Professional development

Bojan Petrovic

How to markup, annotate content like a boss

December 5, 2018 by


As a writer and content creator, I often use annotation and drawing markup tools to add value to the content I’m creating. You might not think of it as a big deal, but the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Is it true? Probably not. There’s no scientific evidence to back up this figure. However, it’s a fact that humans process visual data better. Therefore, I always try to deliver helpful, value-added content with a lot of visuals suitable for easy reading and understanding.

Prashanth Jayaram

SQL interview questions on database backups, restores and recovery – Part I

July 30, 2018 by

So far, we’ve discussed a lot about database backup-and-restore process. The backup database command is an online database copy of the SQL Server database and restore database command gives an option to test the consistency and integrity of the backup file.

As we all know, the backup database command bound with many database options. Indeed, it facilitates the execution of specific backup database command that meets the business requirement.

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Dejan Sarka

Interview questions and answers about data science, data understanding and preparation

July 27, 2018 by

Q1: In the data science terminology, how do you call the data that you analyze?

In data science, you analyze datasets. Datasets consists of cases, which are the entities you analyze. Cases are described by their variables, which represent the attributes of the entities. The first important question you need to answer when you start a data science project is what exactly is your case. Is this a person, a family, an order? Then you collect all of the knowledge about each case you can get and store this information in the variables.

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Prashanth Jayaram

SQL interview questions on database backups, restores and recovery – Part II

July 25, 2018 by

In this article, we’ll walk through, some of the refined list of SQL Server backup-and-restore, (or recovery) interview Q&A. Also, it includes the high-level overview and links of the “stairway to backup-and-restore series” articles for detailed information. As you read through the lists of Q&A, you’ll learn most of the features and concepts of Backup-and-Restore operations.

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Brian Lockwood

Eating the frog: How to create a daily-deliverable sprint burn down graph in Excel

July 12, 2018 by

In the first article I wrote on how to create a SCRUM-based, sprint burn down in Excel, How to create an advanced sprint burn down chart in Excel, I showed how to easily set up a conventional burn-down with effort points as a percent, to create a pretty nice looking burn down chart, just by entering the IDs of each completed PBI on the date that it was finished.

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Brian Lockwood

How to create an advanced sprint burn down chart in Excel

July 10, 2018 by

SCRUM is a great way to manage all sorts of tasks including sprints, but you don’t have to purchase expensive software packages to burn one. Excel is a great tool for rolling your own sprint burn down graph or you can just take mine. In this article, I’ll walk you through a burn down spreadsheet I created, show you how to modify it and at the end you can download it for yourself and kick the tires.

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Brian Lockwood

Sharpen your ax

July 4, 2018 by

This is a popular story which illustrates the advantages of not just plowing away at your work, but improving your knowledge, planning, skills and preparation first to achieve a better outcome in the end

Once upon a time there were two men who lived in the same forest and decided to have a contest chopping wood.  The first man was in good physical shape and very muscular.  The second man was in good shape but smaller in statute and wiry.  They would chop wood all day and at the end of the day compare to see who had chopped the most wood.  The first man laughed to himself that there was no way this wiry little man would beat him and so they began the contest.  Every 45 minutes the second smaller man would take a break and seems to just wonder off somewhere.  The first man laughed again to himself and said “Yep there’s no way this wiry little man is going to beat me.”  This happens several times during the day.  At the end of the day the two men compare their piles of chopped wood and unbelievably enough the wiry little man has chopped twice as much wood as the more physically fit man.  He says “I don’t understand.  First I’m twice your size and twice your strength!  On top of that every 45 minutes you rolled off and took a break or a nap or something.  You must have cheated!”  The smaller man says “I didn’t cheat.  It was easy to beat you because every 45 minutes when you thought I was taking a break, I was out back sharpening my ax.” 1

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Brian Lockwood

Comprehensive Performance review template

July 3, 2018 by

I looked around for a good performance review template for a long time but I finally just sat down and wrote my own. It is a 5 pt system with various categories that cover

  • hard skills – your skill at your core competency i.e testing
  • soft skills (quality, follower ship, communication, proactivity, intangibles)
  • Performance – how you are doing, productivity
  • Quality
  • Trend – getting better, worse or the same
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Brian Lockwood

Retention successes and failures – combatting the Peter Principle for managers

June 29, 2018 by

No matter what your position, unless perhaps you work for the post office, typically you are required to do more to earn a promotion, not just do your job long longer. The trouble is that not everyone can or will do more. Some lack the motivation, some the potential and others endurance to continually progress. For whatever reason, even if there are growth slots available, not everyone will move up and instead some will ultimately hit their career ceiling aka plateau. This concept is often described at the Peter Principle

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Brian Lockwood

Rubber Balls vs Glass balls – a metaphor for task prioritization

June 28, 2018 by

When I was in the Army we all got a 2 page hard copy with a visual called “Rubber balls vs glass balls” as an analogy for balancing the many day to day priorities of being an Officer. It was a compelling article that I’ve referred back to many times in life. I’ve spent the last couple years looking for it on the web, but with no luck here is my attempt to recreate it from scratch, by memory.

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Ahmad Yaseen

Top 25 SQL interview questions and answers about indexes

June 25, 2018 by

Q1: What is the difference between a Heap table and a Clustered table? How can we identify if the table is a heap table?

Heap table is a table in which, the data rows are not stored in any particular order within each data page. In addition, there is no particular order to control the data page sequence, that is not linked in a linked list. This is due to the fact that the heap table contains no clustered index.

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Ed Pollack

Everything you wanted to know about SQL Saturday (but were afraid to ask)

February 7, 2018 by


Technical training is an important part of our careers. Meeting professionals, learning about new technologies, and making the most of the time and resources that we have can make a profound difference on the work that we do.

SQLSaturday provides a quality, inexpensive, and fun way to learn and get involved in the SQL Server community. It is a free, full day of technical presentations from experts that will travel from around the world to help make these events a success!

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Gerald Britton

Top 10 questions and answers about SQL Server Indexes

October 5, 2017 by


Without a doubt, few technologies in SQL Server cause as much confusion and the spread of misinformation than indexes. This article looks at some of the most asked questions and a few that should be asked but often are not. We’ll be using SQL Server 2016 for the examples and a free tool, for SQL Server query execution plan analysis, ApexSQL Plan, to explore the effects of indexes on a typical business problem: A table of customers.

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Samir Behara

Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012/2014 – Preparing for Exam 70-461

September 8, 2017 by
In today’s competitive world, technical certifications play an important role in advancing your career. It is a great way to validate and sharpen your technical skills, thus helping you in being more productive in your assignments. It also helps you to stand out from the crowd and get more visibility. A few months back I decided to appear the Microsoft Exam 70-461: Querying SQL Server 2012/2014 and was able to successfully pass the exam.Read more »
Samir Behara

Microsoft Build Conference 2017 – Recap for SQL Developers

May 29, 2017 by

The annual developer Microsoft Build Conference was held at the Washington State Conference Center in Seattle during May 10-12, 2017. The event had over 5,000 attendees and received a lot of love from the technical community. There were a number of announcements made during this 3-day conference, and in this article I will recap my learnings from a SQL Developer perspective. In the Data Platform, there were a number of new innovations, products and capabilities announced and a lot of emphasis was on using data to fundamentally transform your business. There was focus around serving Artificial Intelligence with Data, which seemed to me to be the future of Data Platform.

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Ahmad Yaseen

My journey to PASS Summit 2016 via SQL Shack

October 3, 2016 by

My name is Ahmad Yaseen and I am a senior SQL Server database administrator at Aramex International Company for more than six years, where I started building my experience in the SQL Server administration field. Being a SQL Server Database administrator in such big company is not that easy, as the difficulties that you may face is not only at the beginning. What makes the DBA job special is that it is a very deep job, in which you will learn new things, have to solve new problems, fall in strange situations and be under pressure every day, but it is an interesting job for me.

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