Category Archives: Personal Development

Aside

The 2013 SQLPass Summit is being held in Charlotte, NC next week and I’m excited to say that I will be there. The SQLPass Summit is an annual SQL Server geek-fest of learning that attracts over 4000 SQL Server professionals. … Continue reading

What #SQLFamily means to me

I have a brilliant story I would like to share with you. Go ahead, grab a seat.

Two very insightful database professionals, Thomas LaRock ( Blog | Twitter ) and Karen Lopez ( Blog | Twitter ) started the #SQLFamily meme on Twitter and Tom made #SQLFamily the subject of the most recent “Meme Monday” series. The SQL Server Team, moved by the outpouring of support for and by the community, has decided to contribute and keep the meme alive ’til the end of December. In order to keep with the theme of giving and sharing, they have pledged to donate $50 for each of 400 #SQLFamily stories that are submitted. This money is being donated to an extremely worthy cause – The Pragmatic Works Foundation, which is a non-profit that provides free technical training to veterans, the jobless, and underemployed. This is an awesome gift for the Foundation and for the people that are assisted by it. Thank you very much to the SQL Server Team.

On to my part in this story.

I took over the SQL Server administration duties at a previous company when the active DBA relocated (I’m looking at you, Brent !! ( Blog | Twitter )). When he left, I asked him where I could get some training and assistance for some of the SQL issues that I would encounter and he turned me on to SQL Saturday and Twitter.

I am not alone

I had been using Twitter infrequently at the time and only to follow certain people or companies that I thought were interesting. I started interacting more on Twitter and attending SQL Saturdays. I met some great #SQLPeople and soon realised that I was not alone – We all loved working with the data and databases, nobody knew everything, we all wanted to share something and we could all learn from each other.

It was when I went to Orlando SQL Saturday #49 that I realised that this was more than just a community of people who work near, on, with and, sometimes, under the same software. This was a family of people who cared about each other on a much deeper level.

I, personally, had welcomed 25+ “strangers” to my home for the first ever SQLBBQ before the SQLCruise in August 2010 and loved every minute of it. A few weeks later, my wife and I suffered the loss of a pregnancy in it’s 10th week. Here is the blog post about that. The outpouring of support from the SQL community was amazing !! We received messages of support and prayer from people across the globe. Most of whom we had never met. But that didn’t detract from the overwhelming feeling of love that we felt. You see, I have very little “real” family here in the US. I came over from South Africa in 2001 and my immediate family (parents and siblings) are still over there. My wife’s family is awesome and they help as much as they can. I’m extremely thankful that there is a huge multi-thousand strong SQLFamily to help each other through anything that is going on. During that SQL Saturday in Orlando, I was honoured to meet many people, like Mike Walsh ( Blog | Twitter ), that had been so supportive during that trying time.

Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending – I am ecstatic to be able to announce that my wife & I are expecting again. She is 30 weeks along now and we are preparing to welcome a new baby girl into our home on or about the 4th March.

I am extremely grateful to be a part of such a great community that is so caring. I am also happy that we can contribute to bringing new members into the fold through the great work of such places as The Pragmatic Works Foundation & the support of the SQL Server Team.

Disclaimer: I do work for Pragmatic Works Consulting but still would think that the Foundation is doing excellent work even if I didn’t.

UNIQUE and NOT NULL !!!

Welcome to my new blog.

I have decided to start with an entirely fresh setup. This applies not only to my blog, but to a whole slew of areas of my life.

First, I have decided to take a new direction in my professional life. For 20 years or so, I have been mainly focused on the systems administration area of IT. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do – I get to play on computers all day AND they pay me for it !!! I’ve had the opportunity to work on some of the biggest and most powerful machines around (Control Data mainframes, Cray supercomputers and Silicon Graphics graphical workstations). I’ve had the privilege of being asked work on some high profile and mission critical systems. I’ve also seen many, many changes happen in the industry. I can remember when 286 & 386 machines were “Da BOMB”. One project I worked on deployed top-of-the-line $20,000 Pentium Pro servers and now those same machines can’t even match the CPU power of my iPhone. One thing I’ve learned through all these years is that IT is all about change. Doing things faster, cheaper and, preferably, automatically. That’s the name of the game. Where are we headed next ? Data & analysing data. That’s where I believe it’s going.

More & more emphasis is being placed on Analytics and Business Intelligence. For the past 3 years or so, I’ve been able to focus on being the company’s primary production infrastructure SQL DBA. I’ve attended training classes & workshops. I’ve traveled all over Florida to network at various SQL Saturdays. I’m extremely involved in the local PASS chapter. Why have I immersed myself in all this database-y goodness. Because I can get a better job & further my career through it. I will, in the next week, be moving to a great company – Pragmatic Works. I will be performing database performance tuning and optimising, etc duties while branching out into the new world of BI. I will take my wealth of systems administration experience & pair it with the SQL & BI knowledge so that I can really be productive.

Second, In order to facilitate this career advancement, the family will be moving to Jacksonville. Initially, I will be staying in South Florida to blow up a few bridges wrap up a few commitments that I have. We’re looking to make the big move north sometime in June ’11.

I will be sharing further changes that are on the horizon, but that will have to wait for another post at another time. This is only the first of many posts about various things – Life, SQL & everything.

Please stay tuned. This show is only going to get better …