T-SQL Tuesday #009: Time Off

Posted in #TSQL2sDay, Misc on August 10th, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

I once was told by my first development lead that his goal was to work himself out of a job. Being a bit younger and quite a bit less experienced, I thought it was an interesting perspective and a way to say there would always be something to do. But perspectives have a way of changing over the years. Now, with a family, broader exposure and a more experience, I have a different thought about his statement.

This brings me to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, presented by Jason Brimhall (twitter|blog). The focus of this 9th installment is on vacation and what it means to be a database professional looking to get some much needed rest and relaxation. I think the real meaning behind working one’s self out of my job means less about all of the work out there and more about making sure the work you have doesn’t require you to keep it running. Sure the idea that we are needed and are the best is great. But whether this is true or not, this hero mentality is the bane of the IT professional’s existence.

The reality is that organizations don’t need heroes. They need people that can build solutions and that these can be done in such a way that they are easy to maintain and require little to no maintenance. Sure things break and sometimes changes need to be made. This should be the exception to the rule and not the norm. It is my belief that the best in the business will try to build solutions to be only as complex as necessary and in reality should be designed in such a way that anyone with a reasonable amount of skill can figure out later on.

This leads me to my resounding belief that if systems you design or administer require you in the picture to survive, you are doing it wrong. There are far too many tools and techniques in the world to make your life easier. To avoid using these tools and techniques might just indicate that enjoying a vacation or progressing in your career are not high enough in your list of priorities.  

As a DBA, Developer or any other IT Professional, focus on designing systems and processes that are as easy as possible to administer. Sure it is not always possible but the key is to keep it simple. Companies will see this as an asset and for you it means you can take on new projects, find time to do your own development, maybe get promoted and ultimately take a real vacation.

Twitter: A SQL Server DBA’s New Best Friend

Posted in Misc, Twitter on August 9th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

Follow Me

Whether you are new to SQL Server or are a well-seasoned DBA/Developer, the one thing that has made SQL Server a knockout lately is the huge community support. SQL has a great following of users, authors, bloggers, and presenters. What you may not know is also SQL is huge on Twitter. Want proof? Take your next troubling question (after you have done a bit of research on your own, of course) and post a tweet with the hash tag #sqlhelp. Yes this means you have to set an account up if you don’t have one but it is well worth it. If you have no idea how to use twitter start with this manual from Brent Ozar (blog|twitter):

The Simple Twitter Book

Now assuming you have a twitter account, some base knowledge of tweeting and have posted your question on twitter with the #sqlhelp hash tag, watch your stream on twitter. Now I cannot guarantee you will actually get a response but chances are pretty good. And the people responding are some of the best. So be patient and if you don’t get a response within a day feel free to post again. There is a large base of people that monitor the #sqlhelp tweets and try to respond but if someone doesn’t know they won’t respond (typically). Remember this is all voluntary, though some people are getting jobs in the social media field most of these people are just doing just to help others.

All that being said here are a few points of my own on Twitter and getting help through #sqlhelp

  • Try it! - Even if you are a bit skeptical, it’s totally free and zero commitment.
  • No Pressure – If you are not a big fan of twitter or social networking don’t worry. It’s there if you want to use it.
  • Give back- You may have experience others don’t. If you know the answer please share. I have found it a great learning and growth opportunity. No pressure though.
  • Use Twitter Tools – There are many desktop and mobile apps that are free to use. Personal favorites are Seesmic and TweetDeck.
  • No Marketing – Don’t use it to market. Ever. No one is a fan of this and you will be called out.
  • Follow Me – Sure this is a shameless plug but if you are new or well versed in twitter feel free to follow me and send me a message @speedracer.

New and Improved

Posted in Misc on May 17th, 2010 by admin – Be the first to comment

New and Improved!The idea of something being new and improved always humors me. It’s a fun little marketing tool that is all too commonly slapped on the side of a TV dinner to indicate it will better than the last time we mistake of buying and consuming it.

So what does this have to do with me, this web site or databases for that matter? My original attempt I now chock up to an experiment now almost three years ago at WordPress. When I began my original quest it was simply to share information I had trouble finding elsewhere. Still a great idea and why I am trying again but, needless to say, after a few short posts I found time and motivation to be fleeting.

So here I am again, this time trying a different approach and with new motivation. I have officially been in the database profession for five years now and with over 10 years of IT and database experience. I have had the opportunity to mentor teammates and others outside of my organization. What I have found is that as quickly as I pick up new bits of knowledge I also like to share it with others just as quickly.

Beyond that, new social tools like Twitter have given additional me outlets to help share and openly communicate. On Twitter (@speedracer) I have found many active SQL Server experts that openly and freely share their ideas, perspectives and humor (@andyleonard, @brento, @brianknight, @buckwoody, @paulrandal and @midnightdba to name a few).  A growing community that is always willing to help and grow others to do the same. On top of that the community at PASS continues to grow and encourages more and more participation and even free local event like SQL Saturday.  Now as I look forward at my own professional development, I realize that as much as I like technology I also would like to share more myself and give back to the SQL Server and IT ecosystems that have made me the professional I am today.

With that I would like to say welcome to the New and Improved SpeedDBA.com. I hope you enjoy it, maybe even learn something and please feel free to leave comments or questions to anything!