Welcome to this semester’s Professional Development week at SQL University. This week long course will dive deep into professional development in order to better build ourselves for the careers we are already far into building. This week is being taught by Andy Leonard (Twitter | Blog) and Ted Krueger (Twitter | Blog). Andy is well known for bringing the community together and having the ability to mentor from the individual level to large groups of the community with developing skills to build their careers. This week will be a collection of both author’s experiences and suggestions that they have built in our own careers over this past decade. When the week comes to a close, students will take away notes that will assist them with an already well rounded career and start polishing their professional career and start developing it even further.

Ted’s opening to professional development

We all have to start somewhere. With some of us, this path or staircase that leads to where it is we want to end up are clear and entails precise decision making processes. However, with many of us the steps we take are not so clear. This requires us to make our professional development path completely dynamic and ever changing. SQL Server and the Database Professional role is exactly one of the paths that typically do not start in our youth. Seldom is there a database person that dreamt of rebuilding indexes in their youth. Sure, dreams of 5% index fragmentation fill our nights now as we’ve grown to into our paths, but this isn’t the Fireman, Senator or Singers career path. If you ask many doctors, they knew they wanted to save people from the start. Ask a DBA when those dreams start and things either evolved later in life or were completely accidental.

So how do we get started or pursue the higher advanced respect that the likes of a Jonathan Kehayias (Twitter | Blog) or Andy Leonard retain by the vast majority of the SQL Community? How do we even know we want to strive to be a database professional? Most of all how do we truly become advanced beyond our standings and know we still has further to go?
This week we will go over these questions. We will start by asking ourselves if we want this. Along with retaining what we have in a professional standing and not inadvertently tarnishing the hard work we put into our paths. This week and most of all, Andy and I will give you a thought and a new set of points that you will take away and start on building your professional self no matter where you are in developing it.

Taking a look into Professional Development

Professional Development is a never ending process. There is not an ultimate goal that you can achieve other than a new step to add to the existing steps. Things change in SQL Server and change often as does a career based around this database management product. Professional Development encompasses the very will to wanting to keep up with the pace of SQL Server. This process can be painful, rob you of time with other things you love and hold dear and be downright painful. You have to sincerely want to keep putting your energy into becoming better and keeping pace with SQL Server.

A dear friend once said, “When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s eve, as an SQL Server data professional, you not only think of new year’s resolutions. You also think, geez, another SQL Server version is coming soon”
This quote is as close to the truth with being a database professional as it can get. In fact, most Information Technology fields can relate to this. Yearly we are challenged with our careers. In recent times this is even more part of a task for developing ourselves. The jobs that sit stagnant in a corner are quickly disappearing. We are made into more robust professionals with broader skills as ever before.

With all of this change that constantly is coming to our desk; how then do we keep up to date? Or possibly the most important question; how do we make sure we are not left behind.

SQL Server has the community. This is the most valued resource we can go to in order to answer the questions above. SQL University is striving to assist in the answers with semesters that provide valued resources and information to you. The community almost in a way makes professional development easy. There is no doubt that other communities exist. Possibly doing just what we are with SQL University. But are they doing it as good?

We have resources like no other for professional development.

  • MCM Videos – you may not want the MCM but the information here is unbelievable
  • Twitter – The community embraced twitter as a professional development resource
  • Forums and endless blog resources – Blogs are everywhere but when reading SQL Server community blogs, you quickly see we draw off each other to only make content better.

Promoting yourself and Professional Development

Finally, promoting yourself is critical in your development. This will be shown in a class this week focused on maintaining your appearance professionally. Helping others is a valued piece in your professional development. Why is helping others with their development going to help mine, you might ask. When you help, and you help right, people learn to start trusting you as a valued resource and you develop along that path. Not only at this point are you valued as such, you gain building your own skills. You become an MVP. You are nominated for the DBA of the Year awards. You become the blogger or DBA of the week. You are sought out by the community for your experience and knowledge.

You are then shown validation for you own development and skills. A thank you, an award, a small token of appreciation, a new job or promotion…whatever form this may be, it will undoubtedly develop and advance you professionally.

Rounding the corner

In the end, you will cherish your journey and have grown a vast amount of joy and rewards from it. Rewards that is not materialistic and materialistic alike.
Andy and I are honored to share this week with you and helping take the next steps in all of our professional development. We thank you for the opportunity and greatly enjoy always putting our energy into the community.