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The Success Trap Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 10:11 PM
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Comments posted to this topic are about the item The Success Trap

Andy
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Post #1254999
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 2:40 AM
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"Success Trap" - nice euphemism for specialising yourself into unemployability.
Employers have their part to play in this - there is a growing culture that you can
only do a job if you have recently done one exactly like it before. Particularly
prevalent at my current employer.

Everyone had a Day One in every job they ever did. You read it here first.
Post #1255073
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 2:59 AM


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Andy makes some good points. The real question, of course, is: how to prevent falling in the success trap - or how to get out of it if you've already fallen into it.

For me, the answer is: community. Especially if your boss is unwilling or unable to privide you with the opportunity to learn stuff outside your daily routine, you can learn an awful lot by immersing yourself in community.

This site is a great example. It offers articles, it has a forum where you can dive into questions asked by others and see if you can find the answer - or simply come back later and read the answers. It has a daily question, that often sets up a very interesting debate in the associated forum topic. You can learn a lot, just by participating here - but only if you make sure to put what you learn into practice! Without practice, it will not stick. Go ahead and install SQL Server Developer Edition (or even Express, if you feel that $50 is too much to invest in future proofing your resume) on your home comoputer, then use some of your spare time every now and then to just play around with what you learn here. Copy that interesting query, execute it, check the execution plan. See if you can modify it to do something else. Try to set up database mirroring. Try a point in time restore on your play database, even if your day job does not involve backup and restore at all. Etc etc etc.

Of course, there are lots of other sites with great articles, quality bloggers, and/or lots of questions and answers. Just pick those you like and the number you have time for.

Another great place to be is SQL Server conferences. Not just the annual PASS Conference (though that is a great place to be); there are lots of other conferences as well, like e.g. SQL Rally, TechEd, virtual conferences like 24hrs of PASS. And if your boss refuses to give you time off and pay the conference entry fee, you can still attend a conference if you are willing to sacrifice a free saturday -there are SQLSaturday events being organised everywhere! And if you are at a conference, don't stick to attending topics in your comfort zone. If you're a dev, it still never hurts to attend a DBA session and learn about piecemeal restore - who knows if your next job requires that skill? Again, you can learn so many things from attending conferences- but (again) only if you make sure to put what you learn into practice!

Of course, official education, following courses, getting certification, all those help as well. But those almost always require cooperation from your company, in paying for the education and/or giving you time off to attend classes and sit exams. The nice thing about the community offerings is that you can do them (albeint in your spare time) even if your boss thinks that a DBA training for a BI specialist is a waste of money.



Hugo Kornelis, SQL Server MVP
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Post #1255081
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 3:50 AM
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This is the dilemma of contractors too, who enter the job with a well-defined skillset. Over time you become 'siloed' leading to a narrowing range of opportunities as all software eventually becomes obsolete and the demand for it falls away; and, it seems at a faster rate than ever. Very rarely do clients put temporary staff onto courses: if you're lucky, you can pick up peripheral expertise or an exceptional opportunity arises. We know that if you've managed to learn a set of skills over your career, then picking up a few new language or package isn't really a big deal. Clients aren't interested though. In the current job market, there always seems to be somebody who has all your skills, plus exposure to that one business application you've never heard of.

What do you do? Getting the next job isn't just about technical expertise. The ability to 'get on' with your team is now regarded to be just as important. This soft skill doesn't come easy to a lot of people. But look on it as a new language. And the good thing about this new language is that you can start using it in your current job right now and then add it an an extra skill in your resume.
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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 7:01 AM
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Don't ask permission to utilize new technology...beg forgiveness.

I worked for a particular company as a contractor that depended on C# classes to do imports. My project called for a new import to be built and decided to use SSIS instead of their preferred C# classes. It was a nice little package that looped through daily flat files exported to an FTP folder and then uploaded to the database. I did alot of research on jamie thompsons blog and anywhere else i could find the scoop on how to use SSIS and got the package done.(I was the first in the company to deploy an SSIS package so i had no internal help) I knew being a contractor for this company my days were numbered and i was learning THEIR processes and not much that would help me in my job search.

I learned my way around BIDS pretty well from doing that one package and the experience helped me get my next gig.

I had the package built and deployed before anyone higher up could ixnay my decision to use SSIS...by then it was too late
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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 7:14 AM
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My last job was a DBA Developer job in which I didn't get to do much administration work. Between DB escalations from clients and reading and researching things I didn't know I was able to get an administration job. Here I don't do much development outside of basic scripting and I don't do much BI or SSIS work but I hit every administration part of the job. With almost 150 instances and two DBAs there's a lot to take care of and we'll be working our way through and working on different parts of the environment for a while so I'll have plenty of opportunity to keep trying new things.
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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:33 AM
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The article makes some good points. Similar questions have been on my mind for a while and I have been trying to keep abreast with latest technologies and skills. I have the freedom at my job to learn anything I want. Of course not everything is financially supported by the company but they have been kind enough to let me get my PMP certification. I learned SSIS/SSAS/SSRS on the job. I have freedom to develop it, test it, have end users play with sample reports and then have our IT team deploy it to production. I think this is a decent model considering how busy IT staff can get when there are more projects than resources to work on them. I am currently learning about Data Warehousing and will be creating one by myself to demonstrate it to senior level management. If nothing comes off it, I would have at least learned and deployed it.

It's very important to constantly read and learn about what's trending in the outside world and not get too complacent with one's job or success at one's job. If you want to grow in your career, you have to put time outside of work to learn and improve your skills and abilities
Post #1255329
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:24 AM


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sandeep.kumar 39433 (2/21/2012)
. . . It's very important to constantly read and learn about what's trending in the outside world and not get too complacent with one's job or success at one's job. If you want to grow in your career, you have to put time outside of work to learn and improve your skills and abilities

Exasctly. You would not believe how many my former colleagues, in their time well-paid experts on Natural, Adabas, Informix and similar, are now teachers of English as a second language.
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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 9:51 AM


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SanDeep, Reading is important to keep up on your skill set and it is amazing how fast that skill set can get rusty too if you don't. It is now measured in just months. In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

"Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ..."
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Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 10:08 AM


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Hugo Kornelis (2/21/2012)
...

but only if you make sure to put what you learn into practice! Without practice, it will not stick.
...



Excellent point.







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