Monday, July 11, 2016

Training To-Do List for New DBA

Are you an entry-level DBA, or looking to make the career switch? Feel like you are looking up from the bottom of a very tall ladder? Don't have much of a budget for training?

Here's a list of resources I'd recommend, in no particular order.

EDIT: I presented this content, along with a bunch of other content and some lame jokes, at the Baton Rouge User Groups Networking Night on July 13 2016. You can download the slidedeck here.

First and foremost, register for PASS and join your local SQL Server User Group and also some Virtual Chapters. TONS of free content there. Pay special attention to:
o DBA Fundamentals -
o Database Administration -
o Security -
o Also, check out the PASStv Youtube channel education playlists:
o Check out SQL Server's content on YouTube too

Register for SQLSaturday Baton Rouge, or the nearest SQLSaturday to your location. Somewhere in the world, a free SQLSaturday community event is held almost every week.
o Register to volunteer too
o Check out the pre-cons before this SQLSaturday and others like it - they are a bargain for the quality and quantity of training.
o Can't make it? Watch UserGroup.TV recordings of SQLSaturday and usergroups sessions.

Register at SQL Server Central and look into some of the "Stairways". Pay special attention to:
o Stairway to Integration Services:
o Stairway to SQL Server Indexes:
o Stairway to SQL Server Security:
o Stairway to Transaction Logs:

Register for the Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA). Pay special attention to:
o Database Fundamentals:
o Updating your Skillset to SQL 2014:
UPDATE: MVA has been replaced by Microsoft Learn. Check out all the self-guided labs and walkthroughs for SQL Server here: free online learning labs for various languages including non-vendor specific tutorials on the SQL language standard: contains many hours of high quality instructional videos for many, many technical platforms.
o Look for Pluralsight coupons at your SQL Server user group via giveaways, they're a big sponsor of user groups
o Pluralsight will give free access to recently unemployed and military, email
o MSDN subscriptions come with some access

edX is a platform with tons of self-paced learning content, just check out all the stuff they have for the keyword SQL.

• There are a ton of books out there for SQL Server and the goal of this blog post isn't to do a book review any of them in particular. I don't intend to rank or rate any of them here, as my first-hand experience with the breadth of SQL books is limited.
o But, here's an incomplete, not-exhaustive list to check out first. If you want, please add some to this list in the comments of this blog post. Special emphasis on free here.
o Yep, I was the lead author on this exhaustive look at SQL administration with SQL Server 2017 Administration Inside out by Microsoft Press. It's also available on Amazon and anywhere that sells books. It isn't entry-level but is a good reference for any part of your career. I recommend it, as the team of authors did a fantastic job and we had a tremendous technical editor in Louis Davidson, with the full caveat that I do make a laughably small royalty on it.
o An excellent ground-floor introduction to being a SQL Server DBA is the SQL Server 2012 Step by Step book by Patrick Leblanc from Microsoft Press. Full disclosure: I was a technical editor and writer for this book but do not collect any sales residual.
o SQL Sentry eBooks series: High Performance Techniques for SQL Server (free)
o SQL Server eBooks from Microsoft Press (free)
o SQL Server PDF's from Red-Gate (free)
o SQL Server Execution Plans (PDF) by Grant Fritchey (free)

Got additions and suggestions? Please add them to the comments in this blog post.

UPDATE: 9/30/2019 - new bit to replace MVA, add PASStv


Brian said...

Thanks Dude. I was a pass member, but was not taking advantage of all they have to offer. Appreciate the post.

Konstantin said...

Thanks for useful links, add codecadeny to my list of links:

Unknown said...

A new training resource that has appeared on the horizon and which is growing at a ridiculously rapid rate, is the MOOC. You can get sign up for some good courses at:
- Edx -
- Coursera -
- Udacity -

There's also a lot of free or cheap courses on Udemy -

Unknown said...

Also SQLBits is a great site on which you can view a whole heap of videos relating to all aspects of SQL Server for free:

Click on either speaker or event in left-hand column

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the my second Baton Rouge SQL SATURDAY!

Anon said...

Just want to share old link not available, replaced with new Azure SQL Database content. It can still be found here: