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Sasikumar avatar image
Sasikumar asked

Need advice for new DBA

Hi All, I'm working as a S/W support engineer. I would like to become a SQL DBA. I'v worked with Back-Up/Restore, DTS, Creating Databases in sql 2000 server. I'm planing to join SQL Server 2008 courses & certification. Pls advice on this.

dbacareercertification
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Blackhawk-17 avatar image
Blackhawk-17 answered


READ, READ, READ!

Read books, blogs, magazines, Books OnLine, and everywhere else. Immerse yourself in it.


First though...

Ask yourself a few questions.

Why does SQL interest you?
What aspects of SQL have you curious?
Are you really good at problem solving?
Are you a self-starter?
Can you keep a lot of acronyms straight?
Do you have any O/S background?
What is your programming background?
Are you a capable VBscripter or PowerShell coder?
Are you responsible and ethical?
Can you serve many masters (with a smile)?
Can you explain obscure technical concepts in plain language?
Are you prepared to entertain a liftime of learning?
How are your math skills?
Do you roll up your sleeves and dig deep?
Do you see operations, data warehousing, application, or achitecting as your support role?


The big thing is to be sure that this is the path you want to follow and not a flavour-of-the-month pursuit. If you try you may find that it becomes incredibly rewarding, but it isn't for everybody. Sometimes the expectations will not match reality - be prepared for that.

Certification is a "nice to have" but it depends on your organization... and if you intend to stay there. As long as you approach certification as an I'm doing this for me instead of an I want a piece of paper exercise you are on your way. For me the knowledge and inner workings has always come first, the certification is just a nice by-product.

1 comment
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I agree with everything you said, but also remember that there are organizations that want you to have that piece of paper.
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Matt Whitfield avatar image
Matt Whitfield answered

You should read the answers to this question.

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Kev Riley avatar image
Kev Riley answered

Brent Ozar has some good pointers on his site and here, as does Brad McGehee on his site

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TimothyAWiseman avatar image
TimothyAWiseman answered

I second both Matt's and Kev's suggestions, those are some very good places to read. But there are a couple of things I think are worth emphasizing.

First, be careful about what courses you take. Some are certainly very good, but I think most of them are a waste of money. You are better off if you can find an experienced DBA to mentor you, but even if you can't a combination of reading books, reading internet articles (both http://www.sqlservercentral.com and http://www.simple-talk.com are fantastic), and most importantly testing things on your own is much better and much cheaper than taking a course.

Second, you probably will and should focus first on the practical aspects of learning how to use SQL such as learning actual T-SQL, SSMS, SSIS etc, but if you want to be good you should eventually go back and learn the theoretical underpinnings as well. It can be useful to know how the indexes work behind the scenes at times and even if you do not normalize to 3NF it is good to know what it is and how to do it if you need to.

And finally, learning another scripting language in addition to T-SQL can be very helpful. I am a big fan of Python (including IronPython) personally, but PowerShell is also popular and there are also many other fine choices. As an administrator, there are advantages to having a good scripting language handy.

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John Sansom avatar image
John Sansom answered
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Steinar avatar image
Steinar answered

..and apart from reading from the exellent sources suggested, install your own copy of SQL Server express, or the eval version, so that you can play around with it and test the things you read about. Atleast for me that helps with remembering what I read.

1 comment
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I think its worth paying for the developer eddition, especially if you have the enterprise eddition at work, but I fully agree with the concept.
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Dugi avatar image
Dugi answered

Except Read, Read, Read... you must Practice, Practice, Practice...

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Raj avatar image
Raj answered

Start reading with "Beginning Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Programming by Robert Vieira". Don't even miss a single line. What ever you read practice 3-4 times. As you already have SQL background it's very very easy to you. Make sure you have a target date to complete this book. Just in 4 weeks you should be good SQL Server development.

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