SQL Server Performance

SQL Server Specialisation

Discussion in 'EditorsBlog' started by shanetasker, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. shanetasker New Member

    Whenever you get a group of experts together in a room, there is typically only one thing they can agree on: that they agree to disagree. Often this is because of different backgrounds and experiences that influence the opinion of each individual. For example, with something as simple as performing a database backup, if you had only worked with databases less than 10GB your experiences would vary greatly with someone that deals with databases that exceed 10TB. When you have a database this size you cannot simply run a BACKUP DATABASE command, you need to come up with other strategies to maintain a backup.
    I consider myself to be a reasonable SQL Server expert. However, if you asked me to develop a data-mining model I would look at you as if you were talking a foreign language. The same goes if I were to ask someone who was an MDX guru to set-up a stretch cluster—he or she would look at me with that same puzzled expression. SQL Server has become such a broad product that when someone is an expert it is normally only in one particular area of the product. This specialisation is becoming like many other industries where an individual finds a particular niche. Like a medical practitioner, a DBA will start out a general practitioner, but over time he or she will start to specialise in a particular field, such as Performance Tuning or Analysis Services. So what part of SQL Server do you think you specialise in?
    - Peter Ward
  2. karenlopez New Member

    There are roles for IT generalists in most organizations and many of us have learned more in the last two years than we learned in the last ten (or maybe it just feels that way).I've always been perplexed, though, but the claims of certain Agilists that ideally there should be no IT specialists. I just don't see how that is physically possible. When I look at the volume of information one needs to know in order to do a professional job at something in IT, I don't see how a single person, no matter how well educated, trained, and skilled, could ever know enough about the entire IT body of knowledge to do a good job at everything.Your example of just the SQL Server body of knowledge is a great one. Sure, I could hack together something in almost any area of SQL Server, but am I doing a professional level design for all areas of SQL Server? Nope, and it's not a deficiency on my part or that of MS. It's just the physics of knowledge and skill.I believe that when the Agilists who are waaaaaaay out there saying "Agile requires that every team member be a generalist and that no specialists are allowed", they are really saying that "we have decided that everyone on our team is a specialists in everything. That's why we are better."I believe strongly that the more you know and the better skilled you become, the more you realize how little you actually know. When a candidate tells me he knows everything about SQL Server ("11 out of 10"), I pretty much can be assured that my next question about a technical aspect of the product or a database will get a blank stare and a "uh....we didn't use that on my last project".What is it with people who think that specialization is some sort of weakness? Over-specialization is, but I haven't really ever met someone who is over-specialized on my projects. No other profession in the history of the planet has ever followed of a maturity path of Specialist to Generalist across the profession. When I asked a leading "expert" on this stuff, he said that IT is different because we have Google and the other professions don't -- that he doesn't need any specialists when his projects work at client sites because he can Google to get a great design for free.It's scary what's being preached out there. People want to read good things about their bad habits. All this talk about "we only need IT generalists" is the perfect example of that.

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