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Winner of the April SQL Aloha Contest

This month’s question had 28 responses, and as usual, I found it difficult to select a winner because all of the responses provided valuable information that all DBAs can learn from. This month’s question was:

What advice would you offer a novice DBA in order to help them along in their career?

If you haven’t read the responses yet, please do so, as there is a lot to be learned from the advice offered.

Because all of the advice was good, I decided that the main selection criteria for the contest would be originality. From the 28 responses, I felt that three of them included some very valuable and original advice. They included:

Pam Wampler, whose advice included: “First and foremost, remember to breathe! Normally when there is a database “emergency”, you will be the first one with the water hose trying to put out the file. Breathing is a good thing.”

Merrill Aldrich, whose advice included: “I originally went to school and began work as an architect, and one of the most important ideas I took from that experience is that most architects treat their careers as a personal life’s work, in the same way, I’d imagine, that a doctor might. An architect or a doctor does spend his/her life working, but at the same time refining a personal body of skills and knowledge. That set of skills and knowledge has its own life as the person’s practice, independent of any specific job. It travels with the person. You can get fired from your job, but not lose your practice.

This is the difference between “having a practice” and “doing a job.” A practice is part of your identity; your skills are something you refine because you want to get better, not because the boss said you have to go to training. A practice is something you can be passionate about. If you do this right, the passion makes you better, and makes you happier. People notice, and it’ll advance the more mundane parts of your life, like jobs, titles, earnings, and so on.”

Rahul Singla, whose advice included: “And as a DBA, take care that you are not a machine running on a 365×24×7 basis with a 99.995 SLA guaranteed uptime. Enjoy what you are doing, because if you are in it just for a living, you would not be able to sustain it beyond a point. And take time out for your family, for the wonderful people around you, and for nature. Life, after all, is not data, number crunching and weary eyes staring at the monitor in the wrong hours of the night.”

After a lot of thought, I have selected Merrill Aldrich as the winner of the April Question of the Month. Merrill has won a US $50 Amazon.com gift certificate, plus a single license of SQL Prompt. Thanks to everyone who has participated, and don’t forgot to enter the May Question of the Month.

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