Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #97 – Learning Goals

It’s the second Tuesday of the month so it must be T-SQL Tuesday! Time to get our learning on.

TSQL2SDAY-150x150Thank you to Malathi Mahadevan (b|t) for hosting this month’s challenge. Her topic is to set learning goals for the new year with a threefold approach:

  1. What do you want to learn? (Specific skills and talents)
  2. How and when do you want to learn? (Methods of learning and timeline on learning)
  3. How do you plan to improve on what you learned? (Putting it to use at work/blogging/speaking)

At a previous job, we once had a professional development session that talked about a couple of different learning styles – aural, visual, and kinesthetic, although I seem to remember this last one being referred to more as a big picture style. (But you can learn more about these here.) I fall somewhere between the visual and kinesthetic side, although it’s much closer to kinesthetic.

I know there is some debate of these styles, but I think this really accurate in terms of how I learn things. I like being an “active” learner because I feel I learn the best when I can actually put things into action. I do like reading blogs or going to see sessions in person because I learn about the things I should know and get the basic groundwork. But it isn’t until I can put them into a real-world scenario that those concepts truly hit home.

Unfortunately, I can’t just hear something and learn it; I need the visual prompts or some form of interaction to go with it.

My biggest problem is always figuring out ways to apply what I’m learning. One of the things on my long-term wish list is to set up better testing for the various projects that I work on that are specific to me and my work. It is the perfect opportunity for me to set up my own automated testing. There are a lot of great tools out there that will help me with this. My goal for this upcoming year is to find a way I can use those and build them into my daily process.

I’m reluctant to be more specific with my goals than this. On the one hand, figuring out how to automate testing does have a lot of moving parts and it’s not a minor thing to implement properly. There is definitely a learning curve to go with it. But it still feels rather broad, especially since I haven’t figured out all the details yet. However, I don’t want to be more specific with more goals because I often find that as soon as I start down one track, something comes up and I wind up in a different direction. The upside to just learning about what the trends are and new functionalities is that just knowing what’s out there has made a difference. I feel like I’m on the right track with this so I want to commit to continuing down that path over the next year.

There is always something new to learn – even for the things that we think we already know. The key is to being open to it, in all the forms that come your way, and figure out how to make it work for you.

Now go out there and keep learning!

 

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Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #96: Folks Who’ve Made a Difference

It’s another T-SQL Tuesday! Thanks to Ewald Cress (b|t) for this month’s topic. Since our brains are full from PASS Summit, he asked us to give a shout-out to those in the community who have made a meaningful contribution to our life in the world of data. (If you’re looking for more background about T-SQL Tuesday, see Ewald’s invite or tsqltuesday.com.)

The timing for this topic couldn’t be better. It’s the month with Thanksgiving for those of us in the United States so I see this as a way of saying thanks to a few in our community.

I’ve decided to do a T-SQL Tuesday theme. I have done a number of T-SQL Tuesday posts since starting this blog. So I’d like to start by giving a shout out to all those who have hosted the months I was able to get a post together:

  • Michael Swart (b|t – #79 – June 2016)
  • Andy Yun (b|t – #84 – November 2016)
  • Kenneth Fisher (b|t – #85 – December 2016)
  • Kennie Pontoppidan (b|t – #88 – March 2017)
  • Kendra Little (b|t – #93 – August 2017)
  • Rob Sewell (b|t – #94 – September 2017)
  • And now, Ewald Cress (b|t – #96 – November 2017)

I feel the need to give a mention to Brent Ozar (b|t – #86 – January 2017). While I didn’t finish in time so I didn’t officially count as participating, I still posted it later that week so I should include him in this list.

If you look at the names on that list, this is a pretty impressive group of people who have hosted and there are a number of ways that they probably have helped all of us in our careers even if they didn’t host a T-SQL Tuesday. All of these folks are people you want to follow and learn from. And having met several of them in person, they’re just good people on top of it all.

But I feel the need to single a couple of these people out.

First, Michael Swart. His was the first T-SQL Tuesday I participated in. I have to say “Thank You” to the person who had a great topic for my first time participating. It may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it was a starting point for me.

Second, Kendra Little. My entry to her month’s topic is by far my most popular post to date. And I have to admit, I am pretty proud of that post. But I want to give a shout-out to her for a different reason as well. Kendra started a SQLWIT slack channel about 2 years ago. I made the impulsive decision to ask her to add me when I saw her initial tweet about it. Twitter and #sqlfamily are big communities. If you’re someone like me who can’t jump directly in the ocean but has to acclimate herself so slowly to the water that her friend mocks her endlessly about how long it takes for her to go swimming, it was a wonderful way to get to know some of the ladies of #PASSWIT in a smaller and less intimidating fashion. In fact, I believe that this group of women were the first ones I told that I started this blog. It’s not a busy channel but getting to know people on that platform led me to being more comfortable to responding or reaching out on Twitter and in person.

Third, Andy Yun. I pretty much knew that as soon as I wrote about getting out and speaking, I would do it. Andy took his own challenge seriously and followed up with people and encourage us to speak. Because of that, I’m not the only person who took his challenge and spoke over the past year; several other people also who participated also began to speak as well. By volunteering to speak, it led me to getting more involved in my local user group. I’ve also discovered that when you speak once, people want you to speak more. It’s almost overwhelming at times, but incredibly flattering and encouraging. Becoming a speaker in the community is probably one of the biggest things I can do to visibly help my career long term.

So why I’m focusing on the T-SQL Tuesday blog party for these thank yous? This is one of the many ways I can learn how to do my job better. In addition, blogging more has meant putting myself out there more, which is a scary thing. It’s made me more active on Twitter and despite the whole “Twitter being Twitter” thing for better or worse, it’s allowed me to connect to #sqlfamily across the world. Plus, through those three specific examples above, I can name at least one person who I’ve been able to connect with or has somehow supported me in ways that I wouldn’t have expected but also deserve separate shout outs and thank yous on their own. That’s a very special thing on many levels.

We don’t always get the opportunity or forget to thank those who have helped us along the way. And a lot of time, we don’t realize the impact we make on others. So to all those mentioned above and those who’ve been left out – a very sincere Thank you!

 

Posted in SQL Server

Reflecting on my PASS Summit 2017

20171031_140036There seems to be no way for me to write this without sounding trite or like some paid evangelist. It just happens to be that when someone outside the database world asks me how about my PASS Summit experience was, my answer is: It was awesome and I’m looking forward to going back last year.

At last year’s Summit, I spent a lot of time learning about things that I was expecting that I was going to need for an upcoming project. As that project is still upcoming, this year I spent my time going to sessions that would help me with being better with what I’m currently doing, learning about the changes coming with SQL Server 2017, and understanding the development processes that pull everything together in general. I feel like so much of what I had been learning over the past year is suddenly started coming together. Even in the very last session of the very last day, I had concepts clicking in my head that gave me a better understanding of what I’ve been doing and how I can do it even better. I’m looking forward to figuring out how I can use all of his information and work some of these improvements into my day-to-day tasks over the next year.

As great as the sessions were, I have to be honest – the networking aspect of PASS Summit is why I was ridiculously excited to come back this year. And I mean, ridiculously excited. There were so many people I met last year that I was looking forward to seeing again. And there were people I met online that I got to meet and hang out with in real life. Even better, I got to meet a lot of new and awesome people I didn’t know I need to know before going. I wasn’t able to meet everyone I wanted to but I’m so glad I got to meet those I did. Of course, I missed the people I connected with last year who couldn’t make it back this year. I didn’t have the best summer camp experiences but I imagine that this is how those who did felt about their camps and why they were always excited to go back so they could catch up with everyone again.

In so many ways, I feel like attending last year’s Summit inspired me to get more involved over the last year – whether it was directly from the people I met or just seeing first hand how passionate everyone who attends is (or seems to be) about their job and this community. I think by getting more involved myself, it made this year’s experience even better. Hopefully some of you were inspired the same way too.

Thanks so much to all those who were involved in organizing, planning, speaking, sponsoring, volunteering, etc. who made this year such a great success!

Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

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Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #94 – PoSH Goes Dynamic

TSQL2SDAY-150x150It’s another T-SQL Tuesday, folks! Rob Sewell (b|t) is hosting this month’s challenge. (Thanks for hosting, Rob!) The topic is to talk about PowerShell, or PoSH for those in the know. Check out Rob’s post for details about the challenge and T-SQL Tuesday in general.

I am by no means a PowerShell expert. I first started working with PowerShell a couple of years ago when co-workers introduced it as a way to create “installers” to deploy ETL packages to our clients. My understanding was that it was like the command prompt on steroids. You could execute basic commands like you did in a command prompt, but it had the bonus where you could extend its functionality with your own functions or modules.

Continue reading “T-SQL Tuesday #94 – PoSH Goes Dynamic”

Posted in SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #93 – Auditioning for the Job

It’s been a while since I’ve done a T-SQL Tuesday. This month, it’s hosted by Kendra Little (b|t). Her challenge for us to talk about Interviewing Patterns and Anti-Patterns. You can read the full details here.

To be honest, I’ve been involved in a lot more auditions than I have in job interviews. But job interviews and auditions aren’t that different. Interviews are just auditions for the job, right?

Continue reading “T-SQL Tuesday #93 – Auditioning for the Job”

Posted in SQL Server

My First SQL Presentation

I’d like to blame Andy Yun’s (b|tT-SQL Tuesday topic. His challenge was a call for growing new speakers in the community. I can’t blame him though because I chose to participate in that challenge, knowing that I was essentially commit myself to doing this. (It’s just how I work.) And for that, I have to thank Andy for choosing this as his topic.

And now for the story of my first SQL Presentation, in two parts.

Continue reading “My First SQL Presentation”

Posted in SQL Server

SELECT-ing About Your Database

I may be switching up the title, but this is really a Part 4 of my closer look at SELECTs.

(Miss my previous posts about SELECTs? Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3!)

Up to now, I’ve talked about SELECTs for your database tables and objects and they can start to help you understand how you use your data. But now let’s build on the other things you can SELECT from to learn about your database.

Continue reading “SELECT-ing About Your Database”