Section started on Nov 12th 2011
Introduction to Learn SQL Server
When I used to be a SQL Server trainer (not teaching anymore), the batches would consists of multiple students who are new to IT field, and/or new to SQL Server technology. Their goal is to learn SQL Server and start a career in IT focusing on SQL Server. As we kick start the training, and move forward with the sessions, many interesting questions come out from them (there is nothing wrong in this) and the students starts wondering, where is this concept going to help us, will this tool be used by every SQL Server DBA / Developer, how often does this task needs to be done and so on.
When you are going through a topic, you must be getting a doubt,“How to Learn SQL Server”, “What is be the purpose of a property / feature / option in real world scenario?” or another common questions is “I am aware of this feature / topic / subject, but how and where do I apply this knowledge?”. These kind of questions will be answered by this section by teaching you the the subject and then giving you a task to do and correlate the topics which might help you doing this. We shall also come up with SQL Server practice tasks or drills for enhancing your SQL Server knowledge, be it development related or administration. This section will be updated regularly, and I suggest you visit this page for more resources to learn and ways to master your SQL Server knowledge. Unlike a book where, the entire content is written and after multiple reviews, gets published, this Learn SQL Server section will be continuously updated. You can always follow the newly added contents of this page by looking at the update dates (something like this “The following is added on Jan 01, 20XX”)..
Where to start when learning SQL Server?
The answer to this is, it depends. Since there are lots of areas in SQL Server that you can learn, it depends on those topics that you want to learn in addition to that, it depends on what background you come from (IT background or a fresher) and also what IT knowledge do you posses. If you are a beginner then you are not sure where to start and how to gain experience as a SQL Server DBA or a Developer. If you are a beginner, then please visit this page SQL Server for Beginners. This section will be updated on a regular basis. On the other hand if you are already aware of SQL Server and would like to enhance your skill set, please be patient for our SQL Server for Intermediate level page that will be up soon.
The following is added on Nov 13th 2011…
What area to focus in SQL Server?
This is another important question in a users mind when beginning to learn SQL Server. If you already have a brief overview, good for you, you don’t have to go through that dilemma on what areas to focus in SQL Server. Let’s categorize users into few broad categories and you can evaluate where do you fit in those categories.
Beginner: If you are a SQL Server fresher, then there is no doubt you should be looking at the section SQL Server for Beginners, but wait.. you are not yet going there now. First read a little more here that might be useful. At the first look, you might not be aware of how vast is SQL Server, so you cannot decide what areas you would like to focus on. So keep in mind that every thing that you will learn is going to help you somewhere down the road.
Only when you have gone through the topics on all major areas in SQL Server, decide what is the most interesting one and decide if you would be able to enjoy doing that most part of the day. On this note, let me explain quickly what I mean. If you do not like to do coding for most part of the day, and/or you are not too strong on understanding and writing logical codes, a SQL Server developer job might not be of great interest to you, as that is what you would be doing most of the time as a SQL Server developer. That does not mean you should go for Database Administration and not worry about developer stuff, then you would have to think about this fact. “There are more SQL Server developer jobs than SQL DBA jobs..” So decide about it carefully..
Already been a SQL Server user: If you happen to use SQL Server at work and your goal is to gain a high level, overall view on the SQL Server, then it would be ideal not to focus on one topic too deeply, because, you loose focus on other topics. Read / prepare on the topics that you already had in mind, gain more knowledge on them by implementing those solutions / features at work (in test environment first). Then start exploring new features or enhancements in the latest release of SQL Server. (Yes, each of the last 4 SQL Server versions have plenty of newer enhancements in SQL Server).
BI User: If you are a Business Intelligence user and would like to explore the Microsoft BI tools, then you would not want to go in depth in failover clustering or database mirroring.. Your best plan would be to start learning SSIS, SSRS and SSAS (in no particular order), whichever interests you most or whichever you use more at your work. You might be benefited if you start reading a good SQL Server BI books on the topic you have decided and then start implementing the newly acquired knowledge and hone your skills..
Advanced SQL Server User: If you are already an advanced user, then sadly you will have not have much to do here. Congrats on attaining the advanced SQL Server level and keep the good work going…
The following is added on Nov 27th 2011… (of course edited multiple times later..)
Should I choose SQL Server DBA or Developer as my career?
If you have this question in your mind and need some guidance on choosing career path in SQL Server, this part of the section is for helping you choosing what lies ahead for you as a SQL Server DBA and SQL Server Developer, what to expect and so on…
A SQL Server Developer should be very good in programming, able to think logically what is the best possible way to perform a task and quickly able to put that in code and provide a solution to that request. One one day, a developer would be getting a request to write code for a certain functionality, the next day he/she might be asked to write another set of code which is no way related to what he did the previous day, as those two components might not be related in any way. So a developer should be with full of ideas to solve the riddle / puzzle, this becomes easier over a period of time as you gain experience in programming.
On the other had, a DBA’s tasks can be repetitive such as verifying all backups are completed successfully, creating database and performing Indexing, maintain users and logins. Plan for future growth of the databases, ensuring the system is running as expected and so on. My point is, you might be doing 2 different things on 2 successive days (as we discussed above in case of a developer), but here there is no requirement of implementing a new idea every other day.
Roles of a SQL Server DBA and SQL Server Developer
If you wish to become a SQL Server Database Administrator and would like to know what are the responsibilities of a SQL Server DBA, I wrote a blog post on that topic; you can read it here What are SQL Server DBA Responsibilities? That blog was in response to a user comment asking me to list out some SQL Server DBA roles and responsibilities. Read that and let me know if you have more questions and I can answer them for you.
The following is added on Dev 10th 2011…
If you wish to choose SQL Server Developer as your career path and wanted to get a glimpse of what a SQL Server Developer does at work (or expected to perform), then read this blog What are SQL Server Developer Responsibilities?
Now you are aware of the responsibilities of a SQL Server DBA and SQL Server Developer, plan accordingly and start learning those subject areas. There will some areas that are necessary no matter you are a DBA or a Developer. Areas like basic T-SQL writing skills and data types, constraints are always a foundation for your further reading.
More stuff coming soon…..
Please feel free to send your feedback and suggestions on what topics you would like to see here and I shall try to incorporate them at the earliest possible..
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