Comments (30)

  1. When you say the following

    I didn’t have a copy of SQL Server 2005 on which to practice the skills (and I certainly wasn’t making enough money to buy my own).

    I hope you didn’t mean that you could not afford the developer edition of SQL Server which is only about $50 – $60 on Amazon??

    1. I bought my first house in 2004 and my mortgage was more than I could afford. If I recall, Developer Edition was about $100 and spending money like that on myself wasn’t a consideration back then.

      1. While I’ve never been in a mortgage I couldn’t afford, I’ve been in situations (commutes) I could not afford because of the opportunities they presented. I hope your situation worked out for you after the 2008 crash.

        I know for some companies, a certain turnover is considered desirable for several reasons (e.g. its expected clients will steal people, but they become advocates for the vendor, or the new junior guy starts at a junior salary). Did you ever consider the reverse being true? I presume your new job came with a raise, which helped you with your mortgage.

        I’m honestly thankful for all the jobs I had at places I outgrew because I was able to benefit from the less than ideal way they treated employees. As a college drop out, if I wasn’t able to write C# code in a basement in the Bronx using SharpDevelop instead of Visual Studio, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today where I don’t blink at the cost of an MSDN professional license.

        1. Same here. Justin. I don’t have a college degree, and if it wasn’t for the company where I got my first job (using the skills I taught myself in the dark late at night), I might not have ever been able to make the jump to the IT industry.

  2. One of the best posts I’ve read this year. Nicely done man.

    1. Wow. Thanks! That’s high praisel

  3. I have this discussion with “the mustaches upstairs” all the time. Staying current on technology has many benefits important to the “business”. But one of the major ones I see as both an IT manager and Database Administrator is keeping quality talent in the building. When it’s the year 2014 and you’re still on SQL 2000 – you have guaranteed yourself a mediocre work-force.

    1. Absolutely agree. And when the work-force doesn’t want to use the latest technologies, it makes me question their level of quality.

  4. […] When DMVs Cost Me My Job – The wise Robert L. Davis(Blog|Twitter) shares a DBA career story. […]

  5. I agree. I actually turned down a position 6 years ago as they were on SQL 2000 and looking to move to 2005 even though 2008 had been released 12 months ago.

    1. Great point. When interviewing for a job, that is one of the questions I ask them about. If they’re not on the latest version, I ask them when they plan to move to it which may lead in to questions about why or why not.

  6. In my experience there are a number of reasons for incurring the technological debt.

    If bonuses are involved keeping expenses down often enters into the bonus calculation.

    There is always fear/insecurity. If whatever is working is left alone, there is no reason to be fearful or insecure about an upgrade/migration that has a bump or two in the road. The most immediate box on the org chart that is above the DBA may be afraid of newer technology and not understand benefits that can be brought to the table simply because it is technology which they are unfamiliar. If they are a command and control type, change an be really tough.

    1. Very good points, John. In the case above, the company had been bought by it’s 2 largest clients and they weren’t green lighting any projects that didn’t directly benefit their companies and being non-technical people, they didn’t understand the benefits.

  7. In my experience there are a variety of reasons that management chooses to incur technological debt.

    Sometimes it is pure self-interest as when it is in the manager’s interest to keep expenses low to help ensure a higher bonus payout. At other times it is insecurity in moving from what they feel like they “know” to what is unfamiliar. Being out of their comfort zone makes them feel threatened.

  8. Curious … do you think you would do the same today?

    SQL 2005 was a lot different than SQL 2000, I completely understand what you’re saying. But do you think SQL 2014 will be so different from SQL 2012 that you would feel the need to make the same jump? What about SQL 2012 vs SQL 2008?

    In the end we’re responsible for our own careers. But I think management’s responsibilities for an enterprise system are a lot different. So, to answer my own question … it depends :)

    1. Not as quickly today. Like you indicated, SQL 2005 was a complete rewrite. It was vastly different. Plus, today I have access to things I didn’t before like an MSDN subscription.

  9. I wouldn’t say DMV’s cost you your job. I’d say DMV’s cost your previous employer a DBA. Congrats on the move, and how it worked out though.

    1. You caught me. I took some literary license on the title. :) You are right, of course.

  10. Very good points – I have dealt with this throughout my career (as I am sure any longtime DBA has) but have never had the guts to make a move like that – great narrative of the situation!

    1. Thanks Andy! To be honest, the mortgage I couldn’t afford that I mention in the comments above probably helped me make the move. 😉

  11. You make me feel lazy for being content to remain on 2008R2 for the time being. Of course I’ve got a copy of 2012 that I use for playing around but I haven’t pushed for upgrading our production environment and expect that we will probably leap-frog to 2014 in a year or so depending on when it releases.

    1. Like others have said, SQL 2005 was immensely different. I wouldn’t be so quick to make the move today as I was back then.

  12. I agree halfheartedly. Our environment is heterogeneous like many shops. We have a single legacy system that is SQL 2000, 3 SQL 2005 productions systems, 3 SQL 2008 R2 production systems, and several dev/test SQL 2012 systems that are getting ready to go live as production.

    I have been tasked with coming up with a doc to specify standard SQL installs for the different types of servers (ETL, RS, AS). Both my immediate boss and the infrastructure boss are reluctant to move up to SQL 2012 because of the significant increase in licensing costs. I have a few arguments why moving up is advised, but not enough to overcome the cost barrier to adoption. I’d be interested in how other DBAs are dealing with this scenario.


    1. Well, it definitely helps to make the argument if there are features that you can leverage. I guess the trick is to figure out which features are appealing to the different interested parties and make them aware of those features.

      For example, I like to drop messages into conversations about how a feature in the new version would help them in that situation. For example, our Chicago team hasn’t started upgrading to SQL 2012 yet, and one of them was re-running an SSIS package manually to figure out why it failed, so I told them about the built-in package logging in SQL 2012 that would tell them exactly why it failed without having to re-run it.

  13. Great article!! Thanks for always answering my questions on Twitter (#sqlhelp). I wish one day I’ll have the same knowledge as you have.

    1. Thanks Alvaro! Just remember, we all start at the same place, with knowledge 0. It wasn’t that long ago when I used SQL for the first time.

  14. Very good post Robert. I totally agree with everything you mentioned. I myself was put in a similar situation with my first DBA position. Keep up the good work!

  15. Very interesting post given my current situation! I can fully appreciate where you are coming from.

    1. I hope it works out for the best. Often it does work out that way even if we don’t see it as such at the time.

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