Have we given too much away?
SQL Server has an amazing community. It freely provides information and training of SQL Server technologies via the internet and even in person events like SQL Saturday’s.
This is fantastic for anyone who works in SQL Server. It has even been noted that having SQL Server skills can increase your base salary rate with a new job by near 10% (http://sqlmag.com/sql-server/look-sql-server-and-data-related-salaries-2015). We have so many resources readily available to give us the information we need to be able to do our jobs to the best extent.
However, when it comes to paying someone from the outside for that knowledge and expertise the increases aren’t there. There is so much high quality information available for free that companies can quickly start to question the need for outside consultants when Google has “all the answers”. Did we, as a community, devalue the role of the SQL Server consultant?
Generally consultants can’t hike their prices to keep up with the pay scale increases. In some cases prices may start to creep down in order to get companies to spend some of their money to solve their SQL Server problems more quickly and efficiently. Even then, a lot of companies would rather hire a full time or contract employee at a perceived lower rate rather than bring in a more expensive consultant. Perhaps the company feels it can’t afford a consultant. Maybe there were issues in the past with consultants that milk the system for every penny possible. It doesn’t matter than the lower rate employee may take 3 to 4 times longer to achieve the same results due to lack of experience. The up-front focus of most projects is on the bottom line. The perceived lower per hour cost outweighs the ultimately cheaper cost of getting things done right the first time at a slightly higher rate.
Companies will continue to squeeze the pennies and consultants will always be out there trying to get as much as they can from the companies. The solution to the dilemma comes when the two forces work together to resolve issues in an expedient and cost effective way for all parties involved.
Are you a SQL Server consultant? Do you work with SQL Server, yet feel no need for a consultant? Do you manage a project that uses SQL Server, but decided to hire rather than use a consultant? Feel differently than the views expressed above? Leave a comment with your thoughts on the value of the SQL Server Consultant.
Chris Bell, SQL Server MVP, MCSE & MCITP, is a 20 year veteran of using Microsoft products & SQL Server to create solutions for businesses, organizations and individuals. Chris speaks, blogs, writes articles and makes media of all kinds regarding SQL Server at WaterOxConsulting.com.
Chris is also the founder of WaterOx Consulting, Inc. which features SQL Server consulting services along with the destination location week-long training series: SQL Summer Camp. New in 2015 WaterOx Consulting is introducing the SQLPunch series of half day training events designed to help others learn to efficiently and effectively use SQL Server.
In 2012 Chris was a finalist in the worldwide Exceptional DBA competition and in 2014 he received the Microsoft MVP award in recognition of his open sharing of his knowledge with the technical community. His blog is currently syndicated to SQLServerCentral.com and ToadWorld.com