I’ve been victimized!!!
OK, the biggest challenge I’ve ever encountered was part of a job move a little less than two years ago. I was hired into a developer position with a large company with the hopes my skills would add to a team leading the core functionality of the companies pricing systems. Anytime you come into a new position no matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are it is always a tough situation. First you have to fit in the team and second you have to slam your abilities into foreign systems. It’s a challenge in itself!
So the first week or two there was a process that extracted large amounts of data from a DB2 database server in order to complete nightly pricing jobs. The task took well over an hour from memory and was really horrid. The team knew and welcomed my SQL knowledge in hopes it would benefit to some of these long running tasks. Now I don’t think my SQL skills are that good for one. If anything there is much room for improvement. If you as a developer using SQL and think you don’t have room for improvement I hope you never work with me. There is always room for improvement! So the lead developer over me gave me the statement that was being run to bring in the data for manipulation and I worked on that statement for hours without any improvement. Honestly I was questioning my abilities at this point and that is after years of experience. Being the first weeks in the position and a move from a company I was with for over 12 years, it really brought me down. In my depression I sucked up what was left of my pride and asked a friend that is now probably my closest friend for help. See this friend is probably the best SQL developer I know. Lucky me I know him 😉
Literally in a matter of minutes he sent me back a revised statement that when tested ran in about a minute and a half. Yes it was that much of an improvement. That statement is why I use derived tables so much these days.
So why was this to me such a large challenge? It was because I had to overcome my pride of being a developer and ability to overcome hard situations on my own. I was always the one helping others on forums and the people around me. This was truly the first time I had no choice but to turn to others for help. Now I realize how immature I was in my career at that point because we should always turn to our peers for help. Even if it works we should turn to them for review. There is always someone out there with a different view and you must realize quickly in this field and in your career that those differences of opinions on how to do things is what makes our systems great.
So the next time you think your code or server is as good as it can get, think about asking a friend or co-worker how they think it is. You may just improve the system while improving yourself as a person.
Speaking of which, I bet this guy chrissie1 has many challenges to write about 😉