This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Wendy Pastrick (b|t) and the topic is change in our work lives. Thanks to Wendy for hosting and to Adam Machanic (b|t) for putting this installment of T-SQL Tuesday together.
Fifteen years ago, I was working in a bookstore at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I’d graduated a year earlier with a degree in history. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I was confident it didn’t involve grad school or retail.
In November of 1988, I enrolled in the Computer Career Program at DePaul University. The program was geared to turning non-technical people into mainframe programmers. It had been around since the early ’80′s, but saw a surge in enrollment during the run up to Y2K. After three months, I was certified to code in COBOL and JCL and these skills landed me my first real job*.
I spent the next seven years writing code for the mainframe and learning to work with DB2 databases. I was fortunate to learn from a number of extremely talented programmers and DBAs during that time. I got my first exposure to internals as well, a love that has stuck with me to this day.
In 2007, a position opened on the SQL Server DBA team at my company and I made the switch. Once again, I was fortunate to work with a number of experienced and talented people who took the time to teach me what they knew.
About that time, I started attending the local PASS user group and began to meet others who were as passionate about databases as I was. I went to my first Summit in 2009 and this year will be my fifth. I am continually amazed at the willingness of PASS members to share their experience and knowledge. I took over the Chicago SQL Server User Group (b|t) last July with Aaron Lowe (b|t), and it has been great. I’ve presented at three user group meetings and two SQL Saturdays in the past year. Meeting members of the local group and getting the chance to work with other chapter leaders and mentors has expanded my horizons.
In October of last year, I started a new job at a new company. It has been a good experience, and though there have been challenges I am working to view those challenges as opportunities.
Going forward, my plan is for my path to lead me to expanding my knowledge of SQL Server. I want to keep presenting to share what I know with others. The path I’m on has given me an opportunity to grow personally, professionally and intellectually, and I want to provide those things to others.
* A job where I wasn’t paid hourly
I have been working as a SQL Server DBA for about six years and my interests tend toward internals. However, I’ve been co-president of the Chicago SQL Server User Group since July of last year and in that time I’ve met a number of people who have been interested in working as a DBA but don’t know where to get started. This has inspired a series of posts covering an introduction to SQL Server. Topics covered will include:
- An overview of relational databases and SQL Server
- Downloading and installing SQL Server
- Creating a database
- Creating a table
- Creating an index
- Methods for loading test data
- SQL Server security
- Database backup and restore
- SQL Agent jobs
I am planning on posting these topics once a week over the next few months. If you have questions about a post or are interested in seeing other topics covered, let me know in the comments.
Yesterday was SQL Saturday Chicago, and it wrapped up a week where I presented four times in seven days. Things started out with my presentation at SQL Saturday Madison last Saturday. You can read my post about that here.
The April meeting of the Chicago SQL Server User Group was Thursday and I presented on Tools to Make Make Multi-object Administration Easier. About 30 people turned out and I think it went pretty well. Each time I present, I get more comfortable using ZoomIt and my presentation remote. Thanks to everyone who came out for the meeting, especially to those who provided feedback.
The speaker dinner was Friday night at La Hacienda in Addison. The food was good and the company was better. I met Mark Vaillancourt (b|t) and Hope Foley (b|t) for the first time and was able to catch up with other members of SQLFamily.
I don’t know if it was pre-presenting jitters, but I had trouble sleeping and spent a few early-morning hours tweaking my demos and learning how to use a VMWare snapshot. This is the first presentation I’ve used a VM and I’ve realized my Windows admin skills are lacking. I plan on getting much practice in the coming months.
Things were well under way when I made to DeVry at about 8:15 a.m. After talking to volunteers Bill Lescher (t) and Bob Pusateri (b|t), I grabbed some grub and made my way up to the speaker’s room, joining Aaron Lowe (b|t), Ted Krueger (b|t), David Klee (b|t) and Erin Stellato (b|t). It was my first time in a speaker room and it was great being there with such a distinguished group.
I made my way down to my room as Ed Leighton-Dick was finishing up his presentation on Service Broker and was able to set up. I presented to a group of seven, I am hoping because I was presenting at the same time as Erin Stellato and David Klee. There were some good questions and I am glad to have another presentation under my belt. You can find the slides and scripts from my presentation here.
After lunch, I joined Ted Krueger and Ross LoForte to provide a group of DeVry students an introduction to SQL Server. Ted gave an overview of SQL Server, Ross got into more detail about the various SQL Server components and I finished up with how a database works. I am happy to have had a chance to give back to DeVry, as they’ve generously donated space for SQL Saturday the last three years.
I closed out the day with Erin Stellato’s presentation on Demystifying Database Statistics. I was my second internals presentation of the week, and it reminded me what I love about SQL Server most and has inspired to dedicate more time to studying.