You're not really that good at SQL Server

  • I want to agree and believe in your argument. I really do. But I am the only developer in my department. I am a jack of all trades, master of none. I have to design the db, design the app, code the app, manage deployments, do some testing. I don't have time to be really good at one thing.

    I read an article that we are not hired for our technical skills. We are hired to solve problems. That is what I do. Build apps that solve problems for the company. Will that cause me problems in the future? Only if I work for a company that values tech skills over solving problems.

    Does solving problems require tech skills? Absolutely. But I do not need to know everything about any one thing. I learn what I need to solve the next problem.

  • Steve, I would agree with you, except in a few situations. For example, I am now 60 and working what will be my last gig as a DBA for a mid-sized Northwest Hospital. I took this job and moved from Pennsylvania explicitly to enjoy this area, which even during my 21 years in the Air Force I never got to see (having been nearly literally everywhere else worldwide lol). In short, I want to enjoy this area, and I simply want to be able to do my job here very well, exceptionally even, but I have no notions of going out and learning any technologies that I will never use here. Why would I? I am between 2 and 5 years from retiring altogether now.

    I will say though that when I was in my 30s and 40s, I was a serious bookworm, learning everything I could about my craft even though the jobs I had then didn't require it because of all the reasons you state.

  • I know this was a bit harsh and a little scolding, but this was really a message aimed at those people that get complacent, that have the 1 year of experience 10 times (or maybe 4 months of experience), those that go to work with some overconfidence because they are getting by in their jobs.

    Finding time to learn and improve is hard, but plenty of professions require it outside of work. My mission to inspire and help many of you get better at your jobs, and this was a slightly different attempt for me. I want you to remember that there is a lot to learn and lots of jobs outside your own use SQL Server in different ways.

    Spend time improving yourself in ways, but certainly in your career. Find a balance in life with time for family, friends, faith, hobbies.  You never know when you'll need a new job.

  • Stephen Rybacki wrote:

    Steve, I would agree with you, except in a few situations. For example, I am now 60 and working what will be my last gig as a DBA for a mid-sized Northwest Hospital.

    Congrats, and yes, this is a case where I could see you not looking to move forward in your career. Certainly I am hoping I feel that way some day.

  • Pretty broad brush statements... Stepping outside of technical thinking, it sounds like you feel a bit unappreciated - and perhaps stymied that less competent people seem to pay little cost for their knowledge gaps. Most people learn what is necessary in the context that they work in, and motivated people look for ways to improve the current landscape they occupy. Wise people know, paradoxically, that their wider freedom is invested in knowing more - so that regardless of changes in their current circumstances, they are desirable candidates elsewhere. Let me say that I have often been guided by your expertise, and energized by your passion for learning. Thank you.

  • JCunha-1019265 wrote:

    Pretty broad brush statements... Stepping outside of technical thinking, it sounds like you feel a bit unappreciated - and perhaps stymied that less competent people seem to pay little cost for their knowledge gaps. Most people learn what is necessary in the context that they work in, and motivated people look for ways to improve the current landscape they occupy. Wise people know, paradoxically, that their wider freedom is invested in knowing more - so that regardless of changes in their current circumstances, they are desirable candidates elsewhere. Let me say that I have often been guided by your expertise, and energized by your passion for learning. Thank you.

     

    Not really underappreciated (if this was directed at me). More I was trying to see if I could shock a few people to kick start some additional effort. I saw a few people recently getting too complacent, to the point where they were unwilling to improve the way they work, even though they aren't really doing a good job at work. They're costing resources and money because of older, and very incomplete, skills in a few areas.

     

    Thanks for the kind words and glad I could energize you

  • I love you, man! Thanks for saying what too many of us don't want to, that the people we work with think they know more than they really do. And more than that, prople who make a living off of SQL Server claim to know more than they *know* they do (I am talking to you, "technical" project manager). The "fake it 'til you make it" mentality has given way to something less, something weak and perhaps even something sinister. Time to change all that. The truth works. I am committed to being truthful about myself toward others. Since making that commitment I have found life to have become easier, less complicated, and more fun. Go take a course, or read a book! Then maybe next time I interview you, you will know what a "semijoin" is.

    Keep up the good work, Steverino.

  • I think Steve is in a unique position here, not to the exclusion of others, but certainly at a different vantage point than most of us. While we see what goes on at our company, our team, in our career experience, he's had the advantage of presiding over the largest SQL Server community online for a long time. That, in tandem with his experience as a speaker, gives him the ability to make a call that we can't.

    I don't doubt that he's seeing what he's seeing, and I don't think he's wrong in the assessment of how to improve that. Does everyone NEED to do that in order to make a living? Of course not. Every situation is different. Is his recommendation worthy of heeding in order to generally move your abilities and career forward, if you choose to do so? I think so.

    Those who think he is being "negative" maybe haven't interviewed people in a while, or tried to train them.

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  • gmilke,

    You hit a big nail right on the head!

  • Harsh criticisms but I can take it. Kendra Little posted something about this a few years back … it made me realize that I was a junior DBA with 5 years of experience in many ways. Still true when it comes to things such as performance and understanding of some aspects of hardware/storage. I'm also an extremely-long distance runner (ultra runner) and have been told that I should train more on trails (when around trail runners) or run more multi-days (when around those who run in circles on a track for 6-days); as with running, I choose what I want to do, what I want to be strong at, what I want to be mediocre at, and how much time I want to spend learning in order to get the job done. I consider myself in regards to Oracle as Junior DBA … I do enough to get done what needs to be done. In the last 2 years upgraded/downgraded (up from 10g to 12c/down from Enterprise to Standard Edition) for all of my Oracle databases. Oh, and virtualized them all. For SQL Server, I consider myself a mid-level DBA. In the last 3 years I completed virtualization of the remaining physical SQL Servers, architected a max virtualization implementation of SQL Server on our production environment, upgraded several 2005/2008R2 SS to 2016 on Server 2016 CORE. This week, we will be implementing a new SharePoint 2016 extranet site with a SQL Server 2016 AOAG backend (primary and one secondary). This is actually against my recommendation as we don't have the experience to support AOAG. But I guess we will once things start to go sideways. I also consider myself an IT Professional (whatever that means) and at the Senior Level. I help with code reviews, mentoring junior developers, perform applications support (to include major upgrades), work with the business stakeholders, etc., with emphasis ITIL practices <- These are the important things to me. Where will that leave me if I need to find a new job you ask? It gives me more options. In 2011, I had been a DBA for a couple of years. I decided to move to Alaska and was not able to find a DBA job so I took a job as a Programmer/Analyst. I easily worked my way to performing DBA duties. Applied and accepted a job as a DBA within a year at the same organization.

  • Hi Steve, I 100% agree and also despite using SQL server daily for BI development and data warehousing, I include myself.

    I just sent the below email to my colleagues as a response to your editorial and set us a challenge.

    What do you think?

    ———————

    Evening all, if you have 2 minutes, read the below email and see what you think? I reckon almost everyone in the industry fits into the category and that we can all benefit from continuing professional development.

    I would like to suggest that we take a different topic or skill every quarter and collectively aim to improve our own personal knowledge and experience around it. The idea is not to judge others for not knowing but to collectively inform and lift each other up for the benefit of all.

    I think it nicely applies to all the software that we use and so doesn’t have to be limited to SQL server.

    Anyone up for this?

    Cheers,

    Dave

    —————-

    Best Regards,

    Dave

  • Dave, I agree that the idea is not to judge others for not knowing but to collectively inform and lift each other up for the benefit of all. Communication skills is another thing that can be improved on every day. A good skill is to communicate an idea without telling people they suck at their job and skillset.

  • Hi Dan, yeah you are right however I think the OP was trying to provoke a reaction from us rather than offend us. In my opinion, he wants us to look inwards at our strengths and weaknesses and to make positive steps to improve upon what we already know.

    Harsh words on the surface but an important message beneath it.

    Best Regards,

    Dave

  • Dave, I'm sure that was his intent and that's ok if he really cares about the viewers continuing to learn all they can. I know I've learned a great deal from SQL Server Central over the years and I expect to learn more. I thank Steve and all involved for that. However in this case, in my opinion the good intent was marred by poor execution. Words matter.

  • From my personal experience, I was fortunate to have worked for a company that challenged me with projects that were conducive to increasing my knowledge. I not only took offsite classes on SQL Server (basics, admin, advanced, performance query writing, etc.) but had a great support team. We challenged each other and taught noon lunch and learns to further our coding education (SQL, C#, java, etc.).

    Although I am now retired, I still read and try keep up with the latest news.  It is never too late to get on the learning bandwagon!

    Retired SQL admin/dev

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