The next step was understanding data types in general, and how SQL Server stores them. After that was understanding normalization, with a focus on only having one version of the truth. There was a lot to process, so we went into a little more detail about normalization and foreign key relationships.
Halfway through the series, someone told me they didn’t actually understand what a byte was, so I went into some detail about bits and bytes.
Where to next?
With our very basic understanding of how databases work from a theoretical level, we might want to jump right into the official Microsoft documentation, SQL Server Books Online. Unfortunately, it would take us so long to read it, the next three versions of the product would have been released. However, there are some good places to jump in:
But let’s set our sights on a smaller step up into this wonderful world of databases and check out the ongoing series from SQLskills.com, called SQL101. You can jump into each of the blogs independently:
I also strongly recommend following their Accidental DBA series, which is a list of 30 posts covering the most likely issues facing a new or accidental database administrator.
- Register on SQL Server Central, then start with the Stairways series.
- SQLPerformance.com offers an excellent list of categories to read through.
- SQLblog.com has a Best Practices category with a lot of content.
- Stedman Solutions has a free poster explaining how table joins work.
There is a strong Twitter presence of SQL Server experts and community members, and, provided your question is concise, you can post a question on Twitter with the #sqlhelp tag, and it will be answered fairly quickly.
You must be concise with your question (due to the limits of Twitter), while including as much information as you can.
- There are many training opportunities with established members of the SQL Server family, including SQLskills.com Immersion Events and Brent Ozar Unlimited (Instructor-Led and Online).
- Pluralsight offers a wide range of online training, produced for the Data Professional. Some of the content authors have associated blogs to read.
- SQLSaturday is another way that the community gives back, by offering a day of free SQL Server training. Check out the website and see if there’s an event near you.
SQLSaturday was created by PASS, the organisation with which most SQL Server community members are associated (including me). PASS used to stand for the Professional Association for SQL Server, but it does so much more now (SQL Server, Azure, Business Intelligence, and so on). The PASS Summit is a three-day conference held every year in October / November, in Seattle, Washington.
Before then, though, if you are able to travel to Norfolk in Virginia, the Compañero Conference is happening on 4–5 October 2017, specifically designed for Accidental, Lone or Junior DBAs. It’s a gentle introduction to what’s out there. I will of course be presenting a session there.
Finally, you can always chat to me directly. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, under the name @BornSQL, and my direct messages are open for any questions you might have about SQL Server or being a data professional.
Image credit: Aaron Burden