Review – You suck!
I am my worst critic and I can usually talk myself out of most things. One of the hardest things for me to do last year was blog. I still consider myself a newbie to the whole blogging thing. I haven’t found my niche or what I am trying to convey. I am still feeling a bit random about what to post. My first blog post was my last year’s 2010 resolution [Blog].
Reflect – It was a year ago?
Wow, can’t believe a year just passed.
I just posted my 2010 Review [Blog] and if I was actually being graded on these, I would be taking summer school.
Resolved to do better
I am not so much into setting New Year’s Resolutions and as you can see from my 2010 review (link above) I did terrible. This year the plan is to be as vague as possible to achieve higher scores (not really). Instead of resolutions, I shall call these goals.
1. Take Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Cert Exam 70-432. My primary reason is to keep up my skills and learn more about SQL Server areas that I don’t necessarily use in my day to day job. Last year I set a goal for myself to take the 70-431 and passed it in July 2010 [Blog].
2. Participate in all T-SQL Tuesday Blog posts in 2011. I participated in 3 events in 2010.
3. Write at least 1 SQL Server Blog post a month.
4. Volunteer\Help at SQL Saturday #68 in Olympia (April 2011). If I am able to attend PASS in 2011 (3rd timer), I will volunteer there as well. Hope my boss approves budget.
5. Continue to learn SSIS. I worked on two projects this last year using SSIS, which I really enjoyed and hated at the same time. It’s funny looking back at the first project that I built. Oh, please nobody look at it. HAND IN FACE.
Better planning, being more organized, and continue to grow as a DBA
This month’s TSQL2sDAY is being hosted by Steve Jones (Twitter | Blog). The topic this month is around “what the business says is not what the business wants”.
Have you heard this one before? I am not sure what I want, but I want it.
I am currently involved in a project where we are upgrading/moving from an old in-house created application to a new in-house created application. This involves the business analysts working with the other department getting all of their business needs. Don’t get me wrong you need the input from the people that are going to be using the system or it will fail. However, if you don’t know what you want, how can we deliver that to you.
I think what I am trying to convey is we do need to interact with the business users to see what they really need and give them those things that will help them do their job, which helps the company, which helps us stay employed.
I am thankful for a strong business analyst group in our department. They know more about the business process then the actual users do. They are able to anticipate with the user needs and work with development to give them those features.
Just like any trade there is a specific level of skill necessary to do the job. Just like an auto-mechanic there is training to do the job. You wouldn’t want just anybody working on your car, especially if it is a newer one with all the computer modules etc.
There are some basic things that a technical people can do in SQL Server, like changing a flat tire. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to change the tire. You do need to have a jack, wrench, some brute strength, and the knowledge where the spare is located, most people can change the tire. If you want to change the oil the on your car you need to be a little more technical. You need to know what type of oil you need and the oil filter, and location of the filter.
I believe that there are skills necessary to manage a database. As much as software vendors like to say there is no "Set it and Forget it" feature in SQL Server. If you forget it, it will bite you and usually where the sun don’t shine.
In my previous job I worked in technical support for a software company. I would get a call once a week from customers where their Transaction Log file filled up their C Drive (insert laugh here), and they had no database backups (insert tear here). This is DBA 101 stuff, actually it is Business 101, but most of the companies I dealt with did not have a DBA on staff. It was generally the person closest to the server.
In those cases and most of the other issues that I dealt with if they had someone with the basic SQL Server knowledge it could have prevented 99% of their issues.
Bottom line: I feel that a DBA is necessary for the well being of your companies PRICELESS data.
This month’s T-SQL Tuesday #008 “Gettin’ Schooled” is being hosted by Robert Davis [Twitter | Blog] and the topic is on learning and teaching, which can be found here. Great topic and I can’t wait to read other people’s blogs on the subject.
How do you learn and what am I learning?
I am a hands-on learner. I need to read it, touch it, and test it, (smell it and taste it) to get a good understanding of it. I generally start by reading an article, then step through the process, and finally test the process to get a better understanding. My favorite types of blogs are those who are very detailed and step through the process.
I am currently studying for my Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance (70-431) exam. This process has been very challenging and rewarding for me. I am learning new aspects of the software that I have not used in my current position, like service broker and end points to name a few. For my studying I purchased Wiley’s Microsoft Office Academic Course (MOAC) book and I love how it is arranged. It does a great job explaining the topic and then goes into a great detailed lab that details the steps of the task.
How do you teach?
I did some teaching at my previous job. I taught a 5 day admin course on the ERP software that the company developed and did several conference style sessions. The classes were generally small with on average of 6-10 people and the conference sessions could range from 15-30. This was a huge challenge for me because I am generally a shy person and getting out in front of people presenting was really terrifying. I tend to be a very technical person and this was my style of teaching. I tried to give technical information in a way that was easy to understand and follow that up with hands-on labs that helped put what you learned to practice. With more practice I think that I could be a better speaker and I may look into that in the near future.
What is successful teaching?
I think that successful teaching has to have content that is delivered in a fashion that the person being taught can understand it, remember it, and be entertained in the process. I am not a big fan in which the instructor is reading the information from a book or slide deck. I don’t get anything from it and I can do that on my own.
I think that we all something that we can teach each other and learning, well it takes a lifetime.
I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
Thanks Robert for the great topic. Look forward to next months T-SQL topic.