How to find a SQL Server DBA Job
I am new to the SQL Server platform and want to break into the field. I have been doing IT work for a while now and I am looking to focus my career on SQL Server. Do you have any suggestions? Where should I start? What should I be prepared for during the interview process?
Congrats and welcome to the field. It will probably be a long road, but one of the first decisions that needs to be made is exactly what you want to do. You could work as a DBA, Developer, BI developer, BI Admin or a combination of some or all of these areas. As a matter of fact, many people wear multiple hats at any one company. In addition, people switch focuses during their careers for a variety of reasons so your decision does not need to be cast in stone. Making the final decision is often difficult at the very beginning of the process, so it might be a better decision for some people to expose yourself to all of the options and then try to make a decision based on what you enjoy.
Learn about the SQL Server Industry
To gain insight into the field and different career paths you could learn in one or more of the following ways:
- Talk to current SQL Server DBAs, Developers, BI Developers, etc. in your company or in your community to get a feel for the work schedule and daily tasks
- You might be surprised, your current employer may be looking for SQL Server Professionals which might simplify the overall process
- Attend community events such as user group meetings, SQL Saturday events, Code Camps or SQL PASS to learn about the different technologies and career aspects
- Spend sometime at the book store or online researching the position on SQL Server web sites and the technical skills needed
- Make an investment in formal training on SQL Server technologies from a variety of training providers
Build Your SQL Server Skills
Once you have a sense of your career choice, then begin to broaden and deepen your technical knowledge in preparation for the interview:
- Once again you could use the resources listed above i.e. books, SQL Server web sites, user group meetings, SQL Saturday events, Code Camps or SQL PASS
- Consider the applicable SQL Server certifications as a stepping stone in the process
- Do not forget about your current technical and non technical skills as a means to set yourself apart during the interview process as well
- Get a sense of the interview questions you may be asked during the process, here are some examples:
- SQL Server T-SQL Functions Interview Questions
- SQL Server Security Interview Questions
- SQL Server Integration Services Interview Questions
- SQL Server Backup and Recovery Interview Questions
- SQL Server 2005 New Features Interview Questions
- SQL Server T-SQL Interview Questions
- SQL Server Performance Tuning Interview Questions
- SQL Server System Databases Interview Questions
- SQL Server Agent Interview Questions
- SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Part 3
- SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Part 2
- SQL Server DBA Interview Questions Part 1
- SQL Server Concurrency and Locking Interview Questions
Prepare for a SQL Server Interview
When you have your technical skills inline, then get ready for the interview:
- Prepare the following items:
- Cover letter
- Have a practice interview with someone you know who can provide constructive feedback to help during the actual interview
- Start to distribute your resume on online and proactively submit your resume to organizations posting positions online, in the news paper, etc.
- As far as the interview process is concerned, each company has their own process, but be prepared for the following at a minimum:
- Phone interview
- Technical interview
- Managerial interview
- Peer interview
- Situational interview
- Skills test
- *** NOTE *** - Early in the process, be sure to ask some probing questions to find out about the process, attire, people you will be interviewing with, etc.
- During the interview process be sure you do the following:
- Make sure the company is somewhere you would be comfortable working
- Make sure the work environment is constructive and can help your career grow as you make contributions to the organization
- Make sure you will be comfortable working with the team and the management in the long term
- Besides preparing answers for your technical questions, be sure you know your expectations of the following, because they may or may not coincide with the organization:
- Salary, benefits, holidays, etc.
- Work schedule
- On call schedule
- If you are fortunate to get your first break as a SQL Server professional, take it in stride. It might not be exactly what you want, but it just might be the break you need to start your career. If not, continue to research companies, talk to people in your network and see what opportunities your current employer can offer you.
- If you are interested in starting a new career, be sure to get your ducks in a row and keep the long term in mind. Your first position may not be all that you imagined, but in time it might be exactly what you want.
- No two career paths are the same for two people, so make sure your path is right for you. Make sure you are comfortable with the career path and job decisions.
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