It’s always funny (to me) to see posts, articles and even overheard and been part of discussions about experienced vs. younger (see what I did there?) DBAs and technical people in general. It seems like so many times the conversation revolves around “keeping up” and staying involved. But it seems to me that there are very clear advantages to all of the different experience levels. There was a good, short post about this on Computerworld talking about an experienced DBA and their work inside a company.
Now, I get I’m biased, having worked with a couple of versions of SQL Server myself. *cough* But the article did make me chuckle and think about it a bit. Here’s a link to take a look.
I think there are huge advantages to diversely experienced teams. How’s that for PC? I think it can provide a huge advantage when architecting, when troubleshooting, etc. The advantage comes on the “experienced” end because of the use of past experiences, of understanding how things go to the place they are. Not in the sense of knowing how a solution was developed, but because you can have a better feel for what’s happening under the covers even. How did that feature get to be thought of and created in the first place? Why was it built that way? These are critical to help avoid missing some finer detail about why this does that, and other important questions.
Personally, I’ve always focused on the deltas, version-to-version, or even comparing solutions. “They all do X, but Y and Z are distinctly implemented between these solutions… why?” Those are good questions – and it helps moving from one version of SQL Server (or any solution that evolves, really) to another. You can focus on what’s changed, then solidify the things that come forward to the new version.
Ironically, this lack of extended version experience is a BONUS to the less experienced. They can consider things that have been replaced, updated, completely revised, etc. without having to consider the why.
The powerful combination is to have both available to you, particularly when considering a new application or problem solving some issue. If you can combine extended experience in the platform areas under consideration, with expertise in bleeding edge, you can leverage both together and come out light years ahead. I’m not saying the experienced folks need to stay up on new technologies (OBVS they do) or that less-experienced need to learn old technologies (they’ll have to learn the foundations of things, I believe), or that one is “better” than the other.
I *am* saying the combination of skills is outstanding and helps in nearly every important situation you’ll be confronted with.