SQL Humility

At almost every job interview I’ve ever done I’ve been asked some variation of this question:

“On a scale of 1-10, how good are you with SQL?”

I answer the same each time. I try to give the interviewer a number that reflects my knowledge of the language and my ability to answer trivia, and another number which represents my confidence with the language. The second number is what I try to emphasize.

“I’m very comfortable and confident in SQL – even if I don’t know every command/approach/technique/piece of trivia.”

I don’t know why, but writing SQL had at some point in my career become a point of pride. I thought I was a stud. At my most recent job I’ve realized I have a lot to learn.

Syntax I’ve recently come across that I had previously never seen:

1. order by 1 desc (Huh? I can specify the column number? Seriously?)
2. full join (Full join? What is that? Why can’t I just use “join”?)
3. escape ‘|’ (I can escape characters in a where statement? Hmmmmmmm.)
4. select convert(varchar, getdate(), 107) (Wait, wait, wait. I can format a date as a string with different formats?!)

The list goes on, but all the point is made. I have a lot to learn.

As a result I’ve been reading lots of articles from http://use-the-index-luke.com/, which makes me feel smart and strengthens my SQL skills.

SQL Humility

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