DBAs Need to Learn to Develop

This editorial was originally published on Jan 7, 2014. It is being re-run as Steve is at SQL in the City today.

My first exposure to computers was as a child, learning to program in BASIC, Assembler, and Pascal. From there I moved into other areas, such as networking and system administration. I learned about a variety of technologies before focusing on databases, but I found that my knowledge from other areas of computing helped me be a more successful DBA at quite a few jobs.

Last year we put on a number of SQL in the City Seminars where Grant Fritchey and I talked about development practices. We give a variety of advice and practices that you can use, but one of the best things that we say in our half day event comes from Grant. He says that DBAs need to “Follow the local development paradigm as much as possible.”

I completely agree with this. I think that many of the practices of building software, as flawed as they might be, are good ideas that many developers use on a regular basis. They know how to work in a flexible manner, tracking their code and keeping it under control, and fixing problems in a rapid manner. As immature as the software development process can be, there are things that we, as DBAs, can learn.

As SQL Server continues to grow as a platform, there are more and more enhancements, many of which involve programmatic capabilities expanding. I highly recommend that DBAs think about learning more about programming, and specifically a .NET language, if you’ve never used one. If you have, consider brushing up those skills.

Steve Jones


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