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Life Without a Net – My comment

Did you catch the brilliant and thought provoking editorial post Life Without a Net by Rodney Landrum on SQL Server Central this morning?

The post pondered the entertaining thought of what life would be like without the very lifeblood that we all have come to know and love, the internet. What I found particularly interesting about the opinion presented was the suggestion that not having immediate access to all given knowledge of a subject off the top of one’s head, as being a bad thing. Is it really such a bad thing? Has the internet made us all lazy, particularly when considering technical professions? I would have to disagree.

I would counter with the point that having the internet readily available as an extension to our knowledge network has in fact enabled and empowered the Data Professional to develop a much broader understanding of the technology field and to operate as a more versatile professional.

Take the intrinsic and low level information of a SQL internals subject (Memory Management components) for example. This level of information is really only every required when dealing specifically with the minutia of a particular item, and albeit useful, is not actually essential to the every day operational knowledge requirements in my view.

I want Data Professionals in my team that are problem solvers, people that have a sufficient knowledge overview of a subject to enable them to then assimilate information rapidly when required to delve further into that area, not robots that have memorised Books Online and every White Paper under the sun. Sure they may come in handy when a requirement to recall the explicit syntax for a given T-SQL statement is raised but what I really value over this are problem solving agility, business awareness and creative thinking.

Leveraging the internet as an extension to our knowledge networks has enabled us to become superior quality Data professionals, giving us access to information (reams of documentation and online content) and resources (SQLCAT, a global pool of DBA’s via Twitter’s #SQLHelp) that would have 20 years ago just not been reachable.

I would argue that the internet has improved the quality of today’s Data Professional. Of course this powerful knowledge network is also accessible to those who may not know how to correctly use it. Knowledge can be dangerous in the wrong hands.

What do you think? Is internet induced laziness morphing us into a poorer quality/standard of data professional?

John Sansom - SQL Server DBA in the UK

John Sansom (Blog | Twitter) is a Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) of SQL Server and publisher of the free SQL community ebook DBA JumpStart, an inspiring collection of advice for Data Professionals, written by 20 SQL Server experts. Awarded the Microsoft Community Contributor(MCC) award, John is a prolific blogger and can be found regularly writing about SQL Server and Professional Development over at www.johnsansom.com.


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