SQL Server Reporting Services, or SSRS, is a resource used to create, manage, maintain and share reporting throughout an organization. Because of its usefulness in a time where curating and analyzing big data is important for the growth of digital businesses, it’s helpful for people in IT to understand SSRS and its technical functions before their next interview.
In this article, we’ll review SSRS interview questions and example answers.
What are SSRS interview questions?
SSRS interview questions are those that seek to reveal your knowledge of the popular reporting system.
SSRS provides in-depth, highly visual reporting features for business users. These reports serve as tools that company leaders can base important decisions on, in areas of business from marketing to product development and beyond.
Because making good decisions is vitally important to business growth, people who manage SSRS systems must have adequate knowledge, experience, behavior and skills to do it well.
SSRS is part of a larger Business Intelligence (BI) system, so users should know data models, experience with SQL databases reporting and business intelligence strategies. Questions in these interviews are likely to be highly technical as a result.
Roles that require knowledge of SSRS aren’t necessarily jobs specific to the platform, although they can be. Some titles that may need to know how to use SSRS functionally include SSRS report developer, SSRS report writer, database developer, SQL programmer, BI data developer and more.
Common SSRS interview questions
- Describe the stages of the report life cycle.
- Explain requirement gathering and why it’s important.
- What skills are important for someone who works in SSRS?
- What interests you about SSRS? Why do you want to manage these processes?
Describe the stages of the report life cycle.
In it’s most basic terms, SSRS revolves around a reporting lifecycle. This question provides an opportunity for you to show your knowledge of the report life cycle and should be answered in a simple, straightforward way. This type of basic question might introduce a line of SSRS questioning that increases in complexity the further in the interview you get.
Example: “Report authoring, management, delivery and security are the four phases of the SSRS report lifecycle. Authoring means creating reports, management implies maintaining the reports and information in them, delivery is how reports are deployed to business users and security has to do with features like user access.”
Explain requirement gathering and why it’s important.
Requirement gathering is a process used throughout IT departments to determine the scope of a project. In the case of SSRS, requirement gathering means obtaining the specifications of the report and how they need to be displayed to convey the appropriate insights.
This question allows interviewers to test your knowledge of SSRS, in terms of how requirement gathering impacts this specific system, but it also gives you a chance to talk about how you work in a team.
That’s because requirement gathering usually involves other team members. Often, requirement gathering takes place in meetings—this is particularly true of companies that subscribe to agile practices like SCRUM—which is an increasingly popular method of IT project management for software development.
Depending on your role on the IT team, you could be responsible for scheduling, leading or attending requirement gathering meetings that assist you in creating the most functional reports for your organization.
For this answer, we’ll use the STAR method of answering interview questions that encourages you to draw from personal experience to come to logical conclusions. To use STAR effectively describe a situation where you were presented an objective, state your role in the tasks that led to solving the challenge, describe the actions you took to overcome the challenge and speak on the results.
Example: “Requirement gathering is a process that involves interviewing business users to determine what their needs are in terms of reporting. It’s important because it ensures the SSDS developer’s time is spent making useful, practical reports that lead to accurate insights and decision making.
For example, during my time at KedCo Incorporated, I was tasked with requirements gathering as the only SSDS developer for the company. Because the company was so large, I decided meetings were necessary. I scheduled meetings that would bring together end-users to discuss overall requirements. Ultimately, this allowed me to make many useful reports that resulted in better investments.”
What skills are important for someone who works in SSRS?
Consider your experience and what you’ve learned that may be useful in a back end developer role. Also, think about which of your acquired skills is in the most high-demand for the role and prioritize them.
Here is a list of skills that an SSRS developer should have, prioritized by demand:
- SQL: high-demand
- Database: high-demand
- SSRS and SSIS: high-demand
- Running complex queries: high-demand
- Data warehousing: high-demand
- Business requirements gathering: moderate-demand
- OLAP: moderate-demand
- XML: moderate-demand
- C#: moderate-demand
- Lookup: moderate-demand
Example: “As an SSRS professional, I find SQL, database management and experience with SSRS to be the greatest skills I would bring to this position. I also find, having worked with several programming languages like C#, the knowledge I’ve undertaken learning those languages aids in my understanding of computational thinking and mathematical logic, which is important in this role.”
What interests you about SSRS? Why do you want to manage these processes?
This question provides you an opportunity to talk about what motivates you in the role and why you are a valuable candidate and an asset as an employee. When you talk about what interests you about SSRS, try to identify a few motivators.
Related: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
This could be something like: “I really appreciate the challenge being an SSRS developer brings to the job, it keeps the work exciting.” Another example would be: “I find working with data to be personally rewarding because I learn a lot in the process and it makes me more analytical in other areas of life.”
Example: “I’ve worked in SSRS for a few years, and I find the work I do is personally rewarding for a couple of reasons. First, it provides new daily challenges, and it feels good to meet and exceed them.
Second, I enjoy interviewing end-users to determine requirements. The position is a good mix of working independently and interacting with people, which I enjoy. I like managing data because it’s very fulfilling to see how the reports I create lead to decisions that affect the whole company. That’s why I want to continue working in SSRS.”