In July of 2012, I started a new role, but after a few months, I could see that there wouldn’t be much opportunity for me to learn there, and/or the pace of learning was simply too slow. The biggest problem I faced was that I had to move forward in the professional development realm on my own time. A brief overview of my life schedule looked like:
- Monday to Friday: work from 10am to 6pm, get home and study SQL Server until 2am
- Saturday and Sunday: study SQL Server from 10 am until 2am
Yeah, that’s not much of a life – or to be brutally honest, that’s no life at all, and I did this from 2012 until just last week. I’d say that at least 45 to 48 weeks of the year, I stuck to that schedule.
My work role was split between SQL development and DBA tasks, and it was a pretty small company. I was trying to get a dedicated DBA role, but that type of role usually exists at larger companies, and without recent large company experience, I was often not a good fit for the roles I was seeing. Add to that the fact that I have zero SSIS in my career (many roles require that), and we have a stumbling block to moving forward/upward.
SET PERSEVERANCE ON
In the interest of attaining advanced knowledge of SQL Server, I attended the following training and conferences since 2011:
- 2011, SQL Skills Immersion Event (Performance Tuning)
- 2013, SQL Cruise – on this trip I met Aaron Bertrand, Mike Fal, Stacia Varga, Brandon Leach, Buck Woody, Tim Ford, and others
- 2014, Brent Ozar – Senior SQL DBA
- 2015, Allan Hirt , Mission Critical SQL Server
- 2016, Edwin Sarmiento online HA class
- PASS Summit, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
I devoured blog posts from Brent, Jonathan Kehayias, Robert Davis, Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, Paul White, Aaron Bertrand, Kendra Little, Edwin Sarmiento, Allan Hirt, and many others.
As is often said, if you really want to learn something, you’ve got to teach it, and that’s why since 2016 I’ve been blogging and presenting at many SQL Saturdays across the USA.
I always believed that my next role would come from engagement with the SQL community – that someone out there would recognize my dedication, passion for learning, and desire to help others. I came close to getting a new role a few times, but nothing panned out, although during the initial phone screen for one of the positions I applied for, the interviewer told me that he had solved a production problem from reading one of my blog posts.
Not long ago I saw a post from a colleague on the NYC SQL user group message board about needing to fill a role for a strong DBA, and I’m thrilled to write that I’ve got a new dedicated DBA role at an international financial powerhouse. What struck me during the interview process was that I was not asked a single technical question about SQL Server – it seems my reputation had preceded me.
There are benefits to dedicating yourself to a life of learning, and helping others — you just never know when it might pay off.