I was an Accidental DBA at the start, intentional DBA now and forever, and I have to say that the SQL Server community is like none other. The day after I started my job as a Java developer in 2003, the DBA put in her 2 week notice. My boss took a big risk when he asked me “want to be a DBA?”, and that changed everything. I did both for quite some time and eventually transitioned into straight-up full time DBA. My first boss was excellent. He told me about SQLServerCentral, and I was hooked. Daily questions, forums for help, and just a wealth of great articles gave me a great kick start on becoming a halfway decent DBA.
PASS, what is this thing? Users groups? Seriously you must be joking. Fortunately I live close enough to a city that had a great users group. Attending a few of these monthly meetings introduced me to great speakers like Randy Dyess and Brent Ozar. About five years ago a local team put together this new thing called “SQL Saturday” that was free for anyone that wanted to come. I was sure I hit the jackpot. Brent Ozar introduced a great new tool he had created called “sp_blitz”. I was in awe. Shortly after this came Triage Tuesdays, a free weekly ½ hour training event from Brent Ozar Unlimited Red Gate did a free event, SQL in the City, where I got to meet some heroes like Steve Jones, Allen White and Grant Fritchey. Granted I didn’t ever talk to them personally, but hearing them speak so passionately about SQL Server was good enough for me. Over the years I have signed up for every newsletter possible, SQLServerCentral, SQL Skills, and the Brent Ozar Unlimited Weekly Links. There are so many opportunities for training you could probably watch a free webinar every day.
I just recently attended a SQL Saturday and learned a bunch of cool new things that I can’t wait to implement. I sat in on a few “packed house” sessions with icons like Brent Ozar and Adam Mechanic. While eavesdropping on passing conversations, I was shocked to hear people say, “Oh, I haven’t heard of him before”. I thought to myself, where do you live under a rock? There were even people talking about flying in for this event.
Now is the time to invest in you. I guess I just consider myself lucky to have had a great boss that pushed training into our laps. He always said you should be spending at least a couple of hours a week reading articles, learning something new. His philosophy was that if you learn something new it will help the company, maybe not today, but eventually. Just this week, I used something that I learned from this last SQL Saturday to fix a critical production performance issue. Thank you “Clash of the Row Goals” session.
Most of my career I have been the lone DBA in the company. Without all these people I might still be using maintenance plans for index maintenance, shrinking transaction logs, using select distinct just in case, or who knows what other things I am sure I did on day one. Maybe someday I will have icon status, but until then I owe a great thanks to all the mentors, MVPs, SQL bloggers, and other contributors to the SQL community. There are too many names out there to call them all out individually. I am so glad that there are people out there smarter than me that take the time to put information out there for me to read, watch and implement. Because of you most anyone can be a successful accidental turned intentional DBA.