Friday, 18 March 2011

Becoming a DBA: How to gain experience

Originally posted on

Last week I had an interesting telephone call from a someone who I connected with on On Linkedin I’m what they call an “open networker” which means I won’t click on ‘I don’t know you’ if you send me a connection request. If I don’t want to connect with you then I’ll simply archive your message/request.  I use primarily for work and business. I use it to connect with fellow DBAs and database professionals  and I also connect with recruiters/agents whose business is to fill SQL Server contract roles. At the time of writing I’m well over 500 connections but have a fair way to go before I get to 1000. If you would like to connect please do feel free to send me a request here.

A SQL person sent me a connection request which I accepted  and he then sent me an email and then phoned me up asking if I would help him out. The crux of the phone call was around him getting more experience using SQL Server. He has a Virtual Lab set up with a SQL Server in it, he wanted me to help him recreate real life examples of some of the problems a DBA faces.

Now having thought about this for a second, I decided that although I could help and create some contrived examples it would be much better for this person to solve full on real life examples. I told this person that although I could help with this request his best bet at gaining more exposure to SQL Server and more of the problems that people can experience with different aspects of the product would be to help try and solve some of these problems himself. I directed him at the forums on and over on MSDN and suggested that he use his environment to try and help people with their problems. Even if he didn’t know how to solve that particular problem himself, reading the posts and suggested solutions and then working through the problem in his own environment would help him learn.

I guess the purpose of this post is this, in helping other people solve their SQL problems, you gain great experience in aspects of SQL Server that you may never come across in your normal day job, which can only help build your knowledge and experience.

Feel free to send me a Linkedin connection request.


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