How To Begin Your Career As a SQL Server DBA
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How To Begin Your Career As a SQL Server DBA

Your First Step In Becoming A Production SQL Server DBA
4.2 (799 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
20,106 students enrolled
Created by Mike West
Last updated 5/2017
Price: Free
  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 4 mins on-demand audio
  • 18 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • A the end of this course you'll know what IT positions are starting roles for SQL Server DBAs
  • You'll learn how to sift through job descriptions specific to your level of expertise.
  • You learn what a day in the life of a DBA looks like.
View Curriculum
  • This course was designed for anyone with basic computer skills.
  • There are no prerequisites for this course.
  • All the materials for the course are free and will be downloaded as part of our lessons.

Congratulations are in order for having chosen to pursue the path of the DBA. YOU'VE made an EXCELLENT decision and one that I have no doubt will be very rewarding should you so wish.

As with any serious endeavor, YOU want to give YOURSELF the very best possible start in order to ensure things can move forward.

This course focuses on what YOU need to know in order to become a REAL WORLD SQL Server DBA.

SQL Server is one of the most complicated software offerings Microsoft has. It requires YOU have a foundation in networks, databases and programming. This wide range of skills is often difficult to obtain without rigorous learning and years of hands on experience.

The REWARDS YOU will OBTAIN are worth effort. Here are just a few. DBAs are very well compensated. YOU will get to work with some of the SMARTEST people in the IT world. You'll LEARN something EVERY DAY. The profession has been and will continue to be one of the highest growth professions.

SQL Server Database Administrators are responsible for the design, implementation, support and maintenance of SQL Server Databases. The role also includes architecting, building and scaling databases for future data growth and capacity.

DBA are also responsible for security, performance and availability of data to users and customers.

This course will give you some direction on how to begin your journey as a SQL Server DBA. I don't want to create any false promises. In addition to years of experience most Senior Level SQL Server resources have read a voluminous amount of product related material.

WE have to start somewhere and THIS COURSE will provide you with the REAL WORLD insight YOU need in order to start your journey.

If YOU are seriously interested in either starting out on the path to becoming a SQL Server Database Administrator the YOU'LL need two key ingredients. Experience and product knowledge. Experience might not be easy to get but it will be impossible if you don't have a very solid foundation in SQL Server.

ENROLL now. Let's get started!!!

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is a 101 level course. Anyone with basics computer skills can take this course.
  • This course is not for accidental DBAs or junior level DBAs.
  • If you are thinking about a career as a SQL Server DBA or developer then this course is for you.
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Curriculum For This Course
40 Lectures
What Does A SQL Server DBA Do? Let's Define The Various Roles.
10 Lectures 25:25

Starting is often one of the hardest parts.

SQL Server is a massively complicated product.

Where do we start?

In this lecture we'll learn what's going to be covered in this course.

This Course Is About How To Start Our DBA Journey

Let's discuss if this course is for you.

Is This Course For You? Should You Take This Course?

A little about me.

I've Been A Production DBA For Over A Decade. Let Me Show You How To Start.

This is where you start.

The Truth About Your First Job. Think Windows Administrator or Developer.

In it's most basic form a database is a collection of objects.

The most important being the table object.

The table object stores structured data.

Let's learn about the very basics in this lecture.

What Is A Relational Database? How Do The Tables Relate To One Another?

There's no shortcut on these.

In order to understand relational databases we have to fully understand the ACID properties.

It's one of the pillars relaional databases are built on.

The ACID Properties. Pay Attention Here. Memorize The Bolded Definition.

The Various Jobs That Fall Under The SQL Server DBA Umbrella.

A Look Into The Daily Routine. A Day In The Life Of A Production DBA.

What Interest's You? The Two Forks In The Road.

Just a quick overview of what we covered in the first section.

Let's Wrap Up This Section. A Brief Summary of What We've Learned.

Section 1 Quiz
10 questions
Installation and Configuration. Let's Talk About Versions and Do An Install.
5 Lectures 10:05

All versions of SQL Server have free versions that have limitations.

It gives those who want to learn SQL Server a chance to work with most of the same functionality of enterprise versions.

This version is called SQL Server Express.

In this lecture we are going to learn how to download and install it.

Let's Download SQL Server Express. The Free Version.

With each release of SQL Server Microsoft will often have different editions of SQL Server.

When you are deciding on which edition to choose make sure you find our what the editions are for each version.

There is no guarantee SQL Server 2014 will have the same editions as SQL Server 2016 or SQL Server 2018.

What Are The Editions of SQL Server? Each Release Has Different Editions.

When you install Microsoft SQL Server, several system databases are automatically created on every SQL Server instance.

The System Databases

The configuration manager allows us to restart services and manage protocols.

SQL Server Configuration Manager. A Definition and Some Terminology.

Let's wrap up what we've covered in this course.

Section 2 Summary

Section 2 Quiz
15 questions
Working With The Table Object. Let's Talk About The Most Important Object.
6 Lectures 18:48

As SQL Server DBAs we will spend most of our time working inside SQL Server Management Studio or SSMS.

In this lecture we will learn the basics of manipulating our objects inside SSMS.

Let's Walk Through The SQL Panes. Most DBAs Like Only Three.

What is a table and how do we create one in SSMS and transact.

Table Basics Part 1

In this lesson we will continue to learn about our table object.

Table Basics Part 2

Let's learn about data types in this lesson.

SQL Server supplies a set of system data types that define all the types of data that can be used with SQL Server.

What Are Data Types. We Define Our Structured Data Using Data Types

The fundamental unit of data storage in SQL Server is the page. The disk space allocated to a data file (.mdf or .ndf) in a database is logically divided into pages numbered contiguously from 0 to n. Disk I/O operations are performed at the page level. That is, SQL Server reads or writes whole data pages.

How Is Data Stored In SQL Server. Let's Talk About Pages and Extents.

Let's wrap up what we've covered in this lesson.

Section 3 Summary

Section 3 Quiz
10 questions
Transact-SQL. The Language of SQL Server. We Need To Speak It.
4 Lectures 10:32

In this lecture we will discuss the tow kinds of transact-sql.

Data Manipulation Language VS Data Definition Langague

The SELECT statement is the most often used piece of code in SQL Server.

Let's learn what it does.

The Very Basics Of The SELECT Statement. This Is Where We Start.

DML stands for Data Manipulation Language.

There are only 4 core statements used for the majority of our transactions.

Let's cover what they are.


Let's wrap up what we've covered.

Section 4 Summary

Section 4 Quiz
10 questions
Security. Let's Talk About The Fundamentals of SQL Server Security.
2 Lectures 08:28

In this lesson we are going to learn how to create logins at the server level then map those logins to databases at the database level.

We First Need To Create A Login. Then Create The User At The Database Level

Let's wrap up what we've covered.

Section 5 Summary

Section 5 Quiz
5 questions
Backing Up and Restoring. The Most Important Thing You'll Do as a DBA
11 Lectures 38:27

Let's cover the very basics of what a SQL Server database is. All SQL Server databases must have 2 files. Each database must have one data file and one log file.

Basic Database Architecture

All production databases should be in FULL recovery and transaction log backups should be in place. Let's take a look at what our options are here.

What Are Recovery Models?

SQL Server has three major types of backups.

A full backup.

A differential backup.

A transaction log backup.

Let's discuss the different types in this lesson.

What Are The Backup Options For A SQL Server Database

Without a full backup there is no restore. This minute long audio is the very foundation to our restores.

Why The Full Backup Is So Important

In this lecture let's demo the different kinds of backups. We will start with the full and then work our way to the differential and finally the transaction log backup.

Full Backup: Demonstration

It would be ideal to have have FULL backups nightly but as our databases grow into VLDBs (Very Large Databases), that isn't always possible.

Fortunately, we have differential backs to assist us.

Differential Backup: Demonstration

We start with a full backup then restore our transaction logs up to the point where the failure took place.

Transaction logs provide us with an up to the minute (if we set them up that way) ability to recover our databases.

Transaction Log Backup: Demonstration

We have lots of ways to set up our backups but for those that are new to SQL Server, the wizard approach gives us a step by step GUI to configure them.

Creating A Very Simple Maintenance Plan For Our Backups

Companies have different retention policies. Many like the 3 days on disk approach. No matter what methodology you use you'll want to remove older .bak and .trn files.

Removing Unwanted Backup and Log Files

Let's talk about real world backup strategies.

Ideally, I like the idea of having FULL backups nightly. Sometime that's not possible so we have to craft a plan that's right for our environment.

Backup Strategies For Real World Boxes

Let's wrap up what we've covered in this section.

Section 6 Summary

Section 6 Quiz
10 questions
Conclusion. Let's Talk About What We've Learned.
2 Lectures 00:44

Thank you for taking my course!!!

Congratulations and Thank You!

Bonus Lecture "10 Things Every Production SQL Server Should have"
About the Instructor
Mike West
4.1 Average rating
2,636 Reviews
43,521 Students
40 Courses
SQL Server and Machine Learning Evangelist

I've been a production SQL Server DBA most of my career.

I've worked with databases for over two decades. I've worked for or consulted with over 50 different companies as a full time employee or consultant. Fortune 500 as well as several small to mid-size companies. Some include: Georgia Pacific, SunTrust, Reed Construction Data, Building Systems Design, NetCertainty, The Home Shopping Network, SwingVote, Atlanta Gas and Light and Northrup Grumman.

Experience, education and passion

I learn something almost every day. I work with insanely smart people. I'm a voracious learner of all things SQL Server and I'm passionate about sharing what I've learned. My area of concentration is performance tuning. SQL Server is like an exotic sports car, it will run just fine in anyone's hands but put it in the hands of skilled tuner and it will perform like a race car.


Certifications are like college degrees, they are a great starting points to begin learning. I'm a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT).


Born in Ohio, raised and educated in Pennsylvania, I currently reside in Atlanta with my wife and two children.