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You’re *STILL* Doing It Wrong: Job Postings

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08 Feb You’re *STILL* Doing It Wrong: Job Postings

good jobsHere we go again.

I’ve preached about this before. I’ve tried to help. But every time I think I’ve gotten the message out I inevitably have someone send me a job description so awful I feel compelled to share it here.

I want you to read the following job description (yes, it *is* a real one, I didn’t make it up) and then I want you to give me an honest answer as to how many people on the planet you think could meet all of these requirements.

I’d be surprised if I needed more than one hand to count that number of people.

Title

Sr. SQL DBA

Location

Washington, DC

Clearance

Must hold an Active Secret at minimum (TS preferred)

DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Troubleshoot performance issues and other problems using SQL Server profiler, SQL Server Performance Dashboard Reports, Activity Monitor, PAL tool and Perfmon.
  • Apply SQL Server Service Packs to the current patch level, and Cumulative Updates as required to address specific issues.
  • Routinely solve critical production problems, and perform point-in-time database recoveries.
  • Build, deploy and manage SQL Server Management Data Warehouse and Utility Control Point servers.
  • Responsible for many related technologies including installing Windows Server on both physical and virtual machines in VMware, implementing iSCSI as needed, allocating EMC/Clariion SAN LUNs and mount points, creating service accounts and adjusting GPOs in Active Directory, configuring networking and firewall rules, and much more.
  • Topology and capacity planning including number of Windows and SQL Server cluster nodes and SQL server instances, CPU and RAM speed and quantity, local disk configuration.
  • In-depth SAN optimization including LUN, mount-point, RAID and spindle configurations, queue depth, and load-balancing algorithms.
  • Develop and implement complex T-SQL, VBScript and PowerShell scripts for administration tasks.
  • Author and maintain all SQL Server documentation including DBA manuals for most every server including design, installation and configuration, as well as detailed work logs.
  • Ensure high-availability and data security by implementing Windows and SQL Server Failover Clustering and SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups, rigorous backup and recovery plans, SAN mirroring to disaster recovery sites, and implementation of Department of Homeland Security SQL Server hardening guidelines and auditing.
  • Perform regular maintenance including index optimization, consistency checks, and data file and transaction log size monitoring using built-in tools, custom written T-SQL scripts, SQL Agent Jobs, and Database Mail; and enterprise monitoring using SCOM.
  • Upgrade DTS packages to SSIS, and develop new SSIS packages for ETL.
  • Monitor and optimize index fragmentation using scripts from Ola Hallengren.

Oracle Skills (Desired)

  • Oracle RAC/ASM installation and administration 11gR2
  • Database tuning for bulk I/O tuning.
  • SQL*Loader – handling Gigabytes of data loads
  • Advanced PL/SQL
  • Familiarity with ETL tools

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Familiarity with SCRUM process.
  • Very organized, with attention to detail.
  • Architect, design, install, configure, optimize and manage complex enterprise-wide SQL Server 2005 and 2012 instances, running on Windows Server 2003 and 2008 R2.
  • Heavy emphasis on designing and building the SQL Server architecture for SharePoint 2010.
  • Very heavy emphasis on complex Windows and SQL cluster builds with 3 or more nodes, with SAN data being replicated to a secondary data center with another 3 or more node cluster.
  • Experience with SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups a plus.
  • Maintain consistent development, testing, staging, production and disaster recovery environments, both on physical machines and VMware virtual machines in three secure data centers.
  • Upgrade SQL Server 2005 databases used by SharePoint 2007, to SQL Server 2012 databases used by SharePoint 2010.
  • Familiarity with SQL Server Remote Blob Storage, and Metalogix StoragePoint.
  • Encrypt SQL Server databases using Transparent Data Encryption.

OK folks, how many issues do we see here? How many different jobs are listed?

In case you were asking “what does it pay?”, here is the current salary table for government jobs: http://archive.opm.gov/oca/12tables/html/dcb.asp. I believe a DBA job falls to a Grade 10, but I have heard of some starting at a Grade 11. Of course the benefits with a government job usually make up for the difference in salary with a private job, but that is never guaranteed.

If you believe you meet these requirements, let me know as I’d love to chat with you before passing you along to the recruiter.

  • http://twitter.com/thesqlpro Ayman El-Ghazali

    My thoughts (long winded)

    1. The fact that a clearance is required means that you are cutting your pool of candidates by at least 50%. 50% of that pool will apply for the job without reading the description. From those that read the post, 50% probably will apply. So the candidate pool is already very small.

    2. There are too many job descriptions in this one job (BA, DBA, DB Architect, Oracle DBA, IT OPS/SAN Admin)… total turn off. They just missed adding MCM as a requirement (I’ve seen that before!!)

    3. I work in DC and live in the Metro Area (Maryland to be exact) and I’m a Associate Director (one step over Sr. DBA – I manage two of those but I’m 100% hands on). For a Sr. DBA grade 15 on that salary scale is what I would expect (starting at $125k). For this position, I would expect $175k and above because the requirements are crazy. As for benefits, my salary range includes benefits that are the same or better than Gov. Jobs. I’m not crazy, I’ve seen proper Sr. SQL DBA jobs with amazing benefits and pay at grade 15.

    Maybe we can talk in 15-20 years when I have accumulated that much knowledge and experience to qualify for this job.

    • ThomasLaRock

      I really, really hope I am not still writing posts about horrible job descriptions in 15-20 years…

      • http://twitter.com/thesqlpro Ayman El-Ghazali

        I really, really hope people aren’t writing such stupid job descriptions in 15-20 years

        • ThomasLaRock

          Agreed!

  • Wayne

    Tom – thanks for posting this one. It’s been a while since a job description made my head spin as much as this one did.

    Let’s see… how many different jobs can I spy in this?

    1. Network admin
    2. San admin
    3. MS-SQL DBA
    4. MS-SQL Developer
    5. Sharepoint Admin
    6. VM Admin
    7. Most gov’t jobs have had different folks for documentation. not sure that that’s called.
    8. Oracle DBA

    I’d have to say that the only potentially qualified person I know of is Brent Ozar… but I’d bet he doesn’t have an active secret clearance, so he’s out of the running.

    Keep in mind that this may be a job posting just to go through the motions. I’ve seen government job postings written to be for a specific person, with all of their strengths. But they have to go through this whole process of trying to get any qualified person. So they end up with job postings like this – highly customized for a particular person known ahead of time, and building to all of their strengths. When the process is over, you end up with only the one (desired) person that met all of the qualifications, so the job ends up going to them. But like you, I’d really like to talk to whoever this person is.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.powell.9026 Tom Powell

    Hey! That’s MY job… :-)

  • disqus_Ft8shKIQd4

    It’s a perfect ad for “family and friends” candidate. Most likely for a fat public servant position. The job is already taken, the ad is only needed to cover the corruption – to document that there were only one / two resumes submitted.

  • Rizwan

    I hope you continue to blog about these kind of job description. It is amusing but might help future recruiters improve job description.

  • jpsqldude

    You guys are funny! I, in fact, did write this job description (mostly), because this is in fact my job. All but the Oracle part — someone added that in, I have no idea who. Yes, you as a reader/potential job applicant cannot know this, and yes that indeed makes this job posting ridiculous.

    But the rest of it is not, because the rest of it IS exactly what I do.

    Yes, I have a TS clearace, as do most of the people I work with. Some *only* have a Secret. :)

    Troubleshoot performance issues and other problems using SQL Server profiler, SQL Server Performance Dashboard Reports, Activity Monitor, PAL tool and Perfmon.
    Yes, I do this all the time, to some extent, almost every day.

    Apply SQL Server Service Packs to the current patch level, and Cumulative Updates as required to address specific issues.
    Yes I do this, albeit infrequently, since patching government production servers is a paperwork nightmare.

    Routinely solve critical production problems, and perform point-in-time database recoveries.
    Yes, we have outages nearly every week, although they are often not caused by SQL Server. I have to do DB restores maybe once per month.

    Build, deploy and manage SQL Server Management Data Warehouse and Utility Control Point servers.
    Yes, in 2012 all my production servers and most pre-prod servers have MDW. Usually not UCP though.

    Responsible for many related technologies including installing Windows Server on both physical and virtual machines in VMware, implementing iSCSI as needed, allocating EMC/Clariion SAN LUNs and mount points, creating service accounts and adjusting GPOs in Active Directory, configuring networking and firewall rules, and much more.
    Yes, I do all of this to some extent. The point is if you don’t know anything about this stuff you will be lost. Yes we have both Physical and VM machines, yes I build my own SQL Server clusters in VMware by creating a “virtual SAN” by using iSCSI, and presenting LUNs to the SQL cluster machines. Not fast, but it worked, and allowed me to architect up, build, and test complex cluster configurations.
    Yes, I have to deal with the SAN team all the time and make sure they set up LUNs correctly, on the correct SANs, and I test performance to verify they are set up correctly. Yes, when you build a SQL Cluster objects are created in AD, and you have to move them so they get the correct GPOs. Nothing works if you don’t do this, or you are violation security protocols, one or the other.

    Topology and capacity planning including number of Windows and SQL Server cluster nodes and SQL server instances, CPU and RAM speed and quantity, local disk configuration.
    Yes I do all this. How do you design a big, complex SQL cluster if you don’t??

    In-depth SAN optimization including LUN, mount-point, RAID and spindle configurations, queue depth, and load-balancing algorithms.
    Yes, I do all this. It sounds fancy, but there are really only a few things you have to do as a SQL DBA for this, and we had Microsoft people come in and go over this with us. I don’t know all the details, and any candidate didn’t either, but familiarity is helpful otherwise you just install SQL and set up one LUN on the SAN and think that’s OK or whatever. Or some people never worked with SANs before, this is a Senior position, they at least have to have some level of exposure.

    Develop and implement complex T-SQL, VBScript and PowerShell scripts for administration tasks.
    Yes I do this every day, if I didn’t I wouldn’t know what’s going on in my environment. Trust me, the government is way too busy wasting your tax dollars on other stuff, they can’t afford any real monitoring tools for us! I complain about this ALL the time.

    Author and maintain all SQL Server documentation including DBA manuals for most every server including design, installation and configuration, as well as detailed work logs.
    I know most people don’t do this, but I do. Rigorously. When I win the lotto :) you will be able to take my job and hit the ground running because I have make it easy for you.

    Ensure high-availability and data security by implementing Windows and SQL Server Failover Clustering and SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups, rigorous backup and recovery plans, SAN mirroring to disaster recovery sites, and implementation of Department of Homeland Security SQL Server hardening guidelines and auditing.
    Yes, I do all of this. This is fundamental to my job.

    Perform regular maintenance including index optimization, consistency checks, and data file and transaction log size monitoring using built-in tools, custom written T-SQL scripts, SQL Agent Jobs, and Database Mail; and enterprise monitoring using SCOM.
    Yes I do all of this except SCOM — they really do NOT invest in monitoring tools!

    Upgrade DTS packages to SSIS, and develop new SSIS packages for ETL.
    Yes, I do this pretty often.

    Monitor and optimize index fragmentation using scripts from Ola Hallengren.
    Yes, I install and use Ola Hallengren tools on all production servers, and many pre-prod servers to test things out.

    Yes, this job description is real, because this is what I do, and what you would need to do in this position. And yes the compensation numbers below are in-line with what we are paid. Not enough, in my opinion!

    • ThomasLaRock

      Wow! Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment!
      I think part of the disconnect here is that a lot of these tasks are something you’ve grown into as time goes on. For example, if you have 15 years experience as a DBA then SCOM came along during that time and it is something that is listed, (Oh, if you need monitoring tools, you should contact me, I happen to know a few people that can help!)
      But the reality is it will be hard to find someone to fill your shoes exactly, because every shop is different.
      And I have no doubt you are underpaid!
      Thanks again for the comment!

      • jpsqldude

        What’s also intersting about my job is I have indeed worked it many years, and I feel like I am really deep in some parts of SQL, yet I know almost nothing about other parts. For example I have NEVER worked with SSAS (except to hack my way thru some installs) and I have NEVER worked with Replication (except to study it for some certification exams). I was offered a job by Microsoft to be a PFE where I would basically be working on a different part of SQL every week if I wanted to, but I wasn’t able to travel. :( I felt compelled to respond to some of the nasty comments “only needed to cover the corruption” since that’s not the case. I in fact DO see other forms of corruption — mostly active neglect, and crushing incompetence — so yes it’s there, but not in MY job!!

        • ThomasLaRock

          Ha! I understand completely what you mean by that (and, in a way, that’s kinda sad, I guess).

          Thanks again for reading!