T-SQL Tuesday #109: Influence Somebody

Invitation and recap from Jason Brimhall.

T-SQL Tuesday 109: Influence Somebody Invite

In November 2017, Ewald Cress (b | t) invited everybody to talk about and basically give thanks to people that have helped impact their careers or lives. Check out the roundup here.

In December 2017, Mala Mahadevan (b | t) invited everybody to set goals for themselves. These goals were supposed to be about learning. But when you get down to the nitty gritty, anything that helps build character and career really comes from something that must be learned. It all starts with a bit of introspection. It is this introspection that I ask you to use as a building block for the party this month.

Lastly, in May 2018, Riley Major (b | t) asked everybody to reflect a bit on the theme from Ewald. This time though, the task was to give back to the community. Pay it forward, if you will, given that you had previously benefited from the kindness of somebody else.

Invitation

Building on the work of these three fine individuals, here comes the difficult task. You have been the benefactor of some awesome help from somebody else. You even wrote about it and in a way, told that person how they impacted you, your career, or both. You have set goals for yourself to become a better you after some personal reflection, meditation, introspection. Then you have given back to the community in some way.

I am not asking you to be braggy, just aware and cognizant. What have you done to impact somebody else in the last 13 months?

How do you know you have impacted them? This is really the hard question. I want stories of how you impacted somebody else for the better. This may mean you will need to talk to some people and have a little retrospective with them.

Why?

This past year we lost some real juggernauts in the SQL Community such as Robert Davis (blog). We all know he impacted many people. We can also assume that he knew he impacted peoples lives. How great would it have been to sit down and have a personal discussion with him to let him know for certain how he impacted your career?

At PASS Summit, I had the opportunity to have such a discussion with somebody completely out of the blue. I know how much that meant to me. I also know that I was rather unaware of the influence I had on this individual.

How?

If you have not already had the opportunity to discuss your influence, make the opportunity. If you have mentored somebody, have a chat with them. If you work with somebody that you might have influenced, have a candid chat. Ask them directly if you have been able to be a good influence to them. Ask them how you might be able to better help them.

I know, this gets us all out of our comfort zones – but we need to do things like this. It is a method of both giving thanks as well as just giving (it is the season).

If you are reading this and don’t feel you have influenced somebody, then talk to somebody that has influenced you. Let them know how you influenced them.

Then, after having this candid chat, please write about both the experience (even the awkwardness), anything you learned from the conversation, as well as some details around what it is you did that impacted said individual.

Doing this little exercise will not only help you to become a more involved team member, community member, and leader it will also help you improve on some of the interpersonal skills used for networking as well as public speaking.

T-SQL Tuesday #102 – Giving Back

Invitation and wrap up from Riley Major.

Giving Back

A few months ago Ewald Cress asked you to share stories about people who have made a difference in your professional life. Dozens of you wrote about who impressed you, inspired you, taught you, helped you, and guided you. It’s a testament to the Microsoft data community that so many were recognized by so many– that we have those willing to give of their time and those who are publicly appreciative of it.

Now I will give you an opportunity to give back. Everyone reading this has benefitted from their fellow data professionals. And that benefit puts you in a position to share alike. You’ve learned something, so you can teach. You’ve been supported, so you can help. You’ve been led, so you can lead. But you don’t have to do it alone. We’re all going to do it together.

So here is my call. Pick some way you can help our community. (Ideally, this would be our technical community, but if you’re passionate about some other type of service, that works too.) Then, make a plan– a real plan, with specific steps and dates. Just like Mala Mahadevan asked you to do with your learning goals for this year. Then, and this is the important part, you’re going to write it down for the world to see.

Back when I was still toying with the idea of speaking, it was specific persuasion and public accountability which gave me the push to make it happen. So now I’m giving that to you. I am specifically asking you, dear reader, to make and publish this plan, and I’m going to help make it a reality by gently holding you accountable. You will set your own goals and I will check-in to see how things are going. I will offer what encouragement I can. And I will celebrate your accomplishments.

And if you think there is nothing you can contribute to this community, I am excited to tell you that you are wrong! Some ideas:

Pick something. Tell us why. Tell us how. Tell us when.

We’ll ask “are we there yet?” and give you a high five when we are.

Now to be fair, many #tsql2sday contributors already pour boundless energy into the community. And some might simply not be willing to step up publicly. So for those who still want to party, I submit the alternative topic of your favorite improvement in SQL Server 2017. (If none of the new features excite you, tell us how you successfully used something new from 2016.)

Update 2018-05-02: For those who routinely give back to our community, thank you again for all of your service. I’m not asking you to give any more. A better angle for you on this topic would be to tell us how and why and you started. How did you discover the community’s need? How did you figure out what your role would be in helping? How did you learn the skills you needed to contribute? Where did you find the confidence to take the leap? How would you recommend others proceed? Thanks again and hopefully this provides a better avenue for you to participate this month.

T-SQL Tuesday #098 – Your Technical Challenges Conquered

The current invitation (January 2017) is for T-SQL Tuesday #98. Invitation and round up from Arun Sirpal.

Please write about and share with the world a time when you faced a technical challenge that you overcame and you can go really technical with both the issue and solution if you like.

From data recovery, tempdb contention, concurrency issues to even DTU exhaustion within Azure SQL Database – there is plenty to potentially write about.

So tell us what the issue was, your troubleshooting mind-set, how knowledge in that specific area guided you and more importantly what you did to overcome this challenging event. Hopefully with this topic we will get to read from both advanced and beginner level bloggers.

You know the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

T-SQL Tuesday #097 – Setting Learning Goals for 2018

The invitation and roundup this month is from Mala Mahadevan.

This is my first opportunity hosting a T-SQL Tuesday and am super excited!!
T-SQL Tuesday is the brainchild of well respected SQL Guru and author of ‘sp_whois active’ – Adam Machanic (b|t).  Adam rightly predicted that we all could benefit from ‘a recurring, revolving blog party’ with a new topic given each month – the party has been on since 2009 with great benefit to bloggers old and new.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

It is the end of the year…each person has their own way of calling it a year. For many it is time to take those leftover PTO days, enjoy the time with family and friends, and be grateful for the many gifts we are fortunate to have received. It is also a time when we have to ponder the year ahead and how we plan to use this time in the best manner possible. For many years I never consciously considered setting or pursuing learning goals. I just learned what I needed for my job. If there was a new version of SQL Server out – I went after learning new features in it. But today – it is no longer possible to be that simple. Also, it is very difficult to focus on anything unless you put it down as a goal. One of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar sums it up best ‘ A goal properly set is halfway reached’.
Learning more on just SQL Server is no longer enough. We need to learn other tools and technologies. There are many of them. There are 3 things to address to me when it comes to goal setting with technology and learning –
1 What do you want to learn? (specific skills and talents)
2 How and when do you want to learn? (methods of learning and timeline on learning)
3 How do you plan to improve on what you learned? (Putting it to use at work/blogging/speaking)
I will explain each of those in detail below.

1 What do you want to learn?

This varies depending on your line of work and where you want to go career wise. I will give a few examples.

  • If you are into learning about the cloud and hosting – you need to know what options are (on AWS and Azure, to begin with). Also on multiple other smaller/private hosting providers. You need to know how to transfer data/how much it costs to scale/can you turn it on and off as necessary…any number of things.
  • If you want to learn other non SQL database platforms you’d have to think about which ones are important to you – postgres, CosmosDB, DocumentDB or even MYSQL or Oracle.
  • If you plan to get into data mining and analytics – there are several things to learn in that area. I just started getting to intermediate level with R , and now we have Python that works just as well with SQL Server. You are also better off learning other skills that go with data mining – such as cleaning data, setting up the solution on an ongoing basis and so on.

 In general it would be wise to narrow your focus down to your areas of interest and pick a few things – not too many but perhaps 2-3 things you’d like to focus on and get some depth of knowledge in.

2 How and when do you want to learn?

After you get those goals in, how do you plan to get the said training?

There are countless options, with time and costs to consider. The cheapest ones are Ignite videos (for free), Pluralsight subscription (30$ a month), EDx/Udemy courses (all reasonably priced).SQL Saturday precons (very reasonably priced day long training) as well as SQL Saturdays themselves(free day long training on saturdays). If you can afford it yourself or work at a company that pays for training – consider Tech Outbound (formerly SQLCruise) or PASS Summit.

There are  networking goals to consider as well. I personally would never have thought of networking as a ‘goal’, am able to tweet or message most folks and talk to them, so what is the big deal? No. Meeting people in person is a whole different thing, and you never know what doors that can open. Networking goals can be like meeting 10 people new (some people set them that way), or catching up with 50 people you already know including 3 lunches with people who have most regard for. You’d have to consider where and how you are going to get those goals met. For some people, like me, this is not a numbers game – I’d just like to say am going to be at Event A, B and C and do my networking there. That is totally fine too.

3 How do you plan to improve on what you learned?
  • The primary application of knowledge is at work. You want to think of upcoming projects or opportunities to apply this knowledge. For most people this comes up at a performance review that happens early in the year. Many people are also not comfortable making it public. If it is not bloggable that is ok – but if it is bloggable do consider sharing it. 
  • What are the chapter meetings, events you plan to speak at? If that is too much detail, consider how many of those you’d want to do.
  • What is the frequency of blogging you’d like to maintain?
  • Are you planning on writing books or coauthoring any?
  • Are you  planning on participating in forums to answer questions – such as on SQL ServerCentral.com?
  • Are you planning on any other group contribution – such as Idera’s #sqlchat on twitter or even answering #sqlhelp questions on twitter?
  • I’d put certifications and tests too in this category as they give a name to what you learn and add a credential.

So, that is quite a lot to think and write about.

T-SQL Tuesday #084 – Growing New Speakers

Invitation and roundup from Andy Yun.

This month’s topic is going to be about Speaking & Presenting with a focus on Helping New Speakers! 4 short years ago, I attended my very first PASS Summit and never did I think I’d ever dare to become a Speaker and present. But a year later, I got coerced into a lightning talk. Since then, I’ve presented at several dozen User Groups & SQL Saturdays. Tomorrow, I have the honor of presenting at PASS Summit 2016! And what an adventure it’s been!

For T-SQL Tuesday, I am giving differing topics if you are currently a Speaker or have never have spoken. And if you’ve never spoken, this T-SQL Tuesday comes with a challenge and a twist.

IF YOU ARE A PRESENTER: HELP NEW SPEAKERS

If you’re a Speaker, that’s great! Your T-SQL Tuesday topic will be to write about something to Help New Speakers. Write something about Speaking to aid new Speakers.

To give you all some ideas:
• Share insight about developing a presentation
• Share some advice about Speaking
• Write about your first Speaking experience
• Share beginner tips & lessons learned

IF YOU HAVE NEVER PRESENTED: WILL YOU TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE?

If you’re not a Speaker, then this month’s T-SQL Tuesday is a challenge to start that journey. Start thinking about your first presentation. Think about technical topics that either you’re very comfortable with, really love, or are eager to explore, and pick one.  Presentations aren’t always about sharing knowledge from an expert perspective. Many effective presentations are told from the point of a learning journey!  Keep in mind that your first presentation doesn’t have to be an hour long public presentation.  A 10-15 minute presentation to your coworkers is also a great way to start off!

For your T-SQL Tuesday blog post, take that topic and write about it. It can be the basis for your future presentation. Write up an outline about something you learned about recently. Or explore a problem you recently resolved at your workplace and write a starter post about it. Perhaps try your hand at writing your first demo script and blog that.

Remember, this blog post doesn’t have to encompass your entire prospective presentation. Think of it as a first draft, an exploration your idea. No need to be fancy, in-depth, or comprehensive.

If you are having difficulty deciding on a first presentation topic, no problem! Why not write about the topic(s) you are considering? Explore each one at a high level, and why they interest you.

Still on the fence about Speaking? Feel free to write a non-technical blog post about that too! You could explore and share your thoughts about presenting and even explore any concerns you may find yourself having.

This T-SQL Tuesday is all about helping you to start your journey to giving your first presentation.

THE TWIST: I WANT TO HELP

Here’s this month’s T-SQL Tuesday twist. If you’ve never presented before and take me up on this challenge, I or another experienced speaker volunteer, will take the time to privately provide feedback to each and every one of you.

• If you want help developing your first presentation out, I will help you.
• If you are wary of putting your first PowerPoint together, I will help you.
• If you need ideas on how to write demo scripts, I will help you.

I will do whatever I can to help you begin this journey. Feel free to reach out to me prior to T-SQL Tuesday, if you want feedback on where to start. Otherwise, I will reach out after your blog post goes live, to keep the fire alive and help you take the next steps!

 

T-SQL Tuesday #081 – Sharpen Something

Invitation and roundup from Jason Brimhall.

It has now been 30 months since the last time I hosted a TSQL Tuesday, that was TSQL Tuesday 51. I recapped that event here with the original invite here. I can’t believe it has been that long since I last hosted. It only seems like yesterday.

sqlskillsharpener_pigComing into the present day, we are now at TSQL Tuesday 81. For this month, I would like to try and up the ante a bit. Usually we only get about a weeks notice prior to the event to think about the article to write for the event.

This time, I want to invite everybody just a little bit sooner and will follow-up with a reminder seven days prior to the event. The reason I want to do this is because I think this may be a touch more difficult this time.

 

This month I am asking you to not only write a post but to do a little homework – first. In other words, plan to do something, carry out that plan, and then write about the experience. There is a lot going into that last sentence. Because of that, let me try to explain through a few examples of what I might like to see. Hopefully these examples will help you understand the intent and how this month the topic relates to “Sharpening Something“.

EXAMPLES

  1. You have learned about a really cool feature called Azure DevTest Lab. Having heard about it, you wish to implement this feature to solve some need in your personal development or corporate environment. Develop a plan to implement the feature and tell us the problem it solves and about your experiences in getting it to work from start to end. An example of how I might try to use this might involve the creation of a disposable and easy setup environment for Precons, Workshops, and various other types of training.
  2. There is a really awesome book about SQL Server you heard about and you decided to buy it. Plan to sit down and read the book. Take a nugget or two from the book and tell us how you can use that nugget of information within your personal or professional environment.
  3. You know you are extremely deficient at a certain SQL Skill. Tell me what that skill is and develop a plan to get better at that skill. Report on the implementation of this skill and how you are doing at improving. Maybe that skill is about Extended Events, PoSH or availability groups.
  4. Similar to the skill deficiency, you know you do not understand a certain concept within SQL Server as well as you feel you should. Maybe that concept is indexing or statistics (for example). Create a two week plan to become more proficient at that concept. Follow that plan and report on your progress.

In recap, this is an invite to make a short term goal covering the next two weeks. Tell everybody what that goal is (in your tsql tuesday post of course) and how you went about creating a plan for that goal and how you have progressed during the two week interval.

T-SQL Tuesday #078 – Learn Something New

Invitation  from Wendy Pastrick.

Plenty of heads-up for this installment of #tsql2sday because this time, I’m challenging you to learn something new and blog about it!

There are so many new things to play around with, some brand-spanking newly released, and others that have been around for a bit, but you’ve probably still not taken any time to try it out.

Here’s a short list of ideas to get you started:

  • PowerBI
  • Azure (remember you can get $150 monthly credit just for trying it out!)
    • Virtual Machines
    • SQL Database
    • Stretch tables
  • SQL Server on Linux
  • SQL 2016
    • Always Encrypted
    • Query Store
    • Row Level Security

T-SQL Tuesday #036 – What Does Community Mean to You?

Invitation and roundup from Chris Yates

The Invitation

Merriam-Webster defines Community as “a unified body of individuals”. For me the SQL Community is something that has helped me in my career; whether it is questions that I’ve had along the way where I was stuck, helping other DBA’s with issues they were having, networking with other DBA’s or making contacts for the future. The SQL Community is just that; we are a team. All on the same team; if one falls we pick each other up. I’ve never been part of a group of people who want to help each other more so than the SQL Community.

One of the best conferences I’ve been to is the PASS Summit. I was fortunate enough to attend last year and this years will provide new attendees the same fortune and opportunities that I have had. Sitting and seeing some of the top DBA’s in the industry learning in sessions along with me…..yeah I was floored.

So my question today is a simple one; I had several topics to choose from technically but I’m curious as to what others think about our SQL Community. Not just some off the cuff answer but really what do you think about it and how has it helped you?

Below are some thoughts I had in creating this topic:

  • How has the community helped me in my career
  • How can I better the community
  • How can I preserve what we already have
  • How can I help other people in the community

T-SQL Tuesday #35 – Soylent Green

Invitation and Roundup from Nick Haslam

Over the past couple of days I’ve been attending a training course in Paris, and one evening, to relax I watched ‘Soylent Green‘, a classic science fiction film. If you’ve not seen it, I recommend it, and go and watch it …

So, what I’d like to know is, what is your most horrifying discovery from your work with SQL Server?

We all like to read stories of other people’s misfortunes and, in some ways they help to make us better people by learning from them. Hopefully, there is nothing as bad as Charlton Heston’s discovery, but there may be in its own way.

A couple of extra thoughts for motivational thinking…

Soylent Brown – You did a post, Great Job!!

Soylent Orange – You did a post, it made me wince!

Soylent Green  – You did a post, it made me wince, and it included some T-SQL.

T-SQL Tuesday #030 – A DBA’s Ethics

Invitation from Chris Shaw.

I was in the first few months of my second database administrator job when the CTO told me that I needed to give the CFO direct table access into the database that I had designed.  Not 3 months later we were having a company meeting so the executive staff could explain to the company that the CFO had stolen our client list and was out luring our customers away.  Sound like a security issue? Not the way that I see it.

I had an ethics issue on my hands.   From that day in 1997 I have always had my eye out for ethical issues, and more importantly looking for ways we can police ourselves.  It does not take long for a new database professional to see that when you have access to data that there is going to be sensitive data in there somewhere.  The obvious ones are the HR databases, or the financial databases that reside on our SQL Servers.  But there are so many more areas that we need to look before we can get a good handle on how to solve these ethical dilemmas. Take a look at something that I posted a while back that threatened the security of the United States.  I cannot imagine that it would take long for an ethical person to say, “Really?”

A few months ago I had to get a security clearance, and pass the Security + certification so I could do a short contract with the Air Force.  As I was going over study material in a book I was supplied, I ran across a couple of short notes about ethics.  I followed a link or two and I ended up here.  When I first started to look at the list of ethics that they had listed, I was really impressed.  As I got deeper into what they were saying I became a bit concerned, however. The company that produced this is a corporation, not an organization that has the best interests for the industry as a primary goal.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being a for-profit, I know I work for one, and well, as an individual I am for-profit.  My issues with the code is the code itself appears to be pointed and making the company a profit, at least it does to me.  If that is the reason they sponsored the Code of Ethics, then well they violate their own ethics when they say:

“I will not advance private interests at the expense of end users, colleagues, or my employer“.

So here is where that leaves us:

For this month’s t-sql Tuesday question I wanted to highlight the need for Ethics in our industry.  Don’t consumers and business owners have to trust someone at some time with their data?  This month, take time to participate by talking about DBA ethics.  I really hope to see someone address topics such as:

         Should we have an ethics statement?

         Have ethics issues impacted you? What did you do about it?

         Security Audits: how do you police what you and others are doing in the database?

         Does a Code of Ethics mean anything to anyone? How do we as a community enforce a Code of Ethics?

         Do you have an issue with this Code of Ethics?

         What do you believe our Code of Ethics should say if we the SQL Server Community have one?

Have fun, but take the time to dig deep and do some real soul searching.  I know with large number of really smart professionals that we have in our community we can think of something.  I will do up a summary once I have returned from my trip that week, but to be honest I hope this discussion goes on long after May 8th.

As with each of the T-SQL installments I ask that you follow some basic rules.