In this post I respond to the May 2022 T-SQL Tuesday #150 Invitation “Your First Technical Job” and talk about my time as an Application Support Developer.
Table of Contents
- Application Support
This month, Kenneth Fisher’s T-SQL Tuesday invitation was as follows:
This month for TSQL Tuesday I’d like to hear about your first technical job(s). I know most DBAs don’t start out working with databases so tell us how you did start.
So let’s go back in time!
My first technical job was as an Application Support Developer at Think Money Group. I’d been with TMG for almost six years at the time, starting in a customer service role before moving into an administrative role in 2012.
By 2016 I had a deep understanding of the organisation’s front and back ends, and had built several Excel and Sharepoint-based solutions to make various internal and regulatory processes easier to manage.
When a vacancy in Application Support became available that Summer, I went to meet the team and put an application in. My roles to date, knowledge of the organisation and technical skills were a good fit, and so I was welcomed aboard!
Application Support was responsible for supporting TMG’s bespoke applications. We had several tasks that I will give a brief overview of.
Ticketing System Triaging
This was my introduction to a ticketing system. As a team, we completed tickets from the backlog based on priority and age.
Incoming tickets needed to be triaged before they entered the backlog. This involved a couple of checks like:
- Prioritisation: How urgent is the ticket?
- Relevance: Is the ticket a reasonable request? Is it a duplicate of an existing ticket?
- Serviceability: Is anything missing from the ticket? Can it be completed in its current form?
A correctly triaged and well-maintained backlog was essential. As a team, it helped us meet our SLAs and prevent bottlenecks and duplication. As individuals, it increased productivity and simplified the working day.
Common tickets would involve giving users access to services or features within the application. For example, granting access to certain reports, or changing a user’s setup to alter their view on certain screens.
This didn’t need any code changes as it was handled within the application. Even so, care was needed to make sure requests were handled correctly, and that principles of least privilege were followed.
Other common tickets would involve changing data at scale. For example, adding notes onto accounts when letters were sent. The application could handle this with small amounts of letters. However, it made more sense to insert notes directly into the database when there were thousands of them.
These tickets served as my introduction to SQL Server. I inserted new data into tables. I updated tables using temp tables and cursors. Every test customer once ended up with the same surname when I didn’t use a
WHERE clause properly.
Mistakes are part of learning though. At least it wasn’t production…
Learning about the testing and production servers then introduced me to other SQL Server concepts like Agent Jobs, Linked Servers and Replication. So the floodgates were well and truly opened!
Users would sometimes get errors that they would send in for investigation. Common ones might be caused by:
- Insufficient permissions for a certain screen.
- Deadlocked processes in the backend database.
- Unsupported application version.
- Bugs in a new release.
Firstly, I would contact the user to explain what was happening. I would then either fix the problem or record it as a bug.
For the unclear errors, I would make contact with one of the Software Engineers for guidance. We’d then either go through the error together, or I’d escalate the error if it was very complex.
In conclusion, I have talked about my time as an Application Support Developer and have given an overview of what the role involved. In addition, I have explained how the role introduced me to SQL Server.
Thanks to Kenneth for this month’s topic! My previous T-SQL Tuesday posts are here.
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Thanks for reading ~~^~~