You're not really that good at SQL Server

  • Very Well Said , totally agree with the points. we have to keep learning new topics & practice it. There are so much to learn as SQL Server is vast. I would like to focus on basics & foundation to be correct.  Lots of problem gets resolved by knowing the basis right.

    Do you recommend any tutorial / Books to be read / followed to enhance the skills.


  • CferMN,

    Your scenario is pretty much my scenario. I feel your pain. I still try to learn what I can when I can and try to incorporate the newest and greatest SQL tech I can when I can. It's a fight to just make sure vendors keep their software up-to-date So I can use the latest SQL technologies. That is, when I can focus on SQL tech and not something else that requires my attention. (sigh)


  • Yeah you caught me right there asking stupid things about easy queries on the forums, Steve!

    And whenever I met another DBA I like you notice things I would consider basic knowledge. When topics like double-hop authentication come up I feel most of the times alone on an open field, this even extends to "Active-Directory Experts" I might have to deal with at this point in large organizations. If not any earlier when the topic "oh this DB is always slow" and instead of going for Index and Query Tuning right away I look at the design of the DB and change in 9/10 times something around the physical structure of the DB first.

    But the main point would be from a fair point of view to judge the guy next to you by the organizations he has spent his time working as DBA, in the past 9 years I haven't spent any more than 2 or 3 days for short consultancies in organizations with less than 10,000 Employee's world-wide so I consider Windows-Authentication as standard, if your shop has 2 old Servers in the attic your job will look differently than when basically somewhere around the globe there is a maintenance window coming up and potentially something to do.

    Doesn't exclude that many asides that still only do whatever they might be asked to do and not a bit more but that's partially the path of least resistance (which is not always a good thing) which many things in life follow.


    I will still continue asking stupid questions about queries until I feel fit enough, after all I'm a junior BI Developer now 😛

  • I will still continue asking stupid questions about queries until I feel fit enough, after all I’m a junior BI Developer now

    And that is the very reason Steve's approach to this problem can itself a problem. As always the intentions are good, the reasoning is good, but this time the delivery... not so much.

    SQLServerCentral's main (only) aim is to help people better themselves in the SQL Server sphere. Telling people they're substandard may be true, but for some, it isn't helpful. And if the result stops people asking questions, you're not doing that.

    A better approach would be to encourage, rather than chastise; to support rather than criticise.

  • david.wright, Now that is an obvious observable truth. You can always achieve more cooperation by uplifting people rather than using FUD. This has been proven time and time again. Political parties try to use fear to garner more votes. It may work once but then people have your number.


  • There's a lot to unpack here. I agree that there are few true experts given the amount of time and effort required to develop genuine expertise. Also, that often requires a very specific focus even within the larger SQL Server ecosystem that is not an option for many people given their responsibilities. Someone who is solely a DBA will be in a much better position to develop a deeper understanding of that domain than someone tasked with DBA, reporting, and application support. I've met plenty of people who stagnated largely due to their own complacency, but that's not always the case. People get pushed into roles that they don't want and know they're not qualified for, denied licenses training and tools, etc. for a myriad of reasons outside their control.

    What I really find troubling is how often technical people fetishize and covet "expertise" for its own sake. At root, I view any technology as a tool. Expertise with the tools is only valuable if the end result and goal adds value.

    Take for instance the example given earlier in this thread where someone indicated that they could drastically reduce a 2 hour run time for a query. I agree that all other things equal, shorter run-times are preferrable. However, one should ask whether the current duration is a problem from a business perspective or not, and balance any gain from a performance improvement against time invested in refactoring, testing, and future maintenance.

    Same with investing time with keeping up with any new bleeding-edge features or releases. Before spending time learning about it, assess the rationale in terms of a value proposition. I want to learn about "X" because I believe it will enable me to do "Y", which yields the following tangible benefits.

    Being able to understand, quantify, and articulate the business value of what you are doing or want to do helps focus your efforts on activities more likely to yield a tangible return and helps you influence others to get on board.

  • m_swetz, That I believe is the best post I read on this topic in a long time. Thank you for that.


  • Cuppadan wrote:

    m_swetz, That I believe is the best post I read on this topic in a long time. Thank you for that.

    Same here.

    A SQL query walks into a bar and sees two tables. He walks up to them and asks, "Can I join you?"

  • Firstly: What a thoroughly EXCELLENT article.

    If there is something I like, it is writing that makes you question your personal dogma... something that makes you become introspective and wonder if what you think to be so may be somewhat different.

    I imagined a number of people being possibly insulted by this article - but not in the first instance.  This is a tough kind of issue that is difficult to send around to a team to check out because there is going to be some cupcake who is going to think it is directed at them personally when it may have been emailed to a dozen people.  I still sent it but clarified that it isn't directed at anyone - and it isn't.

    The thing I point out to people was that I recall when SQL 2005 came out: There were so many facets to the product that you needed a dozen MVPs in the room to be able to know the product entirely.  With each new version adding so much more, it is virtually impossible for the average person to even know a moderate percentage of the product - unless they're working 16-hour days across every facet almost every day.

    How do you fix it?

    Can it be fixed?

    I think the only thing that can make a difference is the attitude of the DBA...  If the person in question is lying to themselves about their skillset, then that really doesn't hurt anyone except themselves.  If they're lying to employers about their skills, that is immediately calling their integrity as a DBA into question.  Since we often deal with Secret-Squirrel-type data, being dishonest about who you are and what you can do calls everything you do into question.  Trust me when I say that there are plenty of names on mental lists of those you wouldn't touch with a barge pole if they apply for a position within your company.

    Correcting the issue is where I say the senior DBAs come into play (should you be in an organisation that has various levels)....

    I have changed thing here to say that the seniors do not touch the everyday work.  They see the tasks that come in and they assign to the DBAs/junior DBAs in a fashion that is always outside their perceived realm of experience.  No getting into a rut and always learning something different with an application or client. That way, the senior is more free to mentor as well as handle the harder problems as well as being free to determine where things can be made better.

    There is much more to this but I've said enough.

    A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

  • @sql51f1

    You almost started making sense until you called people cupcakes. This attitude gets to the real crux of the disappointment in this article. Denigrating people for no good reason. Calling them cupcakes or telling them they are no good at their jobs. It's the same thing. There are better ways to motivate people.

    Communication skills is another "skill" that apparently needs to be constantly worked on too.


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