You're not really that good at SQL Server

  • Hi Dan, you are right, words do matter.

    Personally I took no offence from the OPs words but I fully understand if you and others are offended and I support your right to be offended. Our different reactions are what make us human and also define us as individuals.

    I love this website as it for the most part allows open minded individuals to share and learn whereas other SQL forums (that shall remain nameless) are stacked with and positively overflow with condescension and judgement towards people who are genuinely stuck and really need help not derision.

    Best Regards,


  • That's a great paragraph about the other forums Dave...hope others can appreciate the twist in what you wrote. And it is so totally true, unfortunately. Beating people up often helps the insecure feel superior.


  • Hi Sue, I was rather proud of that one!


  • Sue_H, Bingo!


  • Well, if Steve was trying to invoke a good debate I think he succeed. IMO we should move on and get back to doing what we do "best", and that's SQL Server! Time to plan my update to the SQL cluster roles.


  • So true!

    If I want to improve something, I am told no. I can only get my boss to sign off on changing anything if I can prove the existing situation will not work in the version we are upgrading to.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with Steve’s article.

    I’ve interviewed a lot of people and came to this conclusion: they have 20 years of SQL Server experience almost always means that they haven’t bothered to learn anything new since SQL Server 2000 (notice I said "almost always"… I also have over 20-years experience).

    There is always the “I don’t have the time excuse”, but these are the same people who will spend a ton of time on news sites, sports sites and whatever social media sites that help them get through the day.

    I am a wife, a mother and at one point had a horrible 3-4 hour a day commute and still make it a point to learn at least one thing every day, no matter how small, and try to use it as much as is appropriate to solidify what I’d learned.  It doesn’t take that much.

    Also, there are so many resources online… you don’t have to go anywhere… virtual user groups, Udemy, Linda, ACloudGuru, PASS, and even YouTube.  I keep inviting people at work to join me for a user group meeting or a SQL Saturday and hardly ever anyone does.  We have a couple of hundred people working with SQL Server and guess what… they all say “I know SQL”!

  • Of course this is true, especially for SQL specialists. However, I need to be good in 4-5 things to do my job (it's a small company; you wear many hats) so cannot afford to learn the minutiae of all new things, therefore getting many QOTD incorrect. Still, I do try to know the broad strokes of the new releases, i.e. what functionalities are available (R in 2016, Pythin in 2017, windowing functions, temporal tables, etc. etc.) I.e. I need to know there's a way to do something so when we need to we can dig in.

  • rchantler, that is true of many in this field. It's amazing how many of us wear more than one hat. I manage 28 SQL servers, data migration, application and node monitoring, Server maintenance and updates, Lync phone record reporting and even maintain an old AIX server with Informix. (yuck!) I would love to be able to devote all my time to SQL server but sadly that may never happen.


  • I tend to agree with this post, for the most part. I've been working with SQL Server full time now for over six years, and I still feel very much like a beginner and that I don't know anything related to the platform. However, I am trying to keep up with everything; I spend hours during and outside of work watching webinars, attending SQL Saturdays, reading books, blog posts, and even tweets about the platform to improve myself. One of the big problems I feel I have is I can learn something new but lack the resources to get hands-on with it, play around with it, or it is not something I use in my job so it gets forgotten over time (if you don't use it, you lose it).

    That's not to say I wouldn't love to play around with things and learn more; I do. I will always choose training and learning because I want to grow. But how do you train for performance issues when you can't afford a lab setup? How do you push yourself as a data professional when your workplace can't afford the licenses or just don't want to part with the resources of multiple servers (VM and SQL) to set up Availability Groups? And how do you retain that knowledge if you haven't used it in months after you learn it?

    My workplace has a total of two in-house developed databases used for reporting. All the other databases are from vendors for their respective applications. I am basically an administrator of vended databases used by other departments. My main duties there are to ensure the database is available and backups are taken; there is limited tuning I can do, no index changes, my SQL writing and tuning is not needed, and once the databases are installed, I am mostly hands-off. I do monitor the systems daily. Unfortunately there's not much that ever happens that needs to be addressed.

    I have a huge list of things I would love to be able to work with or learn, but for my job it just isn't needed. I would love to be able to do more exciting things in my position, and have often pressed to use more functionality when it really isn't needed. Which leads to another point; it often seems like management doesn't really care about employees improving their skills, or it's at best an extremely low priority for them. From my perspective in the few jobs I've had, management just wants automatons to push buttons and keep the lights on. I haven't had the fortune to work in an environment where innovation, or even keeping up with current trends, is highly valued. So any learning I do is for the sake of my own knowledge and my career, and I have very limited resources with which to do that on my own.

    I am constantly striving to be better at SQL Server, but it's a struggle. Then again, anything worth having is. Right?

  • Guilty your honour. Guilty as charged.

    And "I see dead people" in some of my colleagues as well, so I think you have a valid point.

    But how do I upskill? I want to get there but I don't know what I don't know.

    BTW, thanks for the LEAD LAG hint, +1 experience point for me.

  • Out of all the editorials I read by Steve, this by far is the worst. After being a member of this site for over 10 years, I check forums of people asking for help and most of the replies are VERY EGOTISTICAL. One person offers a solution that is simple and will do the trick but 30 other people chime in how to do it better when in essence the problem was solved after the first post. Another thing I noticed is some "Experts" can't help solve a problem without DDL... While this is good forum etiquette, life doesn't work that way.

    I am no expert on SQL and I am not a DBA, I am a developer who understands SQL and SSIS. What makes me good at what I do...Find answers and deliver within time constraints. I hit my deadlines. I wouldn't want to work with most of this sites "Experts".

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor wrote:

    Wow, that's a crazy attitude to me, but I don't know the situation.There are valid reasons sometimes why not to change a process.

    Certainly building something very complex that few people can maintain is somethign to be wary of. Building something that can be easily documented is another. Being afraid of change is a poor decision from management, to me.

    I think it's a matter of motivation. I am 53 and over my career I saw different attitudes in managers. The upper management wants to drive the company forward most of the time. The middle management wants to drive their career forward most of the time as well. And bottom managers hope to raise their careers but TBH act as a fuse between middle managers and employees. This is at least the way it works in the company I work for since 20 years.

    The managers who want to drive their career forward do not like taking risks. I saw one of my middle managers let a whole department take the wrong decisions, I made him aware of a couple of times, so this department got fired and he stepped in as a saver ? career++. Sad isn't?

    Since I stepped into SQL Server I found SQL so funny and that's what got me to learn more, to try things, to ask for advice here, to take time between my daily tasks to improve my knowledge of SQL. Honestly I do not think I'm a bad professional, I do not think I'm the best one either. I just know that I may be the best in SQL in a company of 600 employees. But nobody really cares and at some stage you get tired of the management and you may step back.

    EDIT: problem with "quote" - sorry

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  petitpere.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  petitpere.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  petitpere.
  • Some great points, Steve, but please don't go down the sensationalist/quasi-abusive route to spark debate.

  • I'm not judging you, at least, I don't think I am. I'm really pointing out a reality that occurs often. Many people get complacent in their jobs, and they become confident in their technical skills in a way that might not translate anywhere else. Or even to new changes in their current job.

    This isn't everyone. If you think you're learning or improving, then ignore this. If you think you're working on soft skills and those are more important to your current position, that's fine. If you're busy with a new marriage or child, then ignore this for awhile.

    This also isn't asking everyone to be a guru or a jedi. This isn't a 0 or 100, you're great or you're horrible view. I'm not a T-SQL guru. There are plenty of people in this community that could run circles around me in terms of writing T-SQL to solve complex problems. What I am is very experienced, but continuing to challenge myself in ways to remember what I've forgotten (like the default clause for FIRST_VALUE) and learn new things. That's the challenge.

    If you enjoy life, enjoy your job, and don't bother improving some skill, this was a wake up that your job might change and you ought to be exercising your brain. Don't just wander through the limited stuff your job asks of you.

    If you're solving problems at work and practicing skills, but just too busy, that's fine. You're likely working at getting better at some skills, but I'd remind you to try and learn a few new things periodically.

    Please don't think I'm taking everyone to task, but many people aren't really working on their careers. From experience, from observation, I'm reminding you this can be a problem in the future.

Viewing 15 posts - 46 through 60 (of 69 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic. Login to reply