Originally from East TN, I started my IT career at a small company in Oak Ridge, TN as a Support Specialist (fancy name for Help Desk). It didn’t take long until I noticed there was nobody “taking care” of the databases. I took it upon myself to start learning SQL Server and started with the basics of creating backup jobs, maintenance plans, tightening security, etc. After a while of doing server side tasks I decided to move on to the development side. I started writing more T-SQL, creating SSRS reports and SSIS packages. After 5 years at this company, I felt like I had a good grasp on SQL Server so I decided it was time to move on to a larger company….

After a few months of job searching I got a call from a recruiter in Hawaii. I had talked to a few other recruiters so at this point I was a little annoyed with them but I thought why not? Why not give a recruiter from Hawaii a chance? HA! After an interview with the recruiter, the Sr. DBA, and the IT Manager I got the job. What a fun experience! Hawaii is the greatest place on earth! I started work as a SQL DBA and after almost a year our Sr. DBA went to work for Microsoft and I got promoted to Sr. After a few months, I started to miss family and friends something fierce so I started looking for jobs again on the mainland, preferably the southeast region….

It didn’t take long until I got a call from a company in Savannah, GA for a Sr. DBA position. I started work there and it wasn’t anything like I expected. I was still 7 hours from East TN and my wife and I began preparations for a baby on the way. After a few months in Savannah, we knew it wasn’t the place for us so I started looking for jobs again….

I had recruiters calling from all over the place, Nebraska, New York, California, but none from Tennessee. I finally got two calls from TN and decided to put all my eggs in one basket and go for one of them. After two interviews and an on-site visit I got the job in Nashville, TN. I’ve been here for a little over a year and love it. I’m close to family and friends (but not too close) and I absolutely love the city of Nashville and the company I’m working for….

Also, in the past year I’ve started my own company, SQL Freelancer. This has brought many opportunities and I enjoy interacting with different people across the country and helping them with their SQL Server issues. Every client is a new project and a chance to help and educate each other through business and technology.

It’s been a long (Oak Ridge) and exciting (Hawaii) road and took a lot of work, studying and patience to get to where I am today. Being in the IT spectrum is not easy and sometimes you have to start at the bottom to get to where you want to be in the end. I encourage everyone to never give up on your dreams and don’t settle for a mediocre job. You should love your job and have a passion for your work.


To all the people with a passion for SQL Server but don’t know where to start…

Figure out what part of SQL Server you like. Development? Administration? Business Intelligence?

If you’re into development I would suggest just picking up a book and installing an instance of SQL Server at home and go through the syntax. It’s probably one of the easiest programming languages to learn.

If you’re into administration you will need to know a little bit more. You will need to know the different versions of Windows and SQL Servers. You will need to concentrate on the administration part such as security, automation, monitoring, performance tuning, etc. This will take a little longer to learn as I’ve been in SQL for about 7 years and I still learn things every now and then. it’s a never ending cycle of reading books, watching videos, and real world experience. I still enjoy learning so it’s not that bad for me.

Business Intelligence is more of the development of SSIS (or DTS) packages, cubes, data warehouses, SSRS reports, fancy graphs and charts, etc. This leans more to the development side as you need to know T-SQL but you also need to know the data that you are working with and how to model it and present it. Business Intelligence is not new by any means but it’s probably one of the hottest things right now as a lot of companies want someone with these skills.

I’m a DBA but have some development skills and BI skills so when I interview I can talk about all three. You don’t have to be an absolute pro at any of these to get an entry level job.

Thanks for visiting SQLBrady.com. God Bless.

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