Information on SQL Server skills and training, including demand and typical rates of pay
Level of demand for SQL Server
In the Salary Services Limited/Computer Weekly listings for Q4 2008, SQL Server was the fourth most-demanded skill for both permanent staff and contractors. SQL Server improved its ranking at the expense of Java, though demand for both has fallen heavily since Q4 2007.
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Rates of pay for SQL Server
£25-35k for developers; up to £45k for DBAs. The rates are significantly lower than their IBM and Oracle equivalents, particularly for DBAs.
SQL Server Training
Getting SQL Server certification will take at least three courses, totalling around 13 days, depending on your role. There are e-learning equivalents. See Microsoft's learning area on its website for training options and offers, and for pathways to Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) status and on Scott Gu's blog you'll find free SQL Server 2005 express training videos.
Is it technically difficult to learn SQL Server?
You’ll need to understand SQL and database design. Any SQL database training background will be useful. Microsoft and others provide short introductory courses. The MCTS exams require at least a year’s hands-on SQL Server experience
Advantages of learning SQL Server
There are more SQL Server installations than either Oracle or IBM DB2, and Microsoft’s training is cheaper. SQL, DBA and database design skills are portable.
New SQL Server developments
SQL Server 2008 has improvements to reliability and scalability, and business intelligence functionality. There’s an increase in automation, and in management of multiple instances from a single location, which may reduce the role of DBAs.
Using the new ADO.NET Data Services, web applications can expose SQL Server data as a service for web-based client applications.
A new web edition aims to replace MySQL in Windows-based equivalents of the LAMP stack. There’s also SQL Server Compact, a free embedded database for developers of applications for smartphones; it runs on all Windows platforms.
Industries and sectors SQL Server used in
Early SQL Server 2008 users include Clear Channel, Hilton Hotels, Siemens and Xerox.
What systems does SQL Server run on?
Windows platforms only.
What's it for?
Microsoft’s flagship relational database has evolved to be the storage backend for many different kinds of data and applications. It also serves as a business intelligence engine. Microsoft has positioned SQL Server 2008 as a challenger to DB2 and Oracle for the role of mission critical enterprise database.
Where did it originate?
Developed jointly by Microsoft and Sybase in the late 1980s, using Sybase SQL Server code. Sybase dropped the name in 1996.