Career Change

I started my SQL Server career almost 15 years ago. At the time the company I was working for was downloading AS/400 data into Access databases, and I was hired to manage that process. Needless to say, this wasn’t the most optimal way to report on the data, since soon after my arrival these Access databases were nearing their size limits. This was back in the early 2000s, and I imagine this approach was pretty common at the time. Eventually I ended up moving all the data to a SQL Server (2000 version) and I created DTS packages to migrate the data.

A year or so later I went from an accidental DBA to a full time DBA overnight. I have another blog from years ago that explains that scenario. But, in any event, up until this year I’ve been a DBA. Installing, configuring SQL Servers. Multiple drives, multiple file groups. Spreading TempDB over several disks. Creating backup and recovery strategies. Database architecture. Indexing strategies. Query tuning. Mirroring. Replication. Clusters. I’ve done it all. I have not implemented Always On/Availability Groups except in a tutorial setting, but I’m confident I could pull that off too if I had to. Over the course of that time I’ve done quite a bit of SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) work, mainly to just move data from a legacy system to SQL Server so it could be analyzed and reported on.

This past January I was offered (and I accepted) a position with a new company called Talavant (again, documented in an earlier blog of mine). I am a consultant, as I was with my previous employer, but an entirely different type of consultant. I have been thrust into the world of Business Intelligence.

I knew very little about SQL Server Reporting Services. I knew absolutely nothing about SQL Server Analysis Services. I hadn’t really worked with TFS (Team Foundation Server) or SQL Projects before. I was walking into a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language.

It’s been quite the learning process. Every day I feel more comfortable with what I am doing. I am now deploying cubes, SSIS projects, and databases. Every day I am learning something new – whether it’s MDX code in SSAS, C# code in a complex SSIS project, or a PowerShell script to deploy databases to a test environment.

SQL Server is not just a database platform anymore. It is a complete package to house data and report on it in a variety of ways. Whether it is creating a Pivot table in Excel, using third party tools like Tableau or Pyramid Analytics, or just creating a simple Reporting Services report.

I can’t remember the last time I restored a database from a backup. I have not seen an execution plan in over half a year. My new focus is to present data to the end user in the quickest, easiest, and most efficient way possible. It’s a pretty big learning curve, but I’m climbing up that hill and have no intention of heading back down.


About Gill Rowley

I live in a Madison, WI suburb, working as Owner/President of White Knight Data Solutions. I like hunting, fishing, working out, my boat, my motorcycle, playing with my rescued bull terrier Lola, and gourmet cooking. Oh, yeah, and I play men's fastpitch softball, and chess. Let that sink in. :-)
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