T-SQL Tuesday this month is hosted by Jen “MidnightDBA” McCown, (blog|twitter) blogger, twitterer, and one of MS’s most recent MVPs. Congrats, Jen! The subject for discussion is “Resolutions”. Not “New Year’s Resolutions”, but that’s what I’m going to be looking at, at least from a technical (SQL Server) perspective.
- Get certified – ideally in SQL Server 2008 on the Admin track.
- Read more books
- Do more writing for the blog – and not just WTFs. There’ve been too many of those of late!
- Try to understand more about how some of the quite spectacular answers on AskSSC actually work.
So, to flesh that out a bit…
Something that is becoming increasingly important, partiuclarly as a contractor DBA, seems to be being able to back up your experience with a formal certification. Given the way the recruitment business is going (hi, pimps!), it is becoming more and more populated by people who don’t understand the domain in which they are working, but rely upon buzzword / keyword matching as a first stage of filtering. As a contractor, I need to be able to get my CV to the top of the pile – and the best way to do that appears to be to get the letters “MCITP” or “MCTS”. Mind you, I have recently seen a job advertisement demanding MCSD (when did that go out?), and others demanding MCDBA!
As for me, I have 15 years experience, but I don’t have the certification. Why not? Well, although SQL Server has been part of my life for that long, it has never been all of my professional life. I’ve been a developer, consultant, project manager, systems architect, IT manager, systems manager, third-line support guru – you name it, I’ve probably done it. But now I find myself working pretty much exclusively as a DBA (although occasionally as a DBA-with-extras), and I’m rather enjoying it. But I don’t enjoy sending out a hundred CVs in order to secure that first interview! So anything I can do to get the edge…
Read more books
I am away from home quite a lot of the time with work – currently, it takes around 3.5 hours to drive from home to the client’s office. This is (obviously) too far to go every day, so I book into a hotel while I’m on site. There’s not a lot to do – there’s only so many episodes of “Top Gear” you can watch on Dave before getting bored, and I don’t “do” the gym-rat thing, no matter what my FourSquare badges say. On the other hand, I have a box of SQL Server books in the back of the car, and I have been known to read & review books (I’m currently also working as a Technical Reviewer for Apress – next book due out soon!). So why not combine the two? and hopefully pick up some more knowledge and skills? And that would give me something more to blog about. How’s this for a target – one book per month. Read, try to understand, and review for the blog. There’s a goal.
Do more writing for the blog
This blog is quite heavy on WTFs, I know. But, in my defence, I have seen quite a lot of stuff over the years that has made me go “WTF”, and some of you have expressed enthusiasm for this sort of post. But I should try to limit myself a bit, and actually find something more sensible to write about. Book reviews are one way to go. And so is the next item on the list.
Try to understand more of the complex solutions in AskSSC
There are a lot of very clever people contributing to AskSSC. Very very clever. I really do have difficulties understanding some of the more elegant solutions they come up with in response to some of the queries. So perhaps this would be a useful sideline in the blog? Pick a question at random, and analyse one of the more interesting solutions. Explain it, and then hopefully gain better understanding. I won’t start with some of the Speed Phreak challenges – they really do boggle the mind!
The thing I like about all these is that they are interlinked. This mightn’t be so daunting after all! But, in case that’s not enough to keep me busy, there’s the other life to deal with – family time, and more double bass-playing, please!