Starting to Program

Hopefully you have more recent resources for programming.

As DBAs, I think we need to learn to program better for the future. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking to manage clusters with Powershell or add your own SQL CLR routines to your instance, it pays to learn a bit about programming. At some point. I think every DBA will be exposed to some type of code that isn’t written in T-SQL. Whether they’ll be able to do anything with the code, or understand it, is entirely up to the individual.

As the SQL Server platform has expanded, there have been enhancements and additions to the product. In addition to the core T-SQL, there is now VB.NET and C# in Integration Services, Reporting Services uses RDL and various programming expressions. Analysis Services has XMLA, MDX, maybe more. Powerpivot introduces DAX, and the .NET language runs through all of these subsystems. PowerShell is being pushed as the future administrative language for all Microsoft technologies.

With so much of the data professional’s job starting to require programming skills, how does one get started? We are working on some stairways to help in some areas, but this Friday I wanted to ask you this question:

For the DBA or system administrator that wants to learn programming, what do you recommend?

I’m looking for some links or tutorials, similar to this list for a Python programmer. Do you have a list of programming resources that might help someone learn basic concepts, get started with a particular language, or improve their skills? I’m looking for links that you’ve used, or a friend has used. I’ll look to compile these into a few lists that people can reference to get started on learning more about programming.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

We publish three versions of the podcast each day for you to enjoy.

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3 Responses to Starting to Program

  1. Nick says:

    I agree that there is a need for SQL Professionals to be able to understand a programming language, though which is a more interesting question. Particularly when bring tools like Hadoop into the mix which (I believe) support Java, Python, Ruby and C++.

    Recently though, I’ve been introducing Unit testing (using tSQLt) to colleagues at work, and it’s going down well.

    Personally, I’m glad I have exposure to several languages, though most recently C++ and C#.

    It’s an interesting time we are in though.


  2. We all should learn to code, even when not required. I’ve been trying to learn Ruby On Rails but have not made any progress. Here’s a good free Ruby On Rails tutorial (I even bought the paperback):

    Try Codecademy!/exercises/0

    Here’s a good post on Learning to Code:

    Here’s another great link: “30 Free Programming Ebook”



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