I want to get into database administration and eventually database programming and development. I had my first interview and managed to get to the second interview, but after a few days, the recruiter told me that the employer thought my skills were light for what the position required. This was a development-type corporation that developed software for bank insurance companies. (I am in a banking environment now.) How do you think I should plan to sharpen my skills? I'm reading the book Professional SQL Server 2000 Programming by Rob Vieira. Do you have any other books I should read? Rob's book is great so far. I just want to know what else I need. Honestly, I am still feeling bad after that second interview, especially after getting to the door and then not being able to go through it because of my lack of skills. I really want to get into this field, but doors just don't seem to be open for me.

I'm currently in the IT field, but I do more of the technical work for the bank. I do deal with SQL Server, but, like most companies, it's political; the administrator, in my opinion, became a little insecure of me. But anyway any advice you give would be nice. Thank you!

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Thanks for your recent e-mail. You sound like you're headed on the right track with the Vieira book. I have two additional lines of inquiry to recommend:
  1. Improve technical skills and knowledge on SQL Server. Check out the following books as well:
  2. Brian Knight: Admin911: SQL Server 2000
  3. Ken England: SQL Server 2000 Performance Optimization and Tuning Handbook
  4. Robert D. Schneider: Microsoft SQL Server: Planning and Building a High Performance Database
  5. Joseph Sack: SQL Server 2000 Fast Answers for DBAs and Developers Also look for numerous .NET-related SQL server titles to be showing up in print soon.

  6. Pursuing MCDBA SQL Server certification (in which case you can tackle development topics as well as the core exams to grow yourself on both administrative and developer fronts).
With more background under your belt from item 1, item 2 will also come easier. As you dig further into both "assignments" and ultimately obtain your MCDBA, you'll find more doors opening for you as you see more responsible, technical -- and hopefully, better-paying -- work.

Good luck!
--Ed--

This was first published in June 2003

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