Hired a new BI developer. She tested reasonably ok in SQL, and certainly showed good strengths in visualising data, plus had a good attitude in the interview. We hired her. She broke her laptop the first day. We got her another then she complained the camera didn't work but didn't realise the lever in front of the camera was to move the privacy shutter off and on.

Assigned her some work of taking queries that are used in a BI tool that targets the transactional database directly, and re-jigging them for Snowflake which we're using as a data warehouse now, aggregating all our data into one place. Yet, she's struggling to understand why the SQL query she's pasted in doesn't work as-is.

I go over it again; the source schemas and tables are this, but in Snowflake we've named them this. She then bemoans how much work that is to change them all - I say use find and replace. She then struggles with Snowflake syntax errors and asks for a guide on T-SQL to Snowflake. I show her Google and say "this is what I did when I hit these problems - search for 'Snowflake equivalent to T-SQL getdate()' or 'how to get current date in Snowflake' but she still doesn't understand. I ask if she's every had to work between T-SQL and MySQL or MySQL and PostgreSQL or Oracle and so on and she says yes. I say the syntax isn't the same, is it? And she goes oh, now I understand.

She scored reasonably in her SQL test but I'm now concerned there's something fundamental missing in her grasp of SQL. I gave her a detailed demo of the tools, I explained in the interview and on her start about our move to a data warehouse for all our apps, and put her through some training plus gave her time to work through our Confluence pages - not expecting she'll remember everything, but more to ensure she recalls they exist and what the general contents are.

Anyhow, that's my rant.

  • 7
    She tested reasonably well.

    There's your problem.

    She googled it all, or had help.

    Tests only mean to limit your list of talent, they rarely increase quality of talent.
  • 2
    Maybe start simpler. Do they have an introduction/tutorial with data they can follow to get some of the concepts right? Not always knowledge about X translate well into Y unless you also know something about Z
  • 8
    Could be ignorance.
    Could be depression.
    Could be laziness.

    The first is fixable, and looks like what you’re already trying.
    The second is fixable too, though slowly and not by you.
    The third is, unfortunately, terminal.
  • 4
    I think the BIGGEST issue is not using google to learn things when stuck. And was the test cheat proof? Hopefully she was monitored...
  • 2
    So, the test didn't cover T-SQL 🤷‍♂️
    You dug your own hole here.

    But I do agree, it's not hard if you know one, to look up the syntax for
    the other.

    Most things are going very similar, or at least called the same when looking them up.
  • 1
    She's still new, let's see in a couple years how she's doing.
  • 4
    SQL knowledge doesn't immediately translate to dialect, stack and product knowledge.

    Someone with 15 years of MySQL knowledge won't be a Postgres expert right out of the gate for example -- And could have trouble finding their footing around stack-specific software like Tableau, and also the company specific database layout.

    T-SQL and Snowflake are especially stupid, wrong and horrible for all kinds of reasons, in my "completely unbiased" opinion (nah, who am I kidding, I'm extremely biased and my opinion is possibly objectively invalid and I say these things just because I'm waaaaay more familiar with other products).

    I'd say, give it a bit of time.
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