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Denis Gobo

Things you know now but wish you knew when you started

I got tagged by Go Daddy girl Michelle Ufford in her post Things you know now…. I also got tagged by Denny Cherry in his post Things You Know Now...

So here is my little post. Before I start I will say that I thought of several things that are the same like the other people that were tagged already wrote. One of them is of course participating in newsgroups/forums, another is have a blog and writing about the technologies you are using. I will not cover those two here for the reason stated above.


If you can buy it don’t write it.

What do I mean by that? Take for example having to write code that checks for any schema or data changes between staging and production servers. Sure you can spend a couple of days writing that and then another couple of days for testing/debugging or you can have your boss pay a half day of your salary(this depends on location)  for SQL Compare or something similar. This enables you to work on real stuff like those quarter end reports. Your work will be done faster and the tool will probably be much better and do so much more than you could ever write.


First get to know a variety of technologies and then zoom in on one of them.

If you are someone who know a lot of different things but you are not an expert in any of them then it is time to specialize. There was a time when I worked with SQL Server, Coldfusion, JSP, ASP, HTML, XML, JavaScript etc etc. I was decent in all of those (or so I thought) but I wasn’t an expert in any.  When companies are looking for people there is always one thing that they are really looking for with a bunch of required/nice to have things. If you know something about lots of things but not a lot about one thing then most likely you will not pass the technical interview because your knowledge is not deep enough.


Use the internet to see if it exists before you reinvent it

6 or 7 years ago I wrote some paging code in which you could pass in what page you want, how many rows per page etc. A year or so later I discovered that Aaron Bertrand had something very similar on his aspfaq site. If I knew this beforehand it could have saved me hours of debugging and perfecting this code


Know your product well

Believe it or not I wrote once a whole bunch of code to parse a proc and to get all the params and their data type and position in the proc to document this. This took me a whole day or so…..later on I realized I could have just used INFORMATION_SCHEMA.PARAMETERS and be done in two minutes. It is important to get to know the inner workings of your product, for SQL Server this means you need to study the system tables and the dynamic management views. There is so much information that is exposed through the dynamic management views that it will help you with a ton of stuff like metadata about your system, performance problems etc


Technology is a curse and blessing at the same time

It is a blessing because it changes always so you can work with the latest and greatest. It is a curse because you need another workday after work just to keep up with all the changes. When SQL Server 2000 came out there didn’t really change a whole lot compared to SQL Server 7. We got indexed views, user defined functions, uniqueidentifiers and a couple of other things. From SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 was a whole other story. Just to figure out SSIS took me a lot longer than the new stuff in SQL Server 2000. This is partly my fault because I was messing around with CTEs, Ranking functions, DMVs, partitioning functions and a whole lot more stuff. I did not make this mistake with 2008, once the first CTP came out I loaded it up and started tomes around with it. Unfortunately SQL Server 2008 is so massive now that you will have to specialize within that product. Are you a DBA, Hybrid DBA, Developer, BI Developer, Data Warehouse Architect, Performance Guru….you get the point

 There is one more thing....I wish I knew the lotto numbers when the jackpot hit over 100 million $$$$ :-)

I will not tag anyone since I know you have to prepare for Valentines Day

Published Friday, February 13, 2009 2:35 PM by Denis Gobo
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About Denis Gobo

I was born in Croatia in 1970, when I was one I moved to Amsterdam (and yes Ajax is THE team in Holland) and finally in 1993 I came to the US. I have lived in New York City for a bunch of years and currently live in Princeton, New Jersey with my wife and 3 kids. I work for Dow Jones as a Database architect in the indexes department, one drawback: since our data goes back all the way to May 1896 I cannot use smalldates ;-( I have been working with SQL server since version 6.5 and compared to all the other bloggers here I am a n00b. Some of you might know me from or even from some of the newsgroups where I go by the name Denis the SQL Menace If you are a Tek-Tips user then you might know me by the name SQLDenis, I am one of the guys answering SQL Questions in the SQL Programming forum.

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