Guest Blog Post: How to Jumpstart Your Career as a DBA by Thomas LaRock

You are a SQL Server DBA, and I know what you are going through.

You are frustrated at having to correct other people’s work. You are tired from being woken at odd hours, or needed to work on weekends.

And the better you get at your job, the more likely you cannot advance in your career because they need to keep you and your skills right there in that cube. You feel stuck.

We’ve all felt that way. And I’m here to tell you the three things you can do RIGHT NOW that will help you give your database career the jump start you’ve needed. Separately each one will help to provide you a boost in some way. When done in unison the benefits (both immediate and long-term) will result in an amazing transformation for your career.

So what are you waiting for? Get started by…

1. Downloading SQL2012

Have you ever been with a senior administrator and thought “wow, they sure know a lot of stuff”? Well I am here to tell you that they weren’t born with all that knowledge. No, they acquired it over time. And often they learned it while it was still new. Guess what? You have that exact same chance right now! With SQL2012 comes new features such as AlwaysOn and Columnstore indexes. You can learn all about features such as these and in three years people will look to you as the expert. Trust me.

2. Joining PASS

The Professional Association for SQL Server is a group of individuals who are dedicated to the use and care of SQL Server as well as each other. PASS members are always looking to connect, learn, and share with one another information about current in-depth Microsoft SQL Server content. Through knowledge sharing and peer-based learning PASS members find themselves growing their careers by leaps and bounds as database professionals.

Joining PASS is free. and chances are you can find a local PASS chapter or SQL Server user group close to where you live or work right now. Before I joined PASS I used to think that the day-to-day struggles I faced were unique due to the fact that I was working alone. After joining PASS and connecting with other individuals I found out that I wasn’t alone, and I found lots of great resources to help me be more effective in my role as a DBA.

3. Joining Twitter

If you have not yet joined Twitter, there is still time. if you don’t believe in the value of joining Twitter then try an experiment. Register and set up a Twitter account and post a question during a weekday afternoon. You only get 140 characters, so you’ll need to be brief, and (this is most important) use the following ‘hashtag’ at the end of your tweet: #sqlhelp. When you do you will find dozens of people available to help answer your question, in real-time. And often these folks are the top tier of SQL pros out there, such as Paul Randal (blog | @PaulRandal) or Jonathan Kehayias (blog | @SQLPoolboy).

Beyond the use of Twitter to answer questions you will find a community of folks that are just there for each other. Think of it as a virtual watercooler where you can go for a quick conversation on whatever topic of choice you want or need. For folks who work alone (from their homes) or for database professionals that work on small teams (or just by themselves in a cube somewhere) the ability to reach out and share your experiences with others makes your world a little less lonely.

What are you doing here, still reading this blog post? The sooner you get started the sooner you can reap the benefits.

Thomas LaRock
Vice President of Marketing
Professional Association for SQL Server
Twitter: @SQLRockstar