Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Learning SQL the hard way

(Yes, I borrowed that format from Learn Python the Hard Way
I am currently studying for the 70-432 (SQL 2008, Implementation and Maintenance). If you had asked me two years ago if I was going to be studying for a SQL certification that answer would be a large no. Yet here I am. Am I ready for this? Is it going to matter? I certainly hope.

I totally fell into being the DBA for the company I work for. I came into the company as a “help desk” type of work, all I needed to know about SQL was how to restart the services if it ever failed. There were no backups, no rebuilding of indexes, no updating statistics. There was only hoping it didn’t fail, and crossing of fingers that we didn’t need to restore data. 

I wish I could say I became a DBA with guns blazing, kicking slow-queries, and taking traces. I wish I could say I don’t have to worry about a mortgage. I must give a major thank you to the company, they sent me to classroom training for 3 days a week for 4 weeks about maintenance and implementation of SQL 2005. That opened my eye to what I didn’t know, which was a hell of a lot.  After the class was over, I came back to work charged with fresh ideas and ways to actually use what I learned. I had maintenance plans, I was running DBCC checks once a week, I was doing transaction logs every fifteen minutes, I was doing nightly backups, fulls on the weekends. There was an index, or a stat that I didn’t rebuild, reorg or update. I was a man on fire. I had a road map for the SQL infrastructure; I was reading blogs, forums anything I could get my hands on.
Then I had to take off my DBA hat because everything was running fine.

On went the Sys Admin hat. We had to make the switch from physical infrastructure to a virtual one, and that wasn’t going to switch itself. I have kept up with my DBA personality, we are upgrading to SQL 2008R2 for our environment. Which brings me back to studying for the MCTS 70-432 test, I had to learn on the fly for SQL 2005. As much as I liked the whole “trial-by-fire” thing, I’d much rather to try knowing what is coming at me.