Many Data Professionals I deal with work with more than just SQL Server. I came from a background of COBOL flat-file databases, worked with Oracle, DB/2, Ingres, and lots of other databases as well.

While I find that the SQL Server professionals I know are fine with learning a new platform, many times I’ve run into folks on other platforms that don’t want to learn SQL Server. I’m not sure why this is. Data is data, and I’m all about the right tool for the job.

I’ve talked with my friends in the Oracle community, and there doesn’t seem to be a single answer. Some of them think that they would “dilute” their time for learning Oracle if they spent time on SQL Server. Others tell me that they think SQL Server DBA’s don’t make as much. While this might be true in scattered cases, I always point out that SQL Server has more licensed seats than Oracle – which I interpret to mean if I know both platforms, I’ll always have a job.

But I think there might be another reason. Many of the Oracle and DB/2 professionals I know have only dealt with SQL Server years ago – meaning version 2000 and sometimes even much earlier. They haven’t kept up with what Microsoft has done since then, and they are quite surprised when they learn that SQL Server runs Microsoft’s 85,000+ seats of our SAP instance, and what feature sets are in the product.

So once again, I’ll state my position for the record: use the best tool for the job, but stay up to date on the major platforms as far as their basic feature set, licensing model and costs, and when and where they are used. As the Data Professional, your organization depends on you to make the right choices.