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James Serra's Blog

James is currently a Senior Business Intelligence Architect/Developer and has over 20 years of IT experience. James started his career as a software developer, then became a DBA 12 years ago, and for the last five years he has been working extensively with Business Intelligence using the SQL Server BI stack (SSAS, SSRS, and SSIS). James has been at times a permanent employee, consultant, contractor, and owner of his own business. All these experiences along with continuous learning has helped James to develop many successful data warehouse and BI projects. James has earned the MCITP Business Developer 2008, MCITP Database Administrator 2008, and MCITP Database Developer 2008, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. His blog is at .

Welcome To Machine

Hello World.  Stardate 1513.1.  After reading that, if you know what I am referring to, you are a tech-head and may continue to read this blog :-)

So, the reasons that I am blogging:

1) I really enjoy helping others.  I’m making a pretty good pay rate as a Business Intelligence/DBA contractor, and can give advice on how you can too.  Hopefully I can help you get to that next stop in your career.  At the very least, maybe I can save you a few hours of solving a particularly difficult BI/DBA problem because I encountered that same problem and blogged the solution

2) For my long-term career success: Maybe a future employer will find me through my blog posts, maybe it will lead to one day to becoming a Microsoft MVP or presenting at conferences, maybe it will lead to name recognition and other contract jobs or side projects.  These are lot’s of “maybe’s”, but even if it opens one new door, it will be worth it

3) I will learn more about whatever I am blogging about.  Learning through teaching.  Each blog post will take some research, enhancing my knowledge of the topic.  It will also help me improve my communication skills

4) My own personal “knowledge base”.  If not a single person ever reads my blog, it still will be helpful for me.  How?  Many times I solved a difficult problem, only to forget what the solution was when I encountered the problem again.  Now, I will blog about it, and the next time it comes up, I will think “Oh yea, I blogged about this!”.  Then I will have the answer instantly instead of wasting time trying to recall the last solution.

5) A way to meet others and grow my professional network, and have them help me with problems or questions that I post about

6) It think it will be a lot of fun.  Actually, I think it will be a ton of fun

When I first starting thinking about blogging a few months ago, my first thought was “Only the top experts in their field blog”.  But a quick glance in LinkedIn revealed that there are tons of people blogging who are at all levels in their career, and they all offer something.  After all, even a newbie can offer help to other newbie’s at the very least.

My second thought was “what would I blog about?”.  So I started to keep a list of subjects to write about.  I did not think I would grow the list much, but in no time did I have over fifty items related to solutions to problems I ran across, recommendations for tools I use to enhance my productivity, and other tips related to BI/dba work.  Then I hit on blogging about something I don’t see much about: career advice for the technical professional.  I have been at this a long time, over 25 years as a programmer, dba, BI developer, and everything in between.  I have been a perm employee, contractor, and owned my own business.  Hopefully, all the experience will allow me to help you better your career, become more productive, and earn more money.  I’ll certainly give it a shot!

So in short, check out my blogs for career advice, tips to improve your work performance, and help with SQL Server and business intelligence.

Here are some great blog posts that encouraged me to start blogging:

Why Should I Blog?

Blog (Durnit!)

Brent Ozar – How to start a blog

10 Reasons Why You Need To Establish Your Online Identity

Blog your way to becoming a better DBA

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