December 15, 2016 by Kenneth Fisher
The other day I received an email asking for some help with a school project. Would I please answer some questions about my career and industry. Well after some due diligence I answered the questions. But the questions were rather interesting and the answers turned out pretty well (IMHO) so I thought I would share. Now if any other bloggers read this and feel like answering questions too I’d love to read them so make sure you put a link to your blog down in the comments below.
- What are the various database job roles and respective hiring requirements at your company?
We have five DBA teams. First, we are split by applications vs operations (defined below). Within that, we are split by RDBMS. Operations has two groups, one for mainframe and the other for distributed systems (windows etc). Applications are split SQL Server, DB2 and Oracle with a few of our less used RDBMSs going to each group (MySQL, Sybase, Datacom etc). I only really work with SQL Server personally.
Applications responsibilities: Support the developers as needed. This includes anything at the database level, security, performance tuning, help writing queries and SSIS packages etc.
Operations responsibilities: Everything at the server level. This includes installs, server level properties (maxdop, max/min memory etc).
Obviously, there is some crossover and we work together as best we can on those.
- Describe an entry level job and the hiring requirements at your company?
Currently, we do not have any entry level DBA jobs. We have mostly senior level positions with a few mid-level. I have hopes that we will begin hiring Jr level at some point, however. My personal preference for someone in a Jr level position is someone with enthusiasm, some minimal knowledge of SELECT statements, BACKUP, RESTORE etc, and an ability to learn.
- What is your job role?
I’m one of the application DBAs responsible for SQL Server. I also help with the SQL Server operations teams if they request it (happens occasionally).
- What is your background?
I kind of fell into databases when one of my college friends got started in it and pulled me in along with him. I actually started with Foxpro for DOS. I actually don’t have a degree but did do 4 years at a university. I’ve always been ~70% DBA developer and ~25% admin with the remainder being BI tasks (SSIS/DTS mostly). Turned out I really enjoyed it and I’ve been doing it ever since.
- Describe the path that led you to this job role.
This is the role I chose. I like being the person who answers questions. So I’ve always made a point of being available for questions and if I don’t know the answer finding it out as best I can. As it happens, answering other people’s questions (forums are great for this) is a great way to learn. That put me in a position to be able to answer more questions and it snowballed. It’s also made it so my management feels more comfortable giving me assignments in newer technologies for us which is also pretty cool.
- Give me an example of an interview question that you would ask an entry level applicant, and explain what you would look for in a response.
Explain indexes, in particular, what they are for, what types of indexes are there, and how are those types of indexes different. I like this one because while simple answers are fine there is a fair amount of depth in it. The simple answer (indexes are for performance and the clustered index is the table) is fine for a Jr, then more and more detail about how they work and relate to each other as you get more Sr.