MS SQL Server Database Administrator

Database Management

About this test

Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator Online Test: How it is structured and how it can help you hire your best candidate

Using our Microsoft SQL Server Database Administrator online assessment test will assure your candidate’s skills administering a SQL Server environment using 24 highly detailed questions.

All questions represent practical and general knowledge around SQL Server administration and should be known by strong database administrators.

The test is put together by the world-renowned team. They’ve authored more than 65 in-depth Pluralsight courses on SQL Server, and have been providing the highest quality SQL Server training and consulting since 1995, and are intimately familiar with all aspects of SQL Server and the chapters in this test. They also have extensive experience interviewing SQL Server Database Administrator (DBA) candidates for their clients.

The sub-chapters were picked after considering the broad scope of SQL Server database administration, and the SQLskills team has assessed the six most vital areas to evaluate the qualifications and practical experience of a specific candidate. See all chapters to the right.

By using our SQL Server Database Administrator online assessment test, recruiting talented DBAs will be easier. You will have a significantly higher chance of employing a strong candidate, as well as eliminating the risk of hiring an under-qualified candidate who lacks real-world experience.

How would you use this test?

This test has a number of use cases:

  • Evaluate SQL Server DBAs on their understanding of SQL Server administration fundamentals
  • Filter out candidates for your work based on their ability to understand complex scenarios
  • Make sure that candidates have real-world, practical knowledge of administering SQL Server, instead of just book knowledge or having taken an administration ‘boot camp’

Which areas (chapters) will be covered in the test, and why was it chosen that way?

Database Configuration
One of the fundamental requirements for a good DBA candidate is to understand the settings for a database and how they affect the performance of a query workload, as the defaults are usually not appropriate in a production environment. Candidates also need to be able to choose the correct physical layout when creating a database to maximize its availability and manageability.

Security is a hot topic in the IT industry today and is essential for an SQL Server DBA to be familiar with. A strong candidate should have experience with encryption features at various levels (such as Dynamic Data Masking, Always Encrypted, and Transparent Data Encryption) as well as the ability to properly configure users, logins, roles, and permissions.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery
Nothing is more important than a company’s data and SQL Server has a variety of technologies to aid in preserving access to the data tier when disaster strikes. Candidates should be familiar with configuring, using, and troubleshooting Availability Groups, Failover Clusters, and replication, and also how to react when data corruption happens.

Backup and Restore
One of the core tasks of a DBA is to design and implement an appropriate backup strategy that meets the downtime and data loss requirements of the application. That also means having practiced restoring from backups in a variety of scenarios and knowing how to create an optimal restore sequence when required.

Database Maintenance
Apart from performing backups, the other regular task that a DBA must perform or automate is database maintenance. A strong candidate will know why and how to implement efficient index fragmentation detection and removal, statistics updates, and consistency checks.

Performance Troubleshooting
Probably the most important task of a DBA is maintaining workload performance and throughput, and identifying the cause of a problem quickly. A strong candidate will know how to collect and interpret metrics from a variety of sources and use that information zero in on the root cause of an issue. Furthermore, candidates should be able to choose an appropriate way to alleviate the problem and restore normal performance.





Maximum completion time

33 minutes

Chapter(s) 6
  • Performance Troubleshooting
  • Database Maintenance
  • Backup and Restore
  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery
  • Security
  • Database Configuration
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Most recent MS SQL Server Database Administrator score
MS SQL Server Database Administrator
Performance Troubleshooting
Database Maintenance
High Availability and Disaster Recovery
Database Configuration
Backup and Restore
Try a sample question from our MS SQL Server Database Administrator specialist
A Database Administrator manages a SQL Server 2019 instance with an OLTP workload. When troubleshooting a performance issue, the DBA notices that CXPACKET is a top wait type. After reviewing the Plan Cache, they also discover a very large number of parallel plans with a low StatementSubTreeCost that are not benefiting from parallelism. Which configuration setting should the DBA consider changing that SQL Server uses to determine if a parallel plan should be used for some queries?

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Made by one of the leading experts

I’ve been heavily involved with Microsoft SQL Server since I joined the development team at Microsoft in 1999, and I know the importance of bringing in promising job candidates. That’s why I jumped at the chance to help Kandio help companies find real SQL Server experts.

Paul S. Randal

Paul S. Randal

CEO and Owner, SQLskills
SQL patent holder, Microsoft MVP
Co-author of all our SQL related tests

Paul S. Randal

I’m Paul S. Randal, and I’m one of Kandio’s go-to guys on everything SQL Server.

After working on SQL Server itself for almost nine years, I joined my wife running a world-class SQL Server training and consulting business, so I know what qualities make a great SQL Server developer or DBA. With 15 thousand twitter followers, and having recorded or produced more than 65 Pluralsight courses on SQL Server, people trust my knowledge and opinions.

I wrote and taught Microsoft’s prestigious Microsoft Certified Master qualification, as well as the course assessments and practical exam, so I also know how to write questions that really evaluate a candidate’s real-world knowledge. Using the assessments I’ve written for Kandio, your business can find your next SQL Server expert.

My Experience

I’m an author, consultant, and top-rated speaker having spoken at PASS, TechEd, SQLintersection, and numerous other events around the world. I spent 9 years working on the SQL Server team, ultimately responsible for the entire Storage Engine. I left Microsoft in 2007 to co-own and run, and I’ve been a SQL Server/Data Platform MVP ever since. I’ve written numerous whitepapers for Microsoft, articles for SQL Server sites, and more than 1,000 blog posts about SQL Server topics. I know SQL Server inside and out!

  • September 2007 - Present
    CEO and Owner
  • 2012 - Present
    Author and course producer for my team
  • January 1999 - August 2007
    Microsoft (SQL Server team)
    Developer, Principal Development Lead, Principal Group Program Manager

My Achievements

I’m a prolific creator of SQL Server educational content and have a passion for helping people learn about SQL Server. I’m also a renowned expert in SQL Server data recovery and SQL Server internals.

  • Over the years
    Multiple #1 rated conference sessions and workshops at Microsoft TechEd and PASS Summit
  • Over the years
    Two software patents for SQL Server technology
  • Over the years
  • 2008 and onward
    SQL Server/Data Platform MVP since April 2008
  • 2012 and onward
    Started recording for Pluralsight. More than 65 SQL Server courses recorded or produced.
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94% of all questions our support receives, can be answered in the below FAQ

I have many candidates - will they all receive the same questions for equal assessment?
Short answer:

Yes, all candidates are equally assessed, when you use Kandio.

Long answer:

All our tests have different questions that might or might not change from vacancy to vacancy.

However, once you lock a recruitment round in, the questions will lock in as well for all candidates going through your assessment, so that they are equally screened.
How can the exam score help me to make a better hiring decision?
Overall it would be best if you kept in mind that Kandio offers help with assessing your total pool of candidates. The point with this plan-of-attack is to give you a tool that will enable you to pinpoint the very underqualified candidates quickly, and promptly discard of them. As well as locating the strong candidates, and invite them for an interview before your competitor does.

The difficulty of our tests is serious in general and is meant to find the lesser qualified. So you shouldn’t disqualify a candidate at 67%, just because you have someone who’s testing 70%. Or even 85%.

Kandio is a tool you should use in addition to other means such as:

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The reason we have priced Kandio the way we have is that it’s meant to be used alongside other decision factors, and not as a sole dictation of which candidate to employ.
Why Kandio over other tests? And why not a free-writing test?
All Kandio assessments have a difficult multiple-choice approach and a very clear and tangible scorecard at the end. We only work with objective measurements and completely disregard candidate values such as consistency in work, ability to teamwork, humanity, and care for colleagues, sociality, and the likes.

The reason for this is that in today's tech-oriented world, we often see a significant amount of different solutions to the same problem. If we offered free-write assignments, candidates would need to be assessed one by one, which obviously would be impossible at our price point.

With us, you're buying access to a robust set of exams, written by the world's best authorities, with well-functioning scorecards to make recruitment easier. And on top of that, we are using big-data to benchmark all your candidates across other similar candidates.
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Our goal is to weed out the least competent candidates in the most common knowledge within your desired field.

Because of this, you should keep in mind to adjust your salary expectations and level of acceptance, if you’re looking for junior roles, mid-level roles, or senior roles.
How do I adjust the level of my test to match the qualifications of the position I’m trying to fill within my company?
You don’t. Our tests are made with such difficulty in mind, that they would challenge all skill levels regardless of seniority. We almost never see any candidate getting everything correct on our exams.

If you are trying to fill a senior role, you would probably want candidates to score above 60% in Kandio. If you’re looking for a junior role, you could probably settle with 30%-50%

If you want a very junior role, that you can train along the way, you would be looking at 30%-50%.

We wouldn’t recommend considering any candidate below 20% unless you have clear indications from other factors of decision making.