What fun: it’s my first ever participation in a T-SQL Tuesday. And even on a topic that I feel that I can contribute!
Seriously, both learning and teaching are quite dear to my heart. I am a lover of learning, and am a life-long learner. Others like to characterize themselves as curious or meddlesome or nosy or analytical, but I think that everyone has a want of knowledge. I think of it in this way: if a day passes where I’ve not learned something it’s probably because I’ve died.
Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones, but I do learn a lot of books. Granted, it’s usually nothing for production, but books have always acted to cement a foundation of knowledge on a subject. The background, the history, the theory – these are all great to cover in books because publishers give authors the space to fully explain a topic in depth.
After books, I do learn best by doing something hands on, and this is where books fail, if only because it’s impossible to balance open a book while typing into a computer, amirite? Unfortunately, there aren’t too many situations during the every day that I can utilize the system (production, test or otherwise) to learn by doing. All I mean is that learning by doing can be disruptive to a stable system. Recently I bought SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition and installed it on my personal laptop, which I bring to work almost everyday. It’s what I use when learning by doing. Mostly I look through my blog roll every day and if there are any posts that have examples that interest me, I’ll set them up and run them a few times on my machine. I can do this to my heart’s content until I really understand what is happening and I get the added bonus of not breaking production.
Another good resource that I love is webinars. I will admit that it can be tough to learn anything in real time (especially during the day at work), but webinars help to give me a sense of community. There are some topics that are well suited to webinars more than others, such as professional development. On the other hand, anything technical or requiring scripts can be difficult to follow if a recording isn’t made available afterwards.
Well, I’ve started a blog with a focus on SQL, so that (technically) confirms that I am a teacher. I don’t feel like a teacher, at least not in the SQL Server arena. But you may notice that many of my posts aren’t technical in nature. If I have to solve a problem and have time to document what I’ve done, I’ll turn that into a blog post, but many of my posts are simply comparisons to other parts of my life’s experience. Yesterday I wrote about how we could apply a cardinal rule of first response to troubleshooting SQL Server. The week before that I expounded upon our community’s facination with our humble beginnings. I know that I can’t compete in the technical arena, but I enjoy writing and finding these comparisons and so it’s something that I’m happy to share with others.
I know that I would like to expand my experience. I don’t know when I’ll be ready to move forward with any technical issues, but I know that I’d like to add presentations to my repertoire. Speaking is something that I’ve got a lot of experience and enjoy doing. I’ve even got a dream that some point in the future, I’ll be going to the PASS Summit NOT on my own dime. But I also realize that I’ve got a ways to go before that dream can be achieved.