Tips for Identifying IT Qualified In SQL Server

Finding IT consultants who are qualified to work with SQL Server can seem like a tough thing, especially if you aren’t familiar with SQL Server yourself. A customer asked an interesting question the other day, and I thought I would share the question with the hope that it helps others in their quest to hire qualified IT consultants.

Customer: We are looking to find an IT consultant with a background in SQL Server. How would you go about looking for someone?

Response: While coming up with appropriate questions is difficult, it’s even harder to evaluate the responses without an interviewer on-hand who is familiar enough with SQL Server to evaluate the responses. That being said, here are some tips, offered as-is.

  • Look for someone who has a Microsoft certification in SQL Server. An MCTS is the lowest certification. An MCITP is a certified database administrator. There are also certifications beyond that (MCM- Microsoft Certified Master, for example), but they are less common. A certification isn’t a requirement to find someone who is experienced with SQL Server, but it is a way to lighten your own load when trying to find people who are qualified. There are different specializations (business intelligence, developer, etc. you are looking for a database administrator –type).
  • A few very basic questions to ask to root out the total poseurs (with the “correct” answers for which to listen)
    1. What non-code SQL Server tool would you use to identify whether or not TCPIP is enabled for SQL Server?
      Answer: SQL Server Configuration Manager
    2. What does the SQL Browser do?
      Answer: It enables SQL Server to broadcast itself on a network so that remote systems/workstations can see SQL Server and connect to it. You may also get the shorter and workstation-centric answer: it allows workstations to see and connect to the SQL Server.
    3. I’d recommend putting this next one on paper for the interviewee to read: You need to set up security for a group of Windows users. These users are all in the same Active Directory group, and there are no people in this group who should be disallowed from accessing the database. These users should be able to read and write to a specific database, but they should not be the owner of the database. Assume the database is already attached and available in SQL Server.
      Below are 4 potential instructions sets. Note that more than one answer may be correct (this question is NOT asking which way is “best”). Please identify which instruction set(s) will accomplish the task of setting up security and access. (Here’s a link to the document containing the instruction sets (.pdf).)
      Answer: All four instruction sets are correct in that they will accomplish the task. However, Instruction Set A provides the way that is fastest. Instructions sets A and C provide a way that is easiest for IT to maintain over time with employee turnover.

The above items are not explicit to troubleshooting SQL Server; Instead, they identify candidates who have or have not had even basic experience working with SQL Server. Notice that not one of these questions is specific to ResultsPlus; there is no need for that when looking for qualified SQL Server IT consultants.

We promise to have a “lighter” post next week! :-)