SQL Server DBA or BI

  • Dear Friends,

    I am new to SQL Server, working as an IT support for the past 7 years and want to move to SQL

    I am learning TSQL , and need your expert advice on how to move further ( SQL DBA or MSBI)

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

  • If you want to go the DBA route then you will want to learn more about backing up/restoring databases, Installing and configuring SQL Server, VMs, Disk storage and things of that nature. Learn how to schedule SQL agent jobs and create database maintenance plans. A good book to look at to understand what a DBA does would be Troubleshooting SQL Server: A Guide for the Accidental DBA.

    If you want to go the BI route you should get an idea of what direction you want to go. Some BI developers focus on Reports (SSRS), some deal with Integrations (SSIS) and others build cubes (SSAS). Each job has a specialized set of skills. A good book to read to better understand the BI process and what skills are involved would be the The Microsoft Data Warehouse Toolkit: With SQL Server 2008 R2 and the Microsoft Business Intelligence Toolset. This will give you an idea with what is involved for each specialty.

    For either you will want to learn about indexing, keep strengthening you T-SQL knowledge. Get strong on data modeling, normalization and de-normalization. Become comfortable with concepts such as lookup tables, master data, data cleansing, etc.

    "I cant stress enough the importance of switching from a sequential files mindset to set-based thinking. After you make the switch, you can spend your time tuning and optimizing your queries instead of maintaining lengthy, poor-performing code."

    -- Itzik Ben-Gan 2001

  • No one can answer that question for you. You have determine what you like to do. As a DBA you are most likely, especially as a junior dba, going to be spending lots of time on administrative tasks like backups, restores, security, auditing, and monitoring. As you get more senior, you'll start getting more involved in performance tuning and architecture (both database and hardware). If that sounds interesting and exciting to you, then DBA may be the path.

    For BI, you need to be more interested/passionate about analyzing data and providing actionable information to the business. It will be more time working with data to find answers and developing reports and reporting systems to alllow the business to make better decisions.

    Jack Corbett
    Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
    Check out these links on how to get faster and more accurate answers:
    Forum Etiquette: How to post data/code on a forum to get the best help
    Need an Answer? Actually, No ... You Need a Question

  • dniranjan2000 (6/9/2015)


    Dear Friends,

    I am new to SQL Server, working as an IT support for the past 7 years and want to move to SQL

    I am learning TSQL , and need your expert advice on how to move further ( SQL DBA or MSBI)

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

    I have to ask... WHY??? What is it that you think you're going to like about SQL Server in one form or another?

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

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

  • Hi Alan,

    Many Thanks for your suggestion and recommending the books.

    currently I am concentrating on T-SQL for a good foundation.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

  • Jack Corbett (6/9/2015)


    No one can answer that question for you. You have determine what you like to do. As a DBA you are most likely, especially as a junior dba, going to be spending lots of time on administrative tasks like backups, restores, security, auditing, and monitoring. As you get more senior, you'll start getting more involved in performance tuning and architecture (both database and hardware). If that sounds interesting and exciting to you, then DBA may be the path.

    For BI, you need to be more interested/passionate about analyzing data and providing actionable information to the business. It will be more time working with data to find answers and developing reports and reporting systems to alllow the business to make better decisions.

    Hi Jack,

    Many thanks for your reply and giving the idea about the roles.

    kind regards

    Niranjan

  • Jeff Moden (6/9/2015)


    dniranjan2000 (6/9/2015)


    Dear Friends,

    I am new to SQL Server, working as an IT support for the past 7 years and want to move to SQL

    I am learning TSQL , and need your expert advice on how to move further ( SQL DBA or MSBI)

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

    I have to ask... WHY??? What is it that you think you're going to like about SQL Server in one form or another?

    Hi Jeff,

    Many thanks for your reply,

    I have developed my interest for SQL server during working on a support project of our company website.

    Our company's website is developed by an external agency , but they have given me and 2 more members of staff how to do the daily updates on the website.

    and as a back-end they use SQL server.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

  • dniranjan2000 (6/10/2015)


    Jeff Moden (6/9/2015)


    dniranjan2000 (6/9/2015)


    Dear Friends,

    I am new to SQL Server, working as an IT support for the past 7 years and want to move to SQL

    I am learning TSQL , and need your expert advice on how to move further ( SQL DBA or MSBI)

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

    I have to ask... WHY??? What is it that you think you're going to like about SQL Server in one form or another?

    Hi Jeff,

    Many thanks for your reply,

    [font="Arial Black"]I have developed my interest for SQL server during working on a support project of our company website[/font].

    Our company's website is developed by an external agency , but they have given me and 2 more members of staff how to do the daily updates on the website.

    and as a back-end they use SQL server.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

    Now that's a good reason... especially if you like working with it. A lot of people "do it for the money" instead of the passion and they end up sucking at it.

    My personal preference is "SQL DBA" mostly because I'm an old front end programmer and hated every minute of it. MSBI seems like it would contain a lot of the same stuff... I need a different color of Pink and I want Pale Yellow lettering on this White background and can you make the numbers look more attractive? That's not a slam on anyone that happens to be in the world of BI and it can pay well for those dedicated to the art... it's just not for me.

    There are 3 basic types of "DBAs", in my humble opinion.

    [font="Arial Black"]Systems DBA[/font]

    These are the folks that work mostly only with the system itself. When it comes to performance tuning, they know what it takes for hardware, trace flags, configuration of TempDB, etc, etc. Typically, they manage a shedload of servers and know how to use the Central Management System very well. They also know about clustered servers, have an in-depth knowledge of Disaster Recovery, manage security, and, of course, manage backup and restore systems as well as capacity planning. There's more but that's a good overview.

    [font="Arial Black"]Application DBA[/font]

    This is the person that knows T-SQL inside and out along with in depth knowledge of a lot of the inner workings of things like Indexes, Partitioning, Table Structure, and most of the commands and functions. Frequently, these folks also write stuff for the BI people to use and they will have a strong understanding of the "Black Arts" of T-SQL and the good ones are also masters at performance tuning of the code.

    [font="Arial Black"]Hybrid DBA[/font]

    This person has a strong understanding of many of the things that both the Systems and Application DBAs do. A lot of times, they're backed up by an infrastructure group that is actually responsible for setting up the physical and virtual boxes so that they can concentrate on making sure that jobs run correctly, have the time to do peer reviews of code, mentor developers, do things like partitioning for the sake of reducing maintenance, backup, and restore times. They also are the ones that frequently do the backups and test restores although they frequently have nothing to do with clustered servers or offsite DR (done by the infrastructure group where I work). Of course, they're also Ninjas when it comes to T-SQL and are master Database Developers, themselves. Really good ones can even tell some of the other two types of DBAs some tricks that they might not have heard of because they have a pretty deep understanding of both worlds.

    To be sure, I find the Hybrid DBA to be the most interesting and have developed an incredible passion for it over the years especially with the community of support and equal passion for the subject on this and other forums.

    My recommendation for most people is to buy a copy of the Developers Edition (~60USD) AND "Books Online" (free download) and start with the basics of databases, tables, and T-SQL. Let your passion grow from there.

    --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.
    "Change is inevitable... change for the better is not".
    "Dear Lord... I'm a DBA so please give me patience because, if you give me strength, I'm going to need bail money too!"

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

  • dniranjan2000 (6/10/2015)


    Hi Alan,

    Many Thanks for your suggestion and recommending the books.

    currently I am concentrating on T-SQL for a good foundation.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

    Excellent. I got my Start in SQL in a similar way as you. I was supporting an application that had a SQL back-end. At the time I was going to college with the goal of becoming a Cisco guru. I fell in love with SQL however and went that route. Since then I have a back-end and hybrid DBAs with a job description similar to how Jeff describes above. I'm a BI Consultant now - I got into BI because of the money. If I can do it all over I would be a would likely have become an Application DBA. Developing SQL is what I'm passionate about. I'm not saying I don't love what I do (I do); fortunately there is enough bad SQL in the BI solutions that I work with that can be a valuable resource in the world of SSIS and SSRS.

    My advise, based on my experience is don't allow yourself to be driven exclusively by the money. Discover what you love about SQL and focus your career around that. If you love what you do the money will surely follow. If you want to be a SQL guru SQLServerCentral is the place. There are great articles, blogs, stairways and forums that will help you get the edge over the other SQL practitioners out there. Also be sure to read Itzik Ben-Gans books and articles on SQLMag.com. His stuff has helped me a great deal.

    "I cant stress enough the importance of switching from a sequential files mindset to set-based thinking. After you make the switch, you can spend your time tuning and optimizing your queries instead of maintaining lengthy, poor-performing code."

    -- Itzik Ben-Gan 2001

  • I would say look at two things

    - What you enjoy

    - What jobs are available

    Please don't take a job for money you don't enjoy, but I do understand taking a job that you might not love to get experience and move ahead. Just don't do it for a long time.

    Ask around, see what others do, and then pick something to learn. Get a book, read articles, but most importantly, practice. If you're learning T-SQL, you should read Jeff's articles, and others, and practice using the techniques. Read questions on the forums here, and build your own solution before reading what others posted as answers.

    There's no right answer. You must find your own path.

  • Dear Friends,

    Many Thanks to all of you for your guidance and encouragement.

    Kind regards

    Niranjan

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