recruiter know whether the people recommending you are just friends helping out or genuine work colleagues? References from previous employers should help, but more and more companies are refusing to provide anything other than a bland confirmation of start and end dates, for fear of legal action. When I was freelance, I assumed that a record of being repeatedly renewed somewhere was an indication of good work, but the updated IR35 legislation (in the UK) means that freelancers need to move around more frequently regardless of how well they perform. In short, I don't know how anyone in the IT industry could "prove" expertise other than a trial period of a few months.

    Yeah, but that's painful for all involved. There must be a way to short circuit the process. At least a little.

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

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125068

    I don't necessarily consider myself a complete [expert] in SQL Server, but that feeling isn't based on any inferiority complex, because I actually don't believe most self professed experts to be experts themselves either. Only a very small subset of SQL Server users are true experts, and their expertise is limited only to a subset of features and practical applications.

    But the good news is that we don't really need to be experts to excel at our jobs. We do need a baseline repository of knowledge, and then other attributes like creativity, work ethic, motivation, and "been there, done that" experience are really what determine success outcomes. But does the freshly minted self professed "expert" you're interviewing for an open position possess those attributes? Probably not.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Grant Fritchey

    SSC Guru

    Points: 396384

    Eric M Russell wrote:

    I don't necessarily consider myself a complete [expert] in SQL Server, but that feeling isn't based on any inferiority complex, because I actually don't believe most self professed experts to be experts themselves either. Only a very small subset of SQL Server users are true experts, and their expertise is limited only to a subset of features and practical applications.

    But the good news is that we don't really need to be experts to excel at our jobs. We do need a baseline repository of knowledge, and then other attributes like creativity, work ethic, motivation, and "been there, done that" experience are really what determine success outcomes. But does the freshly minted self professed "expert" you're interviewing for an open position possess those attributes? Probably not.

    Maybe "expertise" is the wrong word. Competence might be better. However, the same issue is there. How do we prove our competence is at a certain level?

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

  • Eric M Russell

    SSC Guru

    Points: 125068

    Grant Fritchey wrote:

    Eric M Russell wrote:

    I don't necessarily consider myself a complete [expert] in SQL Server, but that feeling isn't based on any inferiority complex, because I actually don't believe most self professed experts to be experts themselves either. Only a very small subset of SQL Server users are true experts, and their expertise is limited only to a subset of features and practical applications.

    But the good news is that we don't really need to be experts to excel at our jobs. We do need a baseline repository of knowledge, and then other attributes like creativity, work ethic, motivation, and "been there, done that" experience are really what determine success outcomes. But does the freshly minted self professed "expert" you're interviewing for an open position possess those attributes? Probably not.

    Maybe "expertise" is the wrong word. Competence might be better. However, the same issue is there. How do we prove our competence is at a certain level?

    I occasionally participate in panel interviews for candidates when the job involves working with SQL Server. Rather than asking quiz style questions (ie: What is a clustered index?), I prefer to ask scenario and experiential based questions.

    For example: Tell me about that job you had at XYZ cable. Tell me why you would prefer a clustered index over a heap - what are it's advantages and maintenance requirements? Also, explain how are locking and blocking related?

    The responses from the candidate determine my followup questions, and if the candidate seems to know their stuff - a half hour conversation about index design, performance optimization, and troubleshooting. If someone is attempting to "fake it till they make it", then it will be short interview.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • ixtlan07

    Newbie

    Points: 1

    In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  • Jeff Moden

    SSC Guru

    Points: 995976

    Eric M Russell wrote:

    Grant Fritchey wrote:

    Eric M Russell wrote:

    I don't necessarily consider myself a complete [expert] in SQL Server, but that feeling isn't based on any inferiority complex, because I actually don't believe most self professed experts to be experts themselves either. Only a very small subset of SQL Server users are true experts, and their expertise is limited only to a subset of features and practical applications.

    But the good news is that we don't really need to be experts to excel at our jobs. We do need a baseline repository of knowledge, and then other attributes like creativity, work ethic, motivation, and "been there, done that" experience are really what determine success outcomes. But does the freshly minted self professed "expert" you're interviewing for an open position possess those attributes? Probably not.

    Maybe "expertise" is the wrong word. Competence might be better. However, the same issue is there. How do we prove our competence is at a certain level?

    I occasionally participate in panel interviews for candidates when the job involves working with SQL Server. Rather than asking quiz style questions (ie: What is a clustered index?), I prefer to ask scenario and experiential based questions.

    For example: Tell me about that job you had at XYZ cable. Tell me why you would prefer a clustered index over a heap - what are it's advantages and maintenance requirements? Also, explain how are locking and blocking related?

    The responses from the candidate determine my followup questions, and if the candidate seems to know their stuff - a half hour conversation about index design, performance optimization, and troubleshooting. If someone is attempting to "fake it till they make it", then it will be short interview.

    That's basically the route I take.  I start off with a couple of very simple warmup questions, then more difficult questions (along with the followup questions you speak of), and then delve into scenarios and the discussions along with them.  This is also a place to determine their "learn-ability" (to coin a phrase).

    --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."

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

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