It’s T-SQL Tuesday again! This month is being hosted by Argenis Fernandez, and the topic is specialization. I am late to the game because, go figure, I was held up at work troubleshooting issues. Shocking, I know, that a DBA would be kept late at work!
In my time working with SQL Server I’ve done my best to keep my focus fairly small (I would say I’m a performance / admin specialist – maybe that’s a future blog post to describe what that means). What with all the various features that are contained within the sphere of the overall SQL Server product offering, it’d be fairly easy for my ADD-riddled brain to jump completely off the deep end. The problem is, as we know, trying to be an expert in everything ends up causing you to be an expert at nothing.
But even with keeping my SQL focus narrow, my job has expanded greatly in the last year or so after I left the production DBA group. Being the only full-time DBA on the current team means that I’ve also had to pick up other skills, such as VMWare and AD domain administration to name a few. Has this hurt my SQL Server skills? I’d have to say yes, as it’s taken away time and brainpower I could have devoted to learning / fine-tuning my SQL Server skillset. But at the same time, it is a necessary evil in today’s “do more with less” world, and I need to accept that.
So how do I try and balance out the lost time? In my spare time at home, of course. Naturally things like family time take precedence, but I do make a point to spend a few hours every week playing around in my home lab setup. This has helped keep me pretty sharp, though I certainly wish I could do more. Especially with SQL 2012 coming out, the “To Learn / Play” list just keeps growing and growing.
I’d love to hear from other folks who’ve found their roles at work shifting and expanding, and how you have tried to keep some relative priority on SQL Server as your “specialty”.