TSQL Tuesday – Why are DBA skills necessary?


2.5-3 years ago I would of answered this question with some smart-ass response about how DBA skills are really only necessary if you ARE a DBA.  But 2 years ago KLT (@airbornegeek) scored a job in Nashville and left me in Indiana holding 2 houses, 2 dogs, 2 yards, a pool, 2 systems at work to admin and of all things the databases to take care of.  At that point I became the most beloved accidental DBA.  Don’t get me wrong I was really bored at work and how much of your time can you really spend looking for a job.  I decided to use this opportunity to build more skills. 

I was asked to fix some queries that a co-worker had written and published in reports in SSRS.  Now I had never been an expert in T-SQL but I had been spending some time learning about SQL Server performance, performance tuning of queries and whatever else free training I could find online.  I opened his query and was shocked that ANYONE would do such a thing to the server.  What Kerry then explained to me is that most people don’t know any better and I left it at that. 

Here we are nearly a year later and I find myself shocked at what the ETL devs don’t know.  I had no idea that the things I had picked up trying to manage all of our SQL installs and aspiring to be s SSRS master were more along the DBA knowledge and not so much the simple T-SQL writer. 

Examples?! Well for instance how indexes work.  Knowing what indexes are on a table and leading your where clause with those improves performance; I work with people who don’t even know what an index is.  CAST and CONVERT, most average statement writers have no clue that the SERVER has to perform those actions every place that you put it in the statement, yes BRET that is once in the select, once in the WHERE, once in the GROUP BY and once in the ORDER BY.  I am pretty sure that server hates you!!!

So maybe not everyone aspires to be a DBA, I understand.  But knowing some basic level DBA skills 1) surely won’t kill you 2) makes you write better SQL and 3) might make you seem cooler amongst your friends (BAHAHAHH! Prolly not but the SQL community will adore you).

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