Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A little bit more on how I became a...

My last article was a post for Kevin Hills brilliant collection "How I Became A" where data professionals share their experiences working in the world of SQL Server. I highly recommend having a browse, there are some great reads in there and advice too. Without a doubt you should get your own story on there, we all have a very different journey in one way or another and different experiences mean different viewpoints that can certainly help others - so get writing!

Writing my own post did mean that I spent some time spent reflecting on my early days as an accidental DBA and as a result of the post I received a couple of questions which I'll answer here.

The first was on certification and if I went on any courses and if I found getting certified useful. I didn't go on any courses and my training was done via a couple of books that I purchased and most definitely Books Online. I felt passing the exam was a great achievement sure and because I was just starting out it did definitely add some weight to my CV so it did help but it was the both the first and last SQL exam I took. 

Where it all began, kind of.

I mention this because since the early days my learning has been without examination. I've certainly spent a lot more time studying since using a huge wide range of different methods but never felt I had to have the certificate. However, I do feel we are in the midst of a huge technical shift in both SQL Server and the Data Platform as a whole and I think certification will prove very useful for all levels - interested to hear views on that.

I also got asked to describe the low points of being a DBA. It's safe to say every job has its ups and downs and database administration is no different. The incidents that stick in mind are those that tend to involve long nights, such as lengthy deployments or when disaster has struck! Disaster Recovery is a fundamental activity for any DBA and even though the DR plans are well practiced they're never much fun in reality.

The first major disaster I was involved in struck mid afternoon and took until 4AM the following morning for everything to be operational again. Then I was on the obligatory progress report at 7AM which meant zero sleep that night. It was a low at the time and it certainly wasn't the last late one but actually when everything came back online and the formalities were sorted it was quite a satisfying experience in retrospect.

I've enjoyed looking back at some of my favourite moments and thinking about how much I've enjoyed, no enjoying the journey. Whilst things are changing, undoubtedly, It really is a great time to be working in the Data Platform and I encourage everyone to use posts like Kevin's to share their journey too!

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