It may be true that you are one of a kind, a true techie with specialized skills that are hard to find and hire for. One thing that is more true is that customer service is still very much a big part of your job. Which equates to the fact that you need to start working better with your peers internally and your clients on the external side of things.
Technology comes and goes. I believe it was Steve Jobs that said something to the effect of “we are all layers of this large sedimentary rock.” Gordon Moore predicted that computing power would double every 18 months and in a world where we have reached some of the physical limits of CPU clock speeds, that concept is no longer as applicable. If CPU fabricators such as Intel and AMD had seen this as the absolute truth in CPU development, then we may not have gotten the wonderful multi-core chips we have today. And to that effect, a legend’s theory in the computing world has been superseded by a new technological advancement so what about you and I? One of the most important parts of our career is our own personal brands.
Our brand drives people to approach us to solve problems. It drives people to want to connect with us and include us on a personal and professional level. It makes us stand out among our peers and it makes us one of those distinguished people in an organization that everyone has something good to talk about. That brand, is not just about what you know, but also about how to treat others. Your customer service is what makes your brand shine. Sure, you could be a brilliant DBA, Sys Admin, or whatever else you aspire to be (note DBAs are awesome!). However, if people don’t like your attitude and how you deal with them on a personal level, they will be reluctant to reach out to you for more work. They will be reluctant to reach out to your boss with great feedback. It’s just the nature of how we are as humans. When was the last time you had a terrible experience at a store or a restaurant and you said to yourself “I’m definitely going back there, I love having a poor experience it makes my day”? The answer is probably never. In reality, this maybe how your colleagues view you at work.
I was attending Microsoft’s on-boarding training last week and one of the managers there mentioned that a lot of IT geeky guys and gals don’t like to attend meetings, and deal with people etc. This was her opinion based on her 20 year career in IT, and even as a technical person who has successfully found her way into great leadership roles. I respected her outlook, and I gave her a little bit of my own outlook based on my experience which I will share with you.
First let me mention what I discussed with my colleague. Personally, I don’t mind attending meetings to much, I’m quite a social butterfly actually (outgoing, extraverted, “i” in the DiSC assessment, etc). So I’m not the stereotypical IT guy that is depicted in movies or that people have grown accustomed to describing to their therapist when talking about people that make them feel bad at work. Just a side note, I’m totally kidding with these sterotypes, I’ve loved the people I’ve worked with in IT and I don’t think I would pick any other field. Anyway, back on topic, I don’t like attending meetings with some non-technical folks for a variety of reasons that I will list below:
Now that I’ve finally started a new job (explains why I haven’t blogged for a while) I can discuss my interview experience over the last two years starting in the Summer of 2012. I have left out the company names out purposely because this is not a post to damage any reputations or for me to express my bitterness in. Rather, this post is to help future job seekers in getting a great position and not falling into a job that they could potentially hate. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that during my own interviewing journey I was also a hiring manager doing interviews to fill a position that reported directly to me. So I will be giving my advice based on both the perspective of a job seeker and hiring manager. The stories are roughly divided up by paragraph and I’ve provided a small summary of points below the stories in case you just want to skip ahead to the advice and not bother with my stories. I won’t be hurt or upset I promise 🙂
Being in Philadelphia this past weekend was fantastic! I got to meet a lot of old friends, spend time with family, and make new friends in the SQL world. This SQL Saturday was especially important for me since I lived in the Philly area for almost 10 years. I got to reconnect with my colleagues from Johnson Matthey out in the Wayne PA area and pass by my old desk where it all started. It is especially hard to get started this morning since I really do miss the great experience I had around this SQL Saturday.
Less than a week left and I’m extremely excited about SQL Saturday in Philly on June 7th, 2014 and the Precon the day before (I signed up for Allan Hirt’s). I lived in Philadelphia for about 10 years during which I went to college, had my first two full-time jobs, and my first to kids were born in that area. This SQL Saturday is going to be a blast from the past for me. The actual event takes place in Malvern PA which is off of 202 in the Northwestern Region of the Philadelphia suburbs. It is part of the “mainline” and close to Valley Forge, King of Prussia and other historic/tourist attractions. I used to work in the Mainline area for Johnson Matthey in Wayne (and part time in Malvern) so I’m very excited about taking this trip back to visit friends and family.
For those of you that don’t know about SQL Saturday it is a fantastic event. Here are some of the reasons I’ve encouraged people to attend SQL Saturday events:
I hope you’re hungry for another SQL Snack! In fact, this will be one of a series of snacks (dare I call it a SQL Snack pack?). Table partitioning is a fantastic feature that is easy to learn and can significantly improve your OLTP and Data-warehouse environments. It can be a little intimidating because it is tricky to get started with, but once you get the basics down you’ll realize it’s pretty straight forward and a very useful feature to have. I will be providing the code and outline for each of the SQL Snacks related to table partitioning so that you have a chance to practice on your own. Happy partitioning!
Thank you for all my readers that have supported me and allowed me to be recognized in this way. I hope that the quality of my work continues to grow and I hope that I can meet your educational needs as much as I can. I have been blessed to have great teachers and mentors, and I only hope that I can igive back a fraction of that to the Database community.
Once again it is an honor to attend such a great event and meet up with other like minded geeks. It’s an honor to be selected to speak and a privilege to deliver a session without any problems. I enjoy writing about my experience to encourage others to attend, and for those that could not attend, maybe they will get some insight as to what can be learned from such events. I wrote about my experiences at the DC SQL Saturday late 2013.
This is a special edition for SQL Snacks. It is one (of many hopefully) SQL Snacks that has been recorded with the intention of fulfilling a request by a SQL community member looking to learn more about SQL Server. It is straight forward, very basic, beginner level information about Joins with a few examples.
SQL Saturday has been a fantastic experience for me here in the DC area (I blogged about it here) and I hope for the same thing in Richmond. This is my first time to attend a SQL Saturday in a city outside my area of residency, and I will also be speaking there. This is a bit of a new journey and one that I think I will enjoy.
This is a new experience and one that I have been excited about since speaking with Wayne Sheffield about it at the DC SQL Saturday in December 2013. I have him to thank for encouraging me to spread my wings and I hope for a smooth ride upward from here. That is the embodiment of the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) after all; to establish life long learning and grow the community by giving back. I think I could probably do a commercial for them or be a PASS spokesperson. Seriously though, I’ve learned so many things that have helped my career for free or a very low cost.
For this SQL Saturday, I’m also planning to attend the PreCon event scheduled for the day before. There is still time to register by going to the main site for the event here. I’ve selected to go to session by Robert Davis for my PreCon and it was a hard choice because the “Murder Thy Wrote” PreCon was very appealing as well and I hope to catch that one at the next SQL Saturday I attend.
Instant File Initialization (IFI) is an interesting topic with regards to how SQL Server works with storage. It is an easy feature to turn on and can improve the performance of your server; specifically with creation and growth of data files including TempDB rebuilds with SQL Server restarts. There is a slight security risk where a professional data thief could potentially recover bits of data that have not been over written since IFI was turned on, but the chances of that happening are slim. Plus, if they have physical access to the hard drives on your server, you will have bigger problems to fix.
So without further ado here is the next delicious SQL Snack for Instant File Initialization:
There are many features/options we sometimes overlook and then wonder later what went wrong. The COPY_ONLY option with backups is one that I felt is important to highlight to SQL Server DBAs. This backup is independent backup that is not part of the regular cycled backups that you perform; hint if you’re not performing regular backups please get up and schedule them NOW! Sorry for yelling 🙂
Using this option when doing backups allows you to take backups that do not interfere with your regularly scheduled backups in order to move them off to a QA, Development, or Staging area where you can test against that database or fix bugs without interrupting your production environment. Many times, I have seen that off-cycle backups are taken which become part of the backup set and then are deleted. This can cause negative consequences when doing restores as I will demonstrate in today’s SQL Snack:
Code is provided below if you would like to test it yourself. Please watch the video in order to understand how to test this yourself:
In December 2013 I presented at a SQL Saturday event in Washington DC. My presentation was about Backup and Recovery Fundamentals which I had done before for the PASS DBA Fundamentals Virtual Chapter. This time around, I decided to add a Tail Log (Active Log) Backup and Recovery demo to enhance my Presentation. The presentation went quite well, and so I’ve decided to put a short video together to demonstrate how to do a Tail Log Backup and Recovery.
***Make sure you change the backup, database, and log file paths to match your configuration***
To snack lovers every where now you can consume SQL Learning the same way, in Snack Size! Introducing the new way to snack with 0 calories intake, a simple solution to your learning cravings and available 24/7 from the click of a button!
Late last year I introduced my YouTube Channel with a short video on Hyper-V followed by a 10 hour series of teaching SQL Server in Arabic. This year, I hope to continue with those projects and in addition to that add to my newest delicious invention, the SQL Snack. The idea of this video series is to provide short videos to teach SQL Server content; and other technologies relevant to SQL Professionals on a daily basis. This allows for people to grab a snack and enjoy a short learning experience instead of having to sit down for a long drawn out lecture. Real snack is optional and not provided by me… sorry!
Below is the SQLSnacks Playlist you can also access it at the top menu by hovering over “Videos” and selecting it.
Please enjoy and please feel free to suggest topics you would like to see in the comments and I will try to do my best to accommodate your requests.
Today I will be reviewing the product ApexSQL Log which is a tool designed for Transaction Log discovery and recovery.
The team at ApexSQL were very friendly and offered me lots of support and help in using the product. I opted to do everything myself just to see how easy it is to learn and use the product. It took me about 30 minutes to get fully acquainted with it; although I’m not an expert now I know my way around the product very well. It’s always great to have a product with an easy to use interface that does not have a steep learning curve.
الزملاء الأعزاء من العالم!
السلام عليكم و رحمه الله و بركاته
أقدم لكم دورة تمهيدية شاملة في SQL Server 2012. وتقدم هذه الدورة التدريبية باللغة العربية، وتهدف إلى المساعدة فى التقديم للمفاهيم الأساسية للمهنيين المتخصصين فى قواعد البيانات عامه وبخاصه SQL Server في محاولة متواضعه منى لنشر هذه المعرفة والعلم بين اخوانى الناطقين باللغه العربية.
تهدف هذة الدورة التدريبية الى تلبيه فضول واثاره اهتمام المتخصصين فى مجال SQL Server وعلى وجه الخصوص DBAs و كذلك Developers كما ان هذة الدورة مبسطه الشرح خاصة فى الدروس الاولى لكى يسهل على المبتدئين فى مجال SQL Server متابعتها واضعا فى اعتبارى انه لا يوجد الا القليل من المواد فى هذا المجال باللغة العربية. فقررت بعون الله وتوفيقه ان ايسر هذا العلم بين ايديكم لعل الله ينفع به احد من اخوانى و اخواتى فى اي مكان فى العالم. اسال الله عز وجل ان تنال هذه الدروس اعجاب الجميع و خاصه المهتمين بمجال SQL Server ارجو من جميع الأخوة والأخوات ان يذكرونى فى صالح دعائهم
و لاتترددوا فى مراسلتى و ابداء ارائكم و مقترحاتكم البناءة لتطوير هذا العمل الخيرى باءذن الله تعالى
ديسمبر2013 فى واشنطن- الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
Dear Colleagues of the Database World!
I present to you a comprehensive introductory course in SQL Server
2012. This course is presented in the Arabic language, and is
intended to introduce core concepts to Database Professionals that are
trying to acquire knowledge in SQL Server. The course is geared
towards those that aspire to become DBAs, Developers, or those just
interesting in learning the basics of SQL Server. Since there is very
little material in Arabic, I decided to try to use my skills to bridge
the knowledge gap for my SQL Family that communicates in Arabic. I
hope you enjoy the classes and please feel free to share and leave
Thank you and good luck future SQL Server Professionals world wide!
Special thanks to my friends Mohamed Elsharkawy, Jihad Abouhatab and my brother Islam El-Ghazali for their help and support with this production.
That’s right, it’s time to take this blog up a notch! Last week I posted a video about using Hyper-V on Windows 8 to design your own SQL Lab. I’m starting to like the whole concept of adding video to my blog. If a picture is worth 1000 words so a video at 30fps should be about 30,000 words per second. Well I guess you can’t do the math like that but it was worth a try! Now you don’t have to just read my posts anymore, you can enjoy the sound of my voice speaking geek at you while clicking all over the screen to show you how things are done.
So how do I get to this YouTube channel you speak of? Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/TheSQLPro or you can just click on the top navigation menu where it says “Video.”
There isn’t much up on the channel yet but later this month I will be releasing a very special video series. No hints, that’s all I’m saying. This is just the start with hopefully a lot more quality content to come in 2014.
A huge thanks to all my blog readers/supports/subscribers for their support and feedback over the last 18 months. This is blog post #60 and I just wanted to say thanks for being the driving force that keeps me blogging!