As we wind down the final week of the year, it's time to begin looking forward to 2011. In the spirit of looking forward, I ran across a post last week at The Business of Software, entitled Own Your Professional Development. It talks about many of the things that I believe in, and is worth reading. Part of what we try to do here is find interesting things that let you get a feel what what is happening in the SQL Server community without you needing to work through a large number of RSS feeds on your own.
One of the important points raised is that you ought to see yourself as a "professional student" in the technology business. Once you do that, then you can more easily get into the habit of regularly looking to improve your skills and expand your knowledge about the technology you use. I assume that if you are reading this newsletter, and regularly visiting SSC that you are interested in your career, but you want to do more than passively read our articles.
This week in Database Weekly, you could get an Introduction to Windows Powershell that might let you write a quick script to find the largest file on your system or clear out your temp folder. That's a useful skill that you might grow to use with the SQL Server SMO objects, and more easily administer your systems.
Perhaps you work with Database Mirroring, and should be aware of these tips on various error messages or maybe you never really understood what permissions TRUNCATE needs. You can read about this command and run some short tests on your local instance to cement this knowledge in your mind.
Is your server performance degrading over time? You can read about Tim Ford's method for collecting and storing performance information. That's always a handy skill, and you might want to spend a few minutes setting up the collection for a week on one of your instances and then going back to look at the data and seeing if this is a good way for you to monitor performance.
If you are looking forward to the next version of SQL Server, we have a number of articles that are starting to look at the changes in Denali, like this one on metadata enhancements. If you're still stuck trying to understand how the current version of SQL Server works, I would highly recommend you read, and test, the information put out by Conor Cunningham on SARGable predicates. It can be invaluable in learning to write better T-SQL.
Becoming a professional student seems like work, and most of us have enough work. However it can be fun to learn new things, and once you get in the habit, you might find that you are gaining skills that take away some of the work you dread, and give you some fun new skills to play with.