Five years ago, Red Gate asked Brad McGehee to take on the role of Director of DBA Education. It was an uncommon title for an unusual role, but Red Gate was then, and now, committed to helping DBAs with training, certification, keeping up with the ever-changing technology, and solving the everyday problems they faced.
Since then, Brad has been a tireless worker, writing tens of articles, many editorials, and four books for DBAs, including his popular How to become an Exceptional DBA. He also gave presentations throughout America, Australia and the UK, travelling half a million miles in the process, and providing grassroots education to countless DBAs and Database Developers.
It has been quite a chunk of time in any career. Times and circumstances change, and so now he is going back to being a real practicing DBA, with a more sedentary existence. However, he'll still write articles and do editing for Simple-Talk, and the Stairway Series at SQL Server Central.
Is the role of 'DBA Education' still relevant? Yes. In general, the industry seems to have chosen to appoint Evangelists for their software rather than Educators, responsible for providing more generalized professional development. However, Red Gate believes that the need for broad professional development and education is more vital now than ever. It's not just the ever- expanding scope of SQL Server, but the increasing spread of the responsibility of DBAs; they now need to respond to 'Agile' techniques by getting more involved in the entire development cycle, from application design, through to source control, code reviews, continuous integration and delivery. DBAs need to understand BI, to create PowerShell scripts and to take increasing control of both user and application security.
Brad feels sure that the 'Stairway' series on SSC is a great way to provide a wide range of learning materials, and so he will be taking on a coordinating role there. With the distractions and stress of travel out of the way, and a real DBA role to tackle as a day-job, he'll be well placed to judge what training materials are most required, most relevant, and at what level. We feel sure we'll all gain.
Andrew Clarke, Tony Davis, Phil Factor and Steve Jones