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A very difficult question

Discussion in 'SQL Exams' started by ninjadeathcult, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. ninjadeathcult

    ninjadeathcult Bit Poster

    Firstlly I apologise for this very subjective question and hope it hasnt been asked before But any advice would be greattly appreciated:)

    I know different people learn things at different rates but I would like to know coming from a background
    without ever doing any programming ever how long would it take a newbie to programming to get to an employable level of mysql/mysql server experience? If anyone became a mcdba without a programming background I would love to hear your thoughts. once again sorry for the subjectiveness of my question, But after I get my mcdst I want to focus my external study on either database administration/design or server administration , looking through the job pages the salary offered in database design/administration seems very enticing. :)
    any comments would be very appreciated

    Certifications: MCP, MCDST
  2. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

    Firstly - picking a career purely on the potential salary can be fraught with problems and misery. If you find you can't stand the job then you have wasted a lot of time at the very least!

    Next - SQL isn't like other programming languages, you have to have a different way of looking at problems. So it is quite often the case that programmers with plenty of experience of other languages don't really do well with SQL. It took me quite a long time for the different mindset required for SQL to 'click' and I've been programming things like C and Perl for years.

    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  3. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    I enjoyed SQL at uni but didn't like C++, i couldn't get into C where as SQL I found ok.

    I can see what Harry says is true, it's very different from scripting in C but if you can get into then go for it.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  4. Mathematix

    Mathematix Megabyte Poster

    I'm with hbroomhall on choosing a programming path based on salary. If I were to do the same I'd be working for the finance industry over games, so that should give you an idea of the passion involved when one takes on a programming career.

    Regarding SQL, yes it does require a different mindset, but still holds true like any other programming language out there that the programmer is making use of semantics to fashion code in a particular manner to perform a particular task. A talented programmer is not only defined by what they can code, but also being able to make use of any programming tool put to them to complete specification at hand, so don't let SQL put you off because it is SQL.

    As a final word you appear to be a little bit ahed of yourself:

    1. You have no programming experience, so making sound judgement on a programming career path is unlikely.
    2. You are unlikel to know what a database is and the requirements and implications of database design will currently mean nothing to you.
    3. You have no idea of your own programming skill, so you may find out down the line that it isn't for you simply because you don't have the inclination.

    Programming as part of education is easy... programming in the real world as your living isn't. Kepp that in mind when deciding. :)
    Certifications: BSc(Hons) Comp Sci, BCS Award of Merit
    WIP: Not doing certs. Computer geek.
  5. Crito

    Crito Banned

    Unlike cryptic languages like C, SQL was designed from the beginning to be an easy to learn plain-English language. What you really need is a solid foundation in mathematics actually, not programming. SQL is just an extension of set theory.
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  6. Crito

    Crito Banned

    Slight correction, relational theory is just an extension of set theory. I often hear math majors taking about Cartesian products when in relational databases that usually means you've made a mistake and are missing a table in the middle with a compound primary key -- i.e. you typically need to know which cars are available in what colors, not all the possible combinations of cars and colors.

    But still, if you're truly interested in doing database design properly, you're better off burying your face in a math book than an MS Press book.
    Certifications: A few
    WIP: none
  7. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Depends on what you mean by 'an employable level of SQL'.

    I did some SQL as part of my MCSD and I confess that I don't really use it on a daily basis, but it helps that I am aware of some of the issues and techniques when talking to the DBA guys.

    I know enough SQL to do 'general' stuff on our database, and know what does and doesn't work.

    Does that make me more employable? Possibly.

    However, I wouldn't claim to be a DBA and wouldn't be able to plan, design or maintain a complex SQL database so ultimately would fail if I tried.

    The thing to focus on is what you are good at, and what sort of job you want to do.
    Then work out what skills you need to do it, not the other way round.
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  8. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Oh, and by the way, the really big salaries you see for DBAs are the mega high risk and high profile stuff.
    Just maintaining a database for the local football club is very different from managing the MOD database or a major bank etc.
    That's a bit like saying you want to take evening classes in law because you've seen how much a judge can earn.
    It's not going to happen.

    BTW, as a ninja death cult, shouldn't you be working on your seppuku rather than SQL?

    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  9. zardoz

    zardoz Bit Poster

    I work as a developer using VB6 and SQL Server 2005 and have worked in IT for 11 years.

    I would advise

    1) Try doing some programming in a language like C and deciding if you enjoy it. There are cheap classes at your local college for this kind of thing. You can do this on your PC at home with any old C compiler and it will help you later as many programming languages used now are C-like to some extent. Don't pigeonhole yourself as a SQL Server DBA when you know nothing about IT yet - there are a whole host of roles out there.

    2) If you enjoy this, maybe IT is the career for you - time to investigate further. As has already been said ignore the six figure salary adverts - hardly anyone gets these and someone with an MCP and no experience certainly wont. To be honest, the best way into IT is a degree in Computer Science or at least maths, physics or engineering. Some people do MSc conversion courses having graduated in something else which would also be viable. Couple that with other desirable aspects in a candidate such as being hardworking and flexible.
    If you have contacts in an industry, or other experience MAYBE you could get in by cross-training yourself with an MCP but it would be very difficult in this economic climate and you would need to be the best networker ever when there are experienced programmers in the dole queue.
    These "get an job it IT in 3 months" courses you see advertised are universally laughed at as far as I am aware, although during the dotcom boom some people did manage to find there way into entry level jobs on the back of them (I met one once)

    Sorry to rain on your parade but if I was in your shoes I would want people to be honest with me. Dont be fleeced by training companies telling you it's easy to get a job in IT and you'll get 50K + for your first role. It's rubbish.
    Certifications: MCITP Sql Server 2005 (Developer)
    WIP: MCTS .Net

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