SQL Quiz: Two Mistakes

I was tagged by Gail Shaw to post two big mistakes made during my professional career.  The only challenge here was to narrow the list down to two 🙂 The first one is very easy.  During my early days working with SQL Server, I wore a lot of hats, including that of web developer.  One of my first major web projects was…


SQL Quiz: Career Challenges

I’ve read a number of responses from Chris Shaw’s first DBA networking quiz.  I missed out on the first one, but I have been tagged by Grant Fritchey for the second round. The Questions for this quiz… What are the largest challenges that you have faced in your career and how did you overcome those? 1) The first one of these, I still…


The Next Generation DBA

DBA, database developer, analyst, SQL grunt, or whatever your title may be, there is no question that your role will be evolving in the next few years. I read a couple of posts from Jason Massie about the Death of the DBA (part 1 and part 2) earlier today, in which he predicts a diminishing market for database administrators, and SQL DBAs…


Does regulation make data any safer?

Working with healthcare organizations, I am constantly aware of the restrictions my staff and I must abide by according to HIPAA constraints.  It’s not really rocket science; as far as data security goes, HIPAA mandates what logically should already be in place.  Any organization that takes data security seriously will already have safeguard on the storage and transmission of data, fully tested…


Data Quality: The Discovery

I wrote a post a few months back about a healthcare data conversion project that I’ve been working on for the better part of 2 years.  My task on this project is to convert data from an old UNIX-based Universe database to a SQL Server-based application; the database we are extracting from is quite old, both in terms of technology…


Defining Value

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of value.  Recently, a colleague of mine tendered his resignation quite unexpectedly and at a very inconvenient time, just before the consummation of a 2-year software implementation and data conversion project.  Citing health and family concerns, he decided that the value he received from his work was disproportionately low compared to…


Using NOT IN with NULL Values in T-SQL

Recently I discovered a little quirk in T-SQL when using NOT IN with NULL values in the list of values to check.  I use the term “quirk” loosely here because the behavior is exactly as designed in SQL Server, though it may not be obvious. Using NOT IN with NULL Values Here’s how it works. If you use a static…


SSIS expression language conditional operator

The SSIS expression language is a powerful yet enigmatic entity.  Once you get used to its syntax – which is part C#, part T-SQL and part *WTH?!?* – it’s actually somewhat fun to use.  However, one thing it appears to be lacking is the ability to use an if/then/else statement. However, there actually is such an instrument, though it doesn’t…


On the Importance of Documentation…

It seems that I keep inheriting old systems that provide a singular, albeit mission critical, function to their owners. In the majority of these cases, I have encountered numerous small applications that were designed to run in a standalone environment to solve a very narrow problem or set of problems. The person who supports the application – which is very…


Microsoft SQL Server certification

A few weeks ago I was chatting with some colleagues about the merits of Microsoft SQL Server certification exams.  A number of people I’ve talked with about the MCDBA certification share my opinion that these tests were too easy and therefore held limited value to one’s career.  After all, what does it matter if you have a mess of alphabet…