Start Learning SQL Server (My $200,000+ Per Year Career)
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Start Learning SQL Server (My $200,000+ Per Year Career)

– What’s up, everyone? Welcome to Josh Burns Tech. Are you interested in
learning about SQL Server? Do you wanna know how to get started but find it difficult with all the options available? Now this is one of the
most popular questions in my YouTube comments. So in this video, I’m gonna share with you how I got started in SQL Server, giving you my personal journey. Personally, for me,
working with SQL Server has lead to a full-time
job at a great company with a great salary, and also being one of the highest rated, highest
earning freelancers on, where
I’ve made almost $500,000 in just three years. So if you wanna know how to get started learning SQL Server, which is a skill that I personally earn
over $200,000 a year with, then be sure to watch all this video, because I’m gonna give you my
exact personal career path. Coming right up. (hip hop music) So I do ask one thing, if you get value from this video and
you enjoyed my content, then please give the video a like. It helps out a ton with
the YouTube algorithm and promoting my content. And also, please consider subscribing to the channel, as well,
so you won’t miss out on all my future content. So let’s first talk about education, which is how I personally got interested in SQL Server and relational databases. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in
Computer Information Sciences from Eastern Kentucky University. Now I’m gonna discuss education and what I think is required
to get into SQL Server and working with the relational databases. But let me first tell
you how I got interested, from the beginning, with SQL Server. While I was getting my bachelor’s degree, I had a class called Database Management. Now this class was very beginner level, when you start getting into learning about databases, what they are, and what a relational database is. Out of all the classes that I had when getting my bachelor’s degree, this was one of the ones that I was the most interested in and was something that I wanted to explore
moving on into my career. Now I know what you’re asking yourself, is a bachelor’s degree required to get into SQL Server and start learning about relational databases? Now my answer to that question is both yes and no, and
let me explain that. Now if your goal is to first start working for a company, a salary position working for a company,
not freelance related doing SQL Server then a bachelor’s degree, in my opinion, is required. Now the reason that my
answer is yes for that, is if you go on any job
site and you start looking for SQL Server jobs, if you look at the education requirements, you’re always gonna see that a bachelor’s degree is preferred. Now for the no part of my answer. If you’re interested in only getting into freelancing, I would
say that a bachelor’s degree isn’t required, although it will help out. The reason for that is as a freelancer, clients are mainly focused on your ability to deliver on their projects. So if your main interest
in learning SQL Server is to become a freelancer,
then what you can do is do your own self-training. What that means is that you
can find free courses online, we’ll look at some of those in a moment, free and cheap courses online. You can also go the route
of getting certifications. You can get certified in SQL Server, there’s different certifications that you can get for it. And then you can place
those on your profile. Now I need to make something really clear, just because you take
one course in SQL Server does not mean that you’re gonna have the skills that you need
to start getting projects on Upwork and becoming
a SQL Server freelancer. SQL Server, database administration, relational databases, in my opinion all of those are lifetime learning skills. What I mean by that, is that it requires a lot of continuous education. I have to continuously
teach myself new things. There’s so many things about SQL Server, database administration,
database development, business intelligence development that I still don’t know yet and I teach myself every single week. And the point that I’m
trying to make with that, is that it’s gonna require
a lot of work from you and a lot of discipline. You’ve gotta be willing
to put in the time, to put in the time to
acquiring these skills, learning these skills,
they’re not gonna come easy, they’re not gonna come quick, so you have to be willing
to put the time in to get the result that you want. The opportunity is out
there and endless, as well. I make over $100 an hour
on Upwork doing SQL Server and business intelligence
related projects. I acquire the skills, I
put in so much of my time, so much of my time into
learning these skills, learning new things,
learning from my failures and how to get better from them. So what we’re gonna do
now is we’re gonna look at my Upwork profile, specifically
the education section. I’m gonna show you my education,
how I have it listed out, and then I’m also gonna show you how to start searching
for SQL Server training, if you’re looking for free training or cheap training, as well. So here we are on my Upwork profile. And now let’s scroll down
and let’s take a look at my education section. So under the Education section, we can see how I have my Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Computer Information
Sciences listed out. So, like I said earlier, if your goal is to get a SQL Server job at a company, a full-time salary type position, if that’s your goal, then you definitely would wanna look into
getting a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree at a minimum. And I say that, because if you go look at SQL Server jobs on
CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn, any of those places the requirements are always going to have a bachelor’s degree. Now if you don’t wanna go the route of getting a bachelor’s degree, if that’s something
that’s just not feasible for you at the moment, what you can do is start doing other types of training. And then once you complete those, I would recommend that you list those out either in the Education section, try to add them in there. If that’s not doable, you can add them in Other Experiences. You can pretty much add
anything in Other Experiences. These certifications
that I personally hold, they weren’t available in
the Certification section. They didn’t have these added into Upwork, so I just added them in to
the Other Experiences section. If you do your own free
training, SQL Server training, you can add that training in here. Another great thing that you can do if you do your own self-learning and self-training, if you
complete some projects, even if they’re projects for yourself, not even a company but your own projects, list those out in the Portfolio section. Create a portfolio item
for the specific project that you did, SQL Server related project. List out all the details,
everything that you did to complete this project and then throw it in the Portfolio section. That would look great when a client comes to your profile,
and they’re trying to see if you have the skills necessary to complete and deliver on their project. And then once you have some experience and you feel like you’re ready and capable of completing some SQL
Server jobs on Upwork, if you’re trying to get into freelancing, I would recommend starting out at beginner entry level positions, intermediate at max. You can see one that I did here, this is in July of 2016. $27 an hour, this is
one I did very early on. If we look at some older jobs, we can find some other
ones like that, as well. Here’s another that I just
found, SQL Server DBA. This was a beginner skill level job that I applied for when I
first started freelancing, when I was building my
confidence as a freelancer. Now if your main goal is to
become a SQL Server freelancer, if you don’t wanna get a bachelor’s degree and get a job at a company,
a full-time position. If you wanna be a SQL Server freelancer, then you can go the route
of investing in yourself, doing your own self-training,
maybe even going the certification route. So we’re gonna cover a few
of those things real quick, I’m gonna give you some recommendations. So first, a place to get very cheap and even free training,
there’s free courses on here, as well, is Udemy. I’m not gonna recommend any
specific SQL Server courses, because I haven’t taken
any of them personally, so I don’t wanna recommend those to you. But I’ll show you how to search for them. So in the search bar, I’m just gonna type in SQL Server DBA, that’s what
I’m interested in learning. Now you’re gonna get a
lot of recommendations, what I recommend doing
right from the start, go to Sort and go to Highest Rated. You want the highest quality training, you don’t wanna invest
in one of these courses that aren’t gonna give you the skills that you wanna get out of it. So sort by highest rated and
then start going through them. Look specifically at the rating and the amount of ratings, as well. So the first one that’s recommended, Learn T-SQL From Scratch
For SQL Server Administrator it has an average 4.4 stars
and almost 1,200 rating, so that’s pretty good. Next, we have SQL Server
Database Administration. Now there’s a course number listed here, I know what this is because I have a lot of experience with SQL Server. This is a certification course number, so basically he’s marketing this course as one that would get you ready, probably to take the first exam in that certification. And then next, from the
same content creator, we have Microsoft SQL
Server An Introduction. So once you find some of these
that you’re interested in, then go ahead and click on it, and then look at the course content. Become a Production SQL
Server Database Administrator okay, well that title sounds great. So let’s start looking
through it, what is TSQL. They get you into installing SQL Server, using an AdventureWorks database. There’s sections on select statements, where clauses, order bys,
insert into, updates. This looks like a great course that’s gonna cover a lot of areas, especially if you’re a beginner and just getting into SQL Server. So again, there’s not any courses that I personally wanna recommend to you, because I haven’t taken these myself. However, the training on
here is very high quality. Make sure you sort by highest rated, go through the course content, find a good number of ratings combined with the average rating, as well, and I’m sure you’re gonna
get some great content here. Now something that I also used was Microsoft Virtual Academy. This was something that I used when I did my self-training,
my self-teaching. Unfortunately, Microsoft
discontinued Virtual Academy. If you go search for it now on Google, you won’t find it anywhere. However, some of the
videos are on YouTube. You can go search for
Microsoft Virtual Academy, like I did here, and you can still find some of the content on YouTube that were uploaded through
different channels. So this was one of the ones that I actually used myself, SQL Server Database Fundamentals Introduction to Databases. This was a great course and I really liked the content in it. One of the reasons why the
Microsoft Virtual Academy courses were so great, is that
they were actually created by Microsoft SQL Server employees, employees of Microsoft that really know the ins and out of SQL Server. So this is a great one I
would recommend checking out. You can see it has
Introduction to Databases, Getting Started with Tables, Working with Data in Tables, Optimizing Database Performance, Working with Non-Relational Data, and Basic Database Administration. This content is phenomenal when you first start learning SQL Server. And again, you can still search for these videos on YouTube, there’s still a lot of them out there. Another one that I would recommend, I have to do a little bit
of self-promotion here. One of the other things I would recommend is some of my SQL Server content. So if you go to the Josh
Burns Tech YouTube channel, scroll down, you’re gonna get to my freelancing content first. But once you scroll down
a little bit further, you’re gonna see a playlist titled High Quality SQL Server
Training And How To Videos. Now, most of the content in this playlist is pretty beginner level. So you don’t have to have a ton of SQL Server knowledge
to get into these videos, and the first video is a
great one to start with, Installing SQL Server Step by Step. So when you first started
learning SQL Server, obviously you need to have it installed on a test machine, your laptop, something that you can
use and play around with. So if you watch this video called Install SQL Server Step by Step Guide Best Practices, it’s gonna help you get SQL Server installed on your laptop, or whatever machine you’re
gonna be testing with. Then I have a bunch of other
SQL Server content, as well, SQL Server 2019 top features, this one is working with
AWS RDS for SQL Server. SQL Server How to Backup
and Restore Databases, this one is another very
beginner level SQL Server video that I highly recommend
to you starting out. SQL Server Profiler, another one that’s pretty beginner
level that you could use. And then the rest of my SQL Server videos are definitely beginner
to intermediate level, so I definitely recommend
checking those out, as well. Okay, so something really
important to bring up. Be sure to check the
description of this video, I’m gonna throw some links down in there to all the content that I’m showing you, recommending to you to go in start trying to find some of the SQL Server training. I’m gonna throw some links down in the description of this video, so make sure to check that out. So the other training
area that I mentioned was certifications. So this is on, and what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna switch Technology down to SQL Server. And now it’s gonna list out all these SQL Server certifications. So MTA Database Fundamentals,
if you’re just getting into SQL Server, you wanna
learn database administration very beginner level SQL Server skills, check out this one. This certification doesn’t
have that many tests with it, I actually went through some of the content myself. You can click on Explore Certification, and then you can take a
look at what’s involved. Step one, no prerequisite of skills. This is very beginner level when you’re just getting into SQL Server. And then you can check the prep and resources out, as well. So step two is exams, this is when you’re gonna take your exam. You need to find the
one that you’re actually gonna be taking. Database Fundamentals, obviously. You can look at the exam details and also optional training. The details is what you
would wanna look at, it’s gonna show you the price of the exam and what it’s also gonna show you is the skills that are measured, as well. Understanding core database concepts, it’s gonna basically tell you everything that you need to learn
before you take this exam. So what you can do is you
can focus your training around learning all
these different skills, and then you can take a practice test that’s gonna help you get prepared and know if you’re ready to take the actual certification exam. Okay, so let’s move past education and start talking about the next step in my journey to learning SQL Server. Which is getting a mentor and career path. So while I was in college at EKU, I did a paid co-op, a paid internship. I got college credits for it and I got to start learning skills in IT that would help
me land my first job. So if you’re in college
and your college offers co-ops or internships,
make sure that you do that. It’s one of the best things that I did while I was in college. I basically had zero experience in IT, other than things I was
learning in my classes. So I personally did a paid co-op at a school system in Kentucky. I got to go around a bunch of schools doing IT support. I eventually transitioned into more of a network related role. That was the first time I got to use anything related to SQL Server. We basically had some databases that were part of
applications that we used. I got to run some queries against those. That was my first experience
ever using SQL Server. But in that co-op, I was exposed to so many technologies. I obtained so many IT skills
that I never would have if I just did my course work. When I was closer to graduating, I knew that I wanted to find a job in Lexington because the jobs pay better and there’s more opportunities for advancement within
some bigger companies. So applied at a bunch of places, had a bunch of interviews. The skills that I obtained from my co-op helped me out more than anything did. The bachelor’s degree
was definitely important, because it was a prerequisite to get me in the door anyway. However, the skills that I got in my co-op were what led to me getting these jobs. So I ended up getting offered jobs from a few different companies. And the one I chose, there’s
a really specific reason why I chose that company and I’m still working there today. So the reason why I chose this company, is that in my interviews, they stressed that there was gonna be a career path, so I started out in a
support level position. However, in my interviews,
they made it clear that there was a lot of
room for advancement. That I could look at different roles within the department,
figure out which ones I liked a lot, and then
I could work towards moving into those eventually. So that’s something that really sold me. I love the fact that there was a lot of room for advancement, I could look at a lot of different roles, and figure out what I like doing. At that point, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to work with SQL Server. I was still exploring things. In the first six months,
in that support level role, I worked extremely hard
to make a good impression, to set good expectations
of the quality work that I could deliver and to show that I was willing to learn new things. So after those initial six months, I set up a meeting with my manager and discuss my interest in wanting to get into SQL Server. So at the company where
I’m currently at now, we only have two people that handle all SQL Server related tasks
within the whole company. The other member on our DBA team is close to retirement,
and he became my mentor. He was so instrumental in
me learning SQL Server, getting great experience,
actual real life experience outside of training. He was so instrumental in that and he was always willing to teach me and help me with whatever I wanted. That is absolutely priceless that I was able, at like 23 years old, to have someone at his experience level, someone close to retirement,
had over 30 years experience, worked with SQL Server since
it was basically created. To have someone like that to mentor me, teach me whatever I wanted,
I really can’t thank him enough for that and I’m always, always gonna respect his willingness
to teach me those things. Now I know that’s something
that everyone can’t fall into, but what I wanna make
clear, is that you need to look at companies that
have room for advancement. Room for advancement that,
if you’re really interested in SQL Server, that there’s
gonna be an opportunity for you to move into that type of role. And personally myself, I am
gonna create SQL Server content, training type content,
it’s gonna be off YouTube. I haven’t decided what
platform I’m gonna use yet, but I’m definitely gonna
create some content that’s gonna have a specific course, specific guideline that you can follow to start learning SQL Server. Okay, so we just discussed career path and getting a mentor, as well. Both of those things really
helped me out early on. So last and most importantly, SQL Server freelancing. I started freelancing in 2016. At that time, I had about
two years under my belt and a SQL Server role at
the company that I’m at. I felt that I had the skills necessary that I could start
getting into freelancing and doing some easy jobs. So what did I do? I started out on It was a site that I
heard about in college, I was already familiar with it. I started looking through SQL Server jobs and I ended up getting some. Now this is a funny
story that I always tell. The first freelance job that I ever had was a SQL Server replication job. Now get this, the job had a fixed rate of $50, the entire job only paid $50. But I had no freelance experience. I wanted to start out with something that had low expectations,
so that I could work on one of these jobs and not have to worry about if I was gonna be able to deliver the type of expertise that
they were looking for. So I probably ended up
spending eight hours or more on this job that only paid $50. I don’t even wanna do the math to see what that comes
out to at an hourly rate. However, the skills that I got from that, the experience, the confidence that I knew that I could deliver these projects, that I could work on these projects myself as a freelancer, as a contractor. That I could do these
jobs with high confidence and deliver on them, that was priceless. The $50 that I made was extra money that I didn’t have at that
time, so that was great. But the experience that I
got starting out freelancing was what was most important. So I ended up doing, like, four or five different jobs on If you wanna check out my video called Upwork versus Freelancer,
I actually discuss my experience on Freelancer
when I first started. Check out the card at
the top of this video, I’ll throw a link in there. In that video, I show the jobs that I completed on, I compare it to Upwork and
give you my personal opinion, so definitely check that out. So I started researching
other freelance platforms and came across Upwork. Right away, the experience,
the user interface, everything blew me away ’cause it was so much better than Freelancer. I created my profile,
got everything set up, started bidding on some jobs, and then ended up getting
some SQL Server jobs. Now from 2016, when I first started, to now in 2019, I’ve worked
with almost a hundred companies, I’ve earned almost
$500,000 on the platform, I’ve had so many marketing
and opportunities where I got to be on their website. It’s been phenomenal. And now other than the financial gains, the money, the marketing opportunities that I’ve got on Upwork,
one of the best things that I’ve got on the entire platform is all the different types of experiences that I got working with SQL Server, working with business intelligence. I’ve got to work with some
really large companies and see different ways that
these technologies are used, and it’s really helped advance my skillset at a fast pace. So we all know the
benefits of freelancing, working from home or wherever you want, controlling your rate and
how much you get paid. The most important thing, to me honestly, is all the experiences that
I’ve been able to achieve. All these experiences have helped me grow as a SQL Server professional, business intelligence professional. My skillset has grown
at a really fast pace, and much faster than
it would’ve ever grown just working at my full-time job. So start small and be patient. Anything that’s great in life it’s gonna make you a lot of money, give you financial freedom, and allow you to have extreme flexibility in your job, it’s never gonna come
easy and it shouldn’t. So when you start learning SQL Server, relational databases,
business intelligence, focus on the long term. Focus on where you’re
gonna be in the future. The opportunities are out there if you’re willing to put the work in to get you to that level. Learning SQL Server and
relational databases is a lifetime thing. You’re gonna consistently learn new things about SQL Server and learn how to advance your career. And that’s what I love the most. I don’t like to be still, I don’t like to be stagnate, I like to continuously learn new things and push my boundaries. And again, most importantly, be patient, you have to have patience. This is something that you wanna put a lot of time into to get
the result that you want. So be patient, put the time in, the results will be there. And I wanna leave you with a quote that I recently heard on Andy Frisella’s MFCEO Project Podcast, which is, “Success is a pursuit of
one’s own full potential.” So always pursue your full potential, whatever that may be,
pursue it, go after it, and be patient. On this end screen, I recommend checking out these videos. And be sure to hit that
round subscribe button for weekly tech videos. And hit that notification bell so you don’t miss anything. Thank you for watching,
and until next time. ♪ Yeah, all about the Benjamins ♪ ♪ Hustle like a lot of us ♪ ♪ Man, I’m stressing out ♪ ♪ I just can’t help
but pour a bottle off ♪ ♪ My girl, I’m out of chick ♪

About Ralph Robinson

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15 thoughts on “Start Learning SQL Server (My $200,000+ Per Year Career)

  1. Want to Learn more about SQL Server? Checkout my Playlist!
    For course training, try out SkillShare with a Free 2 Month Trial: ✅

  2. Hello Josh. As usually …no doubt that your motivational video will motivate me more again to start a career on upwork. Thanks Josh for motivate us like that. Keep delivring mire videos please.

  3. Another great video! I’m learning C++ this semester and changed my concentration to DBA this past spring. SQL server is up next and I’m excited about it! Keep teaching, keep motivating!

  4. Because I am a Chinese, I don't understand what you are saying, but I feel what you are saying is very useful to support you.

  5. Hi bro I have some doubts please clarify it
    1.)Should sql developers need to learn programming language such as c,c++,java etc…
    2.)what are the career in db field?
    3.)After getting job in sql as a entry level developer what should I learn next to get to next level?

  6. HI, Josh I would to know if mastering the sql server only is enough to get a job and type of positions can I apply for ? Thank you

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