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  1. #1
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    General Database knowledge

    Hi All, this is a very open-ended question....

    Just wondering if anyone could give a few lines on what databases are used in big corporations and how? I know all about Access and a little about MS SQL plus a bit of theory, but what do the big boys do? If I end up pitching to big companies, I may need to be able to integrate their systems with mine, or at least understand them and take feeds off them. What I'd like to know is:

    - What's the learning curve from basic stuff to things like Oracle and Sybase?
    - What's the best way of learning about this online (their website assume a basic understanding already)?
    - What skills do people at companies like Accenture and Logica use on a day to day basis (other than soft/management skills)?
    - Is there any point in trying to learn this stuff on my own as a freelancer, or should I be trying to get a job with one of these big companies?

    Many thanks for any responses. I suppose this is partly a career question too.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rolywalter
    Hi All, this is a very open-ended question....

    Just wondering if anyone could give a few lines on what databases are used in big corporations and how? I know all about Access and a little about MS SQL plus a bit of theory, but what do the big boys do? If I end up pitching to big companies, I may need to be able to integrate their systems with mine, or at least understand them and take feeds off them. What I'd like to know is:

    - What's the learning curve from basic stuff to things like Oracle and Sybase?
    - What's the best way of learning about this online (their website assume a basic understanding already)?
    - What skills do people at companies like Accenture and Logica use on a day to day basis (other than soft/management skills)?
    - Is there any point in trying to learn this stuff on my own as a freelancer, or should I be trying to get a job with one of these big companies?

    Many thanks for any responses. I suppose this is partly a career question too.
    My best advice is to learn how to translate the technical knowledge you have to those who do not understand it. In my experience in both the corporate world, and in the freelance world, the most valuable and sought after skills have been the ones that help me to explain, or "de-geekify", common technical issues to non-technical folks.

    Many business users (I will blanketly call them non-technical folks, but for sure there are many who have a technical background) feel indifferent or apathetic towards people with technical knowledge. Many of them feel IT folk "look down on them" and "make them feel stupid". Others tend to develop a belief that IT can "magically fix" the inefficiencies inherent in long-standing business processes and team miscommunications.

    I have found in my career that those who succeed most in the business of technology (freelance or otherwise), possess the right marriage of technical acumen and interpersonal communication skills. It doesn't matter whether your counterpart (or competition) knows 10 times as much about Oracle as you do. The customer will, 8 times out of 10, respond most keenly to the personnel who best make them feel they understand what it is that technology will provide them.

    By all means, learn Oracle, learn Java, learn extreme programming and OOP. But while you learn those skills, be sure to learn how to relate what you learn to those that will end up using it and benefiting from it in the long run.

    cheers, and hope I didn't drag on too much,

    jay

  3. #3
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    jay, thanks for the info. Very reassuring, because that's been my mantra all along: businesses need IT people who can talk in a business sense, are aware of issues such as project management, internal politics, achieving buy-in from the top. These people can then talk in ones and zeros to the developers themselves.

    It seems that in order to be, say, a business analyst, you just need to be able to grasp the theory and pros and cons of different technical solutions and be able to apply them to a business scenario.

    What about UML? Should I have a stab at that too?

    Moderators: feel free to move this thread to the career's section.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict silent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rolywalter
    What about UML? Should I have a stab at that too?
    Well, of course. UML is an excellent tool for translating complex relational and object-oriented concepts into diagrams. These diagrams often are useful for technical people to interact and communicate with each other (i.e. database designers to interact with object model designers...) However, the lay business person will look at UML and not understand a darn thing! Or worse, they will think the UML is a flowchart!

    So, understanding UML would be a great asset to have from a technical perspective; it gives you a method for understanding and communicating with those tech folks who are more skilled in specific (db/programming) arenas than you might be. But learning to translate those UML diagrams (or rather, the end goal of those UML diagrams) into use cases and situational mockups for the business user is an essential skill.

    cheers,

    jay


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