Adventures in Running with Maurine

Book Review: The Handbook for Reluctant Database Administrators

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I read about this book on a blog from SQL Server Central last year (it is by Josef Finsel) and have been slowly working my way through it. With my recent decision to start pushing my technical knowledge to greater heights, I chose to finish this as my first technical book of 2010.

I have to admit that I have database envy when I read various posts and blogs from Database Administrators. They often make me feel pretty stupid and I am usually amazed at the depth of knowledge that these men and women have. In comparison, it seems like my database knowledge compared to theirs is that of the knowledge a typical sixth grader might have compared to a grad student. I have good ‘basic’ database skills, but there is so much I want and sometimes need to learn and never enough hours in my work day. It is often hard to motivate myself to study and learn at night, but I definitely need to improve my knowledge base. I also need to take the time to play around with skills and suggestions that I read.

Anyway – back to the book. Often when I read a technical book, I find that while much of it is interesting, it is not useful for my current job. I deal with a single SQL Server 2000 database application and several small SQL Server databases and one server. I am learning MySQL because our new application is being written in that, but again, we are not a huge shop.

As I read through The Handbook for Reluctant DBA’s – I often found myself excited to see concepts that would be very useful for a small shop and at my current level. This book was worth its purchase price in the first two chapters I read. SQL Server Agent and Jobs were something I had never dealt with before, but since reading about Jobs, I have used this knowledge constantly and been able to automate many processes that were taking up time and energy. Several other concepts would jump out at me and have led me to find easier and better ways to do tasks that arise.

My theory on a technical book is that it is worth my time and effort if I can even find one useful concept that I can apply to my current job. This book is more than worth the cover price because of the knowledge that I gained from it. Who knows? Maybe I have graduated from elementary school and am heading off to junior high school now.

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