Jen McCown (Blog | Twitter) wrote about an interesting topic on the different levels of database professionals. In her article, Jen identified the three levels as Junior, Mid-Level, and High-Level.
I’m not repeating here her descriptions of the different levels, so go and read her article (link above) and, hopefully, you come back here to read the rest of this post.
There is a clear distinction as to who the “Junior” database professional is. This level is generally a stage where one focuses on exploration – just knowing what is there to know.
What’s a Mid-Level? High-Level? Can we use the number of “years of experience” to distinguish one from the other? What’s the gauge? How to measure?
It depends on the level of knowledge, on “what you know” vs “what you should know” at a particular level. For example, if you are a Mid-Level SQL Server DBA, you should know X, Y, and Z.
I think everyone agrees on that. What everyone does not agree on are the specific types of knowledge one is supposed to posses at a particular level.
The comments on Jen’s article have their own merits. Everyone has a point.
But what the article and the comments all boil down to is one’s willingness to learn.
If you want to move to the next level you should study – you should learn to learn.
That is the most important lesson in that story.
Learning Is Reading
Technical books are great resources if you want to learn. You don’t have to read a lot. You only need to read just enough. Just enough.
Blogs are great resources too.
Learning Is Watching
Watch training videos and webcasts. Make this a habit – one video a week, depending on the level and quality of content, is a good way to start.
Or, better yet, subscribe to an online technical training. A year-long subscription is better choice compared to, say, ones with shorter term. Spend at least 30 minutes a day on this.
Learning Is Doing
Reading and watching is not just enough. You have to practice. Want to learn how to install SQL Server 2012? Read. Watch. But you cannot really learn how to install it until you actually install it.
Learning Is Connecting
Learning is a communal act. No one learns alone. Yes, you can “study” on your own by reading a book but you have to ask questions. You have to verify facts.
The community is there to answer your questions. You have to go out and reach out. The SQL Server Community has a great #SQLFamily. Be part of that.