The Multifunctioning DBA

Jan 21 2011   7:02PM GMT

SQLskills Training: Why I need it.

Colin Smith Colin Smith Profile: Colin Smith

About three years ago I became a DBA. This was not by design and I never set out to be a DBA. I started out at a help desk, worked my way into a techshop (Working on deploying and repairing laptops and desktops for the company), and then finally got to what I thought my end game was, a Windows System Administrator. I loved it, came into work every day and was very happy to do so. I thought I would be happy forever. Honestly I bet I would have if the opportunity to become a DBA at my company had not come up. One day my boss asked if I would like to change roles and try out being a DBA. At first I wanted nothing to do with it but I wanted to do some research and determine what was best for me.

After a few days of research and talking to some other DBA’s, I found that being a DBA would be a big challenge. I mean, I had a lot to learn about Windows Administration still but at my company things in that area were becoming stale. I was not learning a lot everyday anymore and I was good at what I did. I really did want a challenge again. I also found that a good DBA is more sought after then a good Windows Administrator and I thought that if I can rise to the challenge and be a great DBA then I will have great security in what I do.

So with that in mind I took the job and I knew nothing about databases. I mean I had installed SQL Server many times, and now I know I did a very poor job at that, but that was about all I had ever done with SQL Server. Databases were very intimidating to me and that was part of the challenge. Getting out of my comfort zone and learning something new.

So far I think that I have done well, I have read books, I am working on MCITP: DBA, I try to attend webinars and free training wherever I can, and I was also able to go to PASS for the first time. All of that is great, but I have never had a formal MSSQL training class. I would love to be able to learn from the experts (and SQLskills has those) and talk with them one on one when I am having trouble wrapping my head around something. Blog posts are great but nothing can replace, for me, the immediate response you get when learning face to face. So I think that I would really gain a lot from attending one of these classes. Pass was GREAT and I learned a lot and I have already put some of that new found knowledge into practice and seen great results. I really think that attending a more formal training would be just so much more beneficial to me than even PASS.

To be a great DBA, I know that I need to understand the internals of how SQL Server works and I know that I do not have that skill set yet. I am striving to get it, again by watching training like the MCM training videos, but sometimes that is over my head and I think if I had a better understanding of what is going on under the covers I would be able to better serve my customers, have servers that run faster, and save my company money all at the same time. That is my goal as a DBA. And that is why I would love to attend a training event put on by SQLskills.

Once back from that training I think that I would be able to better assess the environment that I have to deal with now. I inherited this from someone who was not a DBA and honestly things are messy right now and need a lot of work. So I think that this class would give me the ability to correctly assess what is happening in my environment and make the right choices to get things where they need to be and configured properly. Right now I have about 200 Instances of SQL Server installed and my boss has talked with me about trying to do a consolidation of these instances. The knowledge gained from a class would be invaluable to me, especially right now, when I am working on figuring everything out. I am talking about purchasing new hardware, upgrading SQL Server licensing, moving into virtual environments, and I do not want to screw things up. With the amount of money that is going to have to be spent to do things right I need to make sure that I also do things right and make sure everything performs better than it should when we are done. All the knowledge that I gain is knowledge that I can put into practice from day one being back from the class.

For more details on the class check out

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