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SQL Server – I want to become a DBA. What should I first learn ?

28 January,2013 by Jack Vamvas

Question: I want to develop  a career in  DBA , what should I first learn ? I read through the SQL Server feature list ,  and realised there must be basics which would make using these features easier. Could you give some practical advice?

Answer: There is so much to learn in SQL Server  and other database platforms such as DB2 . Where to start?

It depends on your background . A career as a DBA requires more than technical skills and is an on going learning process.If you have experience in other database platforms such as DB2   or have an system administrator\programmer background, the transition is easier.

Let’s assume you have no database platform background and your intention is to gain some knowledge. The focus is on learning some basic concepts which are portable to multiple features of SQL Server and to other database platforms.

1)  Learn Transact-SQL (T-SQL) asap and learn it well. Include learning about all the different data types. Many projects are delayed on design errors related to misuse of data types

2)   Learn to use Execution Plans.  The Execution Plan returns the choices made by the SQL Optimizer.  This assists in improving performance of queries  by giving the DBA information to write better queries. Keep loading large amounts of data into a database and create queries , analyse and improve. How to troubleshoot a slow running query in SQL Server

3)  Learn Set theory  and Relational Model– The probability is you’ll never be asked to explain set theory or the Relational Model but understanding leads to implementing better performing code.

Regardless of which path you take : Operations DBA, Production DBA, developer there skills are portable not only across the different SQL Server features but other database platforms

Read More on developing as a DBA

Top 10 DBA Tips to develop your competitive edge - SQL Server DBA

DBA supertech . Specialise or generalise? - SQL Server DBA

SQL Server – DBA Skills Growth Areas

Professional Development and Soft Skills Training Books for the SQL Server DBA


Author: Jack Vamvas (http://www.sqlserver-dba.com)

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