Hope Foley's Blog

Another day in the life of a SQL Server DBA

SQLFamily, I Have An Idea and I Need Your Help April 22, 2016

Filed under: SQLSaturday — hopefoley @ 12:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

Have you ever had an idea for something and it completely haunts you? Something that pops in your brain all the time and keeps you up at night? Something where it feels like the universe NEEDS you to do it? I have had this idea brewing for a long time and I now have some key pieces in place to finally get it out there so it can stop haunting me.

***

First a little history to understand a portion of the inspiration behind this. Back in middle school and early high school, I hung out with a group who got into a LOT of trouble. There are some situations I look back on where my future was sitting on the edge of a knife. If I had zigged many days, instead of zagging, my life could be completely different. I have a lot of friends who didn’t finish high school and went down paths that are hard to reverse, living paycheck to paycheck. My home town of Anderson, IN and hell my family is completely full of people I’d like to help get on a different path.

1990CokeLobby

If you can imagine, this was an era of questionable judgement.  Photo isn’t the best quality but gets across the point. 🙂

 

So with those folks in the back of my mind, I also see the greatness of the SQL community and the WEALTH of resources out there for free. I also hear over and over that we don’t have enough people to fill these data related jobs. I know that recruiters hit me up all the time. So if I can reach someone out there who is ready to go down a different path and is motivated to put in the work, we can change some lives!

 

 ***

Now SQLSaturdays are already reaching people and changing lives. They changed my life, without a doubt. But I know I have met beginners at those who are intimidated and scared when they attend. Can you imagine going into a SQL internals class when you are brand new to the scene? Hell they may give up right then and say screw it, this stuff is way over my head. So at SQLSaturday Indy I’m going to setup a total beginner track. I’ll be giving the first session of the day where it will be an easy intro into the different data related career paths you can take. Then the rest of the sessions in that track will dig a bit deeper into each one. These sessions will explain high level concepts and the kinds of work you would be doing. And of course, giving details of where they can find more information after they figure out which avenue intrigues them.

 ***

This is where I need your help SQLFamily! I need people to assist with these area focused sessions. Will need 5-6 sessions to fill out the rest of the track. These are the ones I’m thinking now but am open to suggestion (beggers can’t be choosers).

  1. Database Admin
  2. Database Development
  3. Business Intelligence
  4. Big Data/Analytics
  5. Other??

I also want to start a way to help keep in touch and connect with these people as they go out into the world after SQLSaturday Indy. Seeing how well Twitter and some hashtags work, I’m starting another one called #SQLStarter. We can use it to help answer questions, and point these beginners to new resources. I also would like to start making recruiters aware of it as well so they can post jobs appropriate for beginners.

 ***

So there…the idea is out there and hopefully the universe will stop haunting me to do this. Hoping this is the spark and the beginning of something spreads to other SQLSaturdays/User Groups/whatever. And as kumbaya froo froo as it sounds, feels great to put some good out into the world!

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7 Responses to “SQLFamily, I Have An Idea and I Need Your Help”

  1. Hope,

    great idea. A couple of months ago I did a 101 level class on optimizations for our local PASS chapter. I saw the sometimes blank looks while we had the many GREAT speakers show us how to do things. But then it struck me, if it is great for me with 20+ years experience with SQL, how would I have felt if that is how I first met SQL? Intimidated and scared out of my mind most likely.

    In the last 15 months I have also thought SQL as part of my company’s recent college graduate training program. 4 weeks of intense training in SQL, mostly programming, but also basic index strategies etc. It’s enough to get them started, if they have the aptitude it gets them down the right track. Two of them are now working as junior DBAs on teams with strong senior DBAs, 1 is the sole DBA for his team (with me and a couple of other senior DBAs available to help him as needed). The rest are either SQL programmers or .NET programmers.

    Even with graduating 20 people in the program over the last 15 months (granted, some are no longer with us for various reasons), we still have plenty of unfilled junior level SQL and .NET programmer positions.

    So yes, this is needed. While I can’t make it to Indy, it is something I think we need to work on for SQL Saturdays. Beginners track. Keep it simple.

  2. I love this Hope. I was someone who didn’t make the greatest decisions earlier in life. I had a couple “close calls” and some great mentors in my life that scared me straight, so I started changing my life. Through many years of hard work that followed, and some good luck, I was able to build my IT career. I can’t tell you how much I love this idea and would be honored to be a part of this with you. Please keep me in mind as someone to help you with a track or in any other way that you need. Looks like I have a new hashtag to fill with articles that I come across. 🙂

  3. Chris Hyde Says:

    Great idea, Hope! We’ve been thinking along the same lines for SQL Saturday Albuquerque next year. We’re struggling with what to name the track; “Absolute Beginners” is the best we’ve come up with so far.

    As far as your sessions go, there would be an awful lot to cover in a single BI session. Perhaps breaking that out into an Intro to SSRS session and an Intro to SSIS session would be ideal for absolute beginners? I’m not sure that there’s a good way to make SSAS immediately accessible and useful for the complete beginner.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!

    • hopefoley Says:

      Thanks Chris! I don’t intend for any of these sessions to get too technical. Maybe mention technologies to look further into but that’s extent of it. Give them resources to dig into it. Maybe super high level tech but that’s the idea. Give them an idea of type of work they would do in these fields. Basically intro the path and that’s it.

  4. Interesting idea. I dropped out of college, so I definitely benefited from the unregulated and unlicensed nature of IT. I’ve always felt this was a great profession for second chances.

    One thing though with beginner tracks is you want to go wide, because someone might think they want to be a DBA, but discover they’d rather be a dev or a sysadmin. Does your metro area have a code camp, powershell Saturday, barcamp, etc?

    The PowerShell Saturday’s have a beginner track. Usually Ed Wilson (The Microsoft Scripting guy) runs a few of those sessions. I think start with #SQLStarter at SQL Saturday, but also tell these guys “hey also go to these free events” If someone turns their life around with Python and Postgres instead of SQL Server, that’s still a win.

  5. andreaallred Says:

    Hi Hope,
    I also have done a Management Studio for Beginners class. Just being able to use the interface helps beginners so much. Best of luck and let me know if there is anything I can do to help. *Hugs*
    Andrea

  6. […] been haunting me for a long time and started the SQLStarter track in Indy.  You can refer back to my blog post on the creation/inspiration.  I can tell you, the day of the event I watched intently the […]


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