The State of SQL Server Monitoring Survey

Kendra Little would like a few minutes of your time:

Calling all Database Administrators, Developers, Analysts, Consultants, and Managers: Redgate has a survey open asking how you monitor your SQL Servers.

Take the survey before April 5, 2019.

Your time is valuable. The survey will take 5 – 10 minutes to complete. That’s not a ton of time, but it’s a noticeable part of your day, and there should be something in it for you. Here’s why it’s worthwhile to take the survey.

Read the whole thing and take that survey.

Visualization Failures

Stephanie Evergreen talks about two specific instances of self-inflicted visualization failure:

There’s a solid argument to be made that the scales in these charts shouldn’tstart at zero because we wouldn’t see any difference between the two years; all the lines would look flat. But there’s also a solid reason why they should start at zero—maybe I’m exaggerating the change if I don’t. Only the people who work closely with this data would know what kind of scale would fit best given the context of this foundation.

However, people on social media took notice of what they thought was a failure of mine and one commenter tweeted that “there’s no way [a dataviz Godfather] would approve this visual.” So, I got up the guts and sent the whole thing to the Godfather himself.

The Godfather wrote back: “To be honest, almost everything about your redesign is deceitful.” Ouch. I may have actually shed tears over this one. I was devastated.

There’s a good reminder here that failure is a critical part of learning.

The Thought Behind Metrics

Shannon Holck takes a book as a jumping-off point for failure by metric success:

There were some great use cases in the book.  Doctors that stopped taking cases that were difficult because it would ruin their surgical success metric.  Police that stopped responding to calls because it would ruin their case closure rate if they couldn’t solve it.

Muller states “The problem is not measurement, but excessive measurement, and inappropriate measurements – not metrics, but metric fixation.”

Shannon’s case study and recommendations were interesting.

Pobody’s Nerfect: The Andy Mallon Story

Andy Mallon shares a great story of a critical business mistake and then overcoming that self-inflicted adversity in a hotel room in Kalamazoo:

I still have vivid memories of that night. I’d ordered pizza so that I could stay back at my hotel room and finish my punch list of things before go-live the next day. It was after 2am, and I was sitting at the kitchen counter of the Residence Inn in Kalamazoo, MI, the pizza box still open next to me as I worked my way through a large pepperoni.

I got to the item on my punch list for “delete all test appointments.” The logic here was pretty simple: All the test appointments were for the same imaginary test patient. Just find all of that person’s appointments, and delete them. I decided I would do this one doctor at a time to make sure I didn’t mess it up too badly.

It’s a harrowing story with a happy ending.

Data Professional Salary Survey Results Released

Brent Ozar has a new year of data professional salary results:


How much do database administrators, analysts, architects, developers, and data scientists make? We asked, and 882 of you from 46 countries answered this year. Y’all make a total of $84,114,940 USD per year! Hot diggety. (And at first glance, it looks like on average, y’all got raises this year.)

Download the 2019, 2018, & 2017 results in Excel.

Read on for some notes about the data and start playing around.

Becoming An Expert

Adrian Colyer wraps up The Morning Paper for the year by reviewing a big picture paper on developer expertise:

You’ll know an expert programmer by the quality of the code that they write. Experts have good communication skills, both sharing their own knowledge and soliciting input from others. They are self-aware, understanding the kinds of mistakes they can make, and reflective. They are also fast (but not at the expense of quality).
Experience should be measured not just on its quantity (i.e., number of years in the role), but on its quality. For example, working on a variety of different code bases, shipping significant amounts of code to production, and working on shared code bases. The knowledge of an expert is T-shaped with depth in the programming language and domain at hand, and a broad knowledge of algorithms, data structures, and programming paradigms.

Click through for the full review.

Thoughts On The Year’s Big Data Platform News

Kevin Chant shares some thoughts on some of the biggest news stories of 2018 for data platform professionals:

Hortonworks and Cloudera announcement about their merger is certainly an interesting for the Big Data landscape. These two are thought to be the leaders in the Hadoop industry.
Undeniably, a lot of people have seen what these two Big Data giants have delivered over the years within the Hadoop ecosystem.
With this merger they are aiming to use their combined expertise to deliver an enterprise data cloud. We’ve already seen what Hadoop based cloud offerings like HDInsight are capable of, so the potential here is huge.
Certainly, there’s potential for this to have massive implications in the Big Data industry. And this merger could also encourage even more Data Platform offerings to emerge.

Read on for Kevin’s thoughts on five major stories this year.

Lessons From Being Self-Employed

Eugene Meidinger shares some hard-learned lessons from being self-employed:

I’m naturally an introvert. If you and I have a conversation, it’s like a little taxi meter starts running. I may deeply, deeply enjoy the conversation and find it incredibly exciting, but it still taxes my energy levels. Small talk even more so. Imagine that every time someone chatted about the weather, you had to pay the same price as a Lyft ride to go 4 blocks. That’s how I feel about small talk.
That being said, we are still social creatures, and even introverts need human interaction. Especially so when you need to think through new situations, new problems. One of the things I realized attending PASS Summit is that I need social interaction to thrive. So now I spend a lot more time on Twitter and am part of a peer group of authors. I work down at the library whenever I have the chance.

When I did the work-from-home full-time thing, I sought out user groups to build up some technical skills and, more importantly, to get out of the house and talk to a group of people a couple times a week.  That paid off really well in the long run.

Speaking of paying off in the long run, check out Eugene’s BI newsletter.

Take The Data Professional Salary Survey

Brent Ozar has a new edition of the Data Professional Salary Survey:

It’s time for our annual salary survey to find out what data professionals make. You fill out the data, we open source the whole thing, and you can analyze the data to spot trends and do a better job of negotiating your own salary:

Take the Data Professional Salary Survey now.

The anonymous survey closes Sunday, January 6, 2019. The results will be completely open source, and shared with the community for your analysis.

I like this survey so much that I delivered a talk at PASS Summit making heavy use of it.

Gaining Business Understanding Through Paying Attention

Laura Ellis lays down some good tips for understanding business problems:

I know this sounds somewhat silly. But, when thinking through the steps that I take to solve a business problem, I realized that I do employ a strategy. The backbone of that strategy is based on the principals of solving a word problem. Yes, that’s right. Does anyone else remember staring at those first complex word problems as a kid and not quite knowing where to start? I do! However, when my teacher provided us with strategies to break down the problem into less intimidating, actionable steps, everything became rather doable. The steps: circle the question, highlight the important information and cross out unnecessary information. Do these steps and all of a sudden the problem is simplified and much less scary. What a relief! By employing the same basic strategy, we too can feel that sense of calm when working on a business problem.

It sounds blase but paying attention to what people are saying (or writing) versus hearing a few words and assuming the rest.

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