job interview ssis and ssrs

Patricia Timm
Patricia Timm used Ask the Experts™
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I have a background in computer programming including sql, access, cobol, vb for apps. I worked for a fortune 500 company generating reports with access at the time.  I have been a stay at home mom for the last 5 years.
I had minimal training 10 years ago in data warehouse. I took a couple of courses online and understand the fundamentals of using visual studio - creating a package with a data flow, defining the source and target, configuring the connection manager, linking table lookups to the reference tables in the warehouse. I brushed up as  i had an interview for a data analyst job that required ssis and ssrs ( I am familiar with reporting tools) - I did not put on my resume but it did state on the requirements. They want to interview me to trouble shoot failed packages. I can figure things out very quickly. However, I am not sure what type of questions they might ask that are more basic relating to ssis and ssrs. I was wondering if you might please be able to provide some basic questions regarding package failures or any questions that might help me get through this. Maybe I am over my head. Thanks again for your help
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Jim HornSQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015

Commented:
HA.  Nailed this one.  SSIS Interview Questions

And also for your general training slash amusement...
   Requirements Document Template for an ETL Project
   Requirements Document Template for a Reporting Project

And to help you with continued training needs there's SQL Server Training

Enjoy.

Author

Commented:
thanks for the great direction. I believe the concentration of the interview will be to trouble shoot failed packages. The connections might have failed from source to target or a variety of other reasons. Do you think it realistic that within three days I can learn and understand how to trouble shoot package errors. I do have sql express 2014 downloaded. They are expecting one year of experience. I can review questions on the website and set up errors in my configurations to step thru and maybe debug to understand the process. Is it realistic to think I can get myself up to speed for what they are expecting? Thanks and I appreciate your thoughts as a ssis developer
SQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015
Commented:
>Do you think it realistic that within three days I can learn and understand how to trouble shoot package errors.
Bad news:  No.  SSIS (and most ETL tools) have a somewhat steep learning curve as it touches so many different process and databases, and takes awhile to master.

Good news:  You're probably competing with a lot of people whose experience involves either lying on their resume or classroom training on how to spell SSIS, and not actual experience.  So if you can demonstrate excellent problem solving skills with other computer languages, excellent communication skills, and a strong desire to self-train you have a good shot at getting a junior SSIS job without the rock-solid experience.

>They are expecting one year of experience.
Understand, but that doesn't always translate to what's on the market.

btw The only formal SSIS training I ever took other than self-taught stuff is the Pragmatic Works two day SSIS training.  I don't think they do it anymore, but all of their free webinars are posted here.   Also recommend going to a SQL Saturday close to you as there's usually at least one SSIS presentaton, and if you search previous events most of the classes have downloadable material.   I've been to the Minnesota one four times, and Dallas last weekend, and all were excellent.

Good luck.
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Author

Commented:
Thanks Jim I was going to cancel my interview but will give it my all. I will set up a fail for a package in ssis and learn to step thru it and debug the problem. This might help that I can at least know how to solve and debug basic failures. I will setup break points as well. Plus look at expert exchange and follow your advice.
Jim HornSQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015
Commented:
Definitely go through the interview.  If they agreed to interview you despite the lack of experience then you're at least in the ballpark, and if you can bring other things to the table they find attractive then that might get you the gig.  If not, they probably have other hiring needs you might be a match for.

Good luck.
Jim HornSQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015

Commented:
Well ... How'd the interview go?  We're emotionally invested in this now so you can't leave us hanging..

Author

Commented:
I accidentally left a comment for you on the testimonial section as opposed to the comment section. Not sure how to retrieve once submitted. I did reply in that section.

Author

Commented:
Hi Jim,
not sure if you received my response but thought I would add one here. I did decline the interview and do regret after reading your comments that I did not go through with it. I had taken a parental career break and felt very rusty about my skills. I have to check my IT ego at the door and realize I might not have all the answers but that doesn't make me a bad candidate. I was nervous to have 3 IT people interviewing me for an hour on a skill set I was barely trained on. However, I won't decline again as it is a tool to improve. On a lighter note I have been brushing up my skills through online classes. Also your direction toward training with SSIS is helpful. Seems like a fun database management tool and a career path I am interested in. So all is not in vain. Thanks again for your humor and great suggestions.
Jim HornSQL Server Data Dude
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Author of the Year 2015

Commented:
Yep got it.  I've never had a Testimonial posted for me, didn't even know that existed, so thank you.

> I might not have all the answers but that doesn't make me a bad candidate.
Understand, but assuming you were truthful on your resume then they chose to interview you, which means they accepted what was on it and it's at least in the ballpark of what they're looking for, even if on the low end.

Here's what you would have gained.
  • You'd at least been able to make a connection to a hiring manager, who would likely accept a connection request on LinkedIn, and can stay in touch for future openings.  Hiring managers also tend to know other companies in the area that are hiring for these positions as they are competing for the same bodies.
  • Towards the end of the interview you can always ask questions like 'How'd I do?' and 'What would make me a more attractive candidate for this position?', and then take that feedback and run with it.
  • Also when I was a hiring manager I usually knew what everyone else in IT was hiring for, so if I had a square peg person in front of me interviewing for a round hole position I was usually able to maybe make a connection to some other hiring manager's square hole position.  

Good luck again.
Jim

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