Reflections on the 7th SQL Saturday in Orlando, FL


Have you ever sat down to think about what you are doing in your career and whether what you currently do was all there was?  Do you wonder what you will be doing a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now?  With the rate of technology change, those are unbelievably difficult questions.  But if these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, you need to take time to answer them.  I urge those of you in Florida and even beyond to seek out the next time Andy Warren might be in your area doing his professional development presentation at a SQL Saturday or other technology conference.  He just did one this past Saturday at the Orlando SQL Saturday event and while the time was awful (7:30 on a Saturday morning), his presentation was insightful.

I will not steal his thunder, but I will say that the one thing that he makes a strong argument for is that professionals don’t just happen.  Becoming a professional in any area takes a lot of time and effort.  I once heard a quote, and I don’t know who originally said it, that to be a true expert in any field of endeavor requires a minimum of 10,000 hours.  It really does not matter if you want to be the best DBA, the best .NET developer, the best network engineer, or the best violinist or pianist, the amount of effort remains the same.  Even if you want to learn how to write better or be a better presenter, you don’t get there with a simple class and a few practice runs or half a dozen blogs.  (I’m just thinking that this is only my 250th blog post and if each one takes 2 hours to write and publish and if it took me two and a half years to get to this point, then I’m going to need about another hundred years to get it right.)

Andy also talked about the need to invest in yourself monetarily to prepare for your future.  Don’t rely solely on your company to invest in you.  After all, they will only invest in you to the extent that the investment will pay off for them and their goals.  If these are not perfectly aligned with your goals, you need to consider funding your own future.  In fact, Andy considers the need to invest not only time as mentioned in the previous paragraph but money as mentioned here to insure that you can grow into the job that you want ten years from now, even if that job doesn’t exist today.

BTW, if you want to know more about Andy, visit his blog at: http://sqlandy.com or http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/andy_warren/.

Now that the Orlando SQL Saturday is over, I’m finishing my preparation for the PASS Summit in October in Charlotte, North Carolina.  This will be my second time at the PASS Summit.  I was at the one last year in Seattle.  It was a blast.  All I can say is that if you take working in SQL seriously, this is one conference that is worth attending.  If you cannot afford the full price of the conference, watch for the early bird pricing for next year’s conference probably coming out in late October or November.  Unfortunately, for those of us from the east coast, it will probably be back on the west coast next year, in Seattle.

Then in November I’ll be speaking at the Tampa BI conference on November 9th. For more information, check the website at: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/248/eventhome.aspx, especially check out the new location so you don’t end up at the wrong place.  For those of you in Central Florida, Tampa is only a little over an hour away.

After Tampa, I plan to spend some well deserved time to kick back and relax.  It has been quite a difficult year personally and I am only now crawling out from under it all.  Recently a few very good things have been going on in my personal life and I’m looking forward to a much better holiday season.  I hope to catch up with some old friends and spend some quality time with some new friends, especially one.  (After all, life is not just about SQL.  I know…Blasphemy!)  Therefore, I also plan to spend more time diving deeper into DQS (Data Quality Services) and MDS (Master Data Services) once I get past these SQL events.  These tools are absolutely essential to the BI developer to make sure that the source data used for analysis has been scrubbed.  In the meantime, I will fall back on some Excel BI related topics for this blog that I started, but did not get to finish earlier this year due to other circumstances.

C’ya next time.

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