THE SQL Server Blog Spot on the Web

Welcome to - The SQL Server blog spot on the web Sign in | |
in Search

Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

Recruiting SQL Server Database Professionals


If you’re a technical employment recruiter and you place SQL Server database professionals, drop everything and go read Craig Farrell’s article “The Job Posting – Do I really have to be the SQL God?” at SQL Server Central.

SQL Server Jobs

As Craig points out, there are several occupations for people who use SQL Server and the tools surrounding the platform. The fields he lists are:

  • Administration
  • T-SQL Development
  • ETL
  • Reporting
  • Architecture

These are not the same job!

An Analogy

Allow me to borrow from my engineering background. I received education and training in the field of electronics engineering. Later I became an electrician. If you read those statements on my resume, you may think I didn’t change careers. You would be incorrect. There are actually three fields listed there – did you catch them all? There’s electronics, electrician, and engineering.

Engineering is a general skill. It shouldn’t be downplayed just because I use the word “general”. All engineers possess the ability to learn and analyze. Those are skills that will serve any employee well – in any discipline or career.

Electronics deals with circuitry. Electronics engineering includes the ability to design and troubleshoot circuit boards to the component level – although that’s increasingly rare these days for economic reasons. It’s cheaper to yank the board and replace it than to pay someone to troubleshoot it and repair it. How many television repair shops do you see these days? There are a few out there, but not as many as there once was. We worked with transistors back in the day (I even learned vacuum tubes), and Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL) circuits; then later with Integrated Circuits (ICs). The voltages were occasionally 12VDC, but mostly 5VDC and less. The wattage? It tickled if you felt it at all.

During the 90’s I became an electrician. I held a Journeyman Electrician’s license, then a Master Electrician’s license, and finally an Electrical Contractor’s license. But I never once wired a house. All of my electrical work was done inside manufacturing plants. 120 VAC? That was control voltage in machine controls. We worked with 3-phase 480VAC. One thing about placing your hand across a couple legs of 277 (the voltage of a single phase of 3-phase 480VAC) – it wouldn’t grab you and hold you; it would take off your hand.

My point? All three careers work with electricity, but they vary wildly. I know some outstanding electricians who know very little about electronics. And I know some great electronics technicians that I wouldn’t allow within 100 yards of the breaker panel in my home.

These are not the same job!

Bringing It Back To Database Technology

I saw an ad a couple weeks ago like the one near the end of Craig’s (excellent) article. They wanted someone with SQL Server administration skills, performance tuning, SSIS development, and SSAS development skills. My first thought was, “This job must pay $125,000 per year to start!” I bet it didn’t…

I wonder how many hours they expected the successful candidate to spend on each task? That would have been a good question for the interview: “Assuming 32 productive hours per week – 40-hour workweek, subtracting for meetings (non-productive time) – how much time do you wish the successful candidate to spend on each task?”

There are at least two jobs in that list of skills. Depending on the workload, there could be as many as four jobs there.


Like electricity, people who work with SQL Server perform varying tasks with it. Don’t confuse the technology with the many careers and positions who utilize it.


Published Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:00 PM by andyleonard

Comment Notification

If you would like to receive an email when updates are made to this post, please register here

Subscribe to this post's comments using RSS



Ayyappan said:

It is a nice article by Craig. You have expressed in excellent way too.

I was worrying about this matter a day before, when I was searching for a job in my locality. I have come across various JD that were surprising me.

for instance, an employer in IT industry expecting a employee with various skill set. They need a SSIS professional for building a package. But the job requirement will show the the person should have knowledge in all ETL tools in the market :).

I have seen so many like this.

my personal view is that this kind of environment will generate rat race professional instead an expert :(

April 14, 2011 3:59 PM

Craig Farrell said:

Wow, Andy, thank you for the comments.  I believe I'm blushing!

An excellent analogy for those who are not necessarily of the SQL Server career pathing.

April 14, 2011 4:07 PM

David said:

Only 8 hrs of meetings a week?  I'll TAKE that job!!

April 26, 2011 1:22 AM

Leave a Comment


This Blog



My Latest Book:

Community Awards

Friend of Red Gate

Contact Me


Privacy Statement