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Pragmatic Works: The Transition

Pragmatic Works logo

So if you know me via Twitter or my blog you
probably know that as of about a month or two ago I joined the
fantastic team at
Pragmatic Works. This
transition was rather significant for me as I would be moving from
the world of administration to the development side of SQL Server
in being a BI consultant. This series will be a kind of chronicle
of my personal journey through the transition from a DBA (with a
social media complex) to a BI developer in one of the top BI shops
My Background

So my background in IT
is pretty diverse and while it was never my intentioned path, I’m
very grateful for every step of the way. In college my plans were
actually to become a web developer. Unfortunately (or rather
fortunately), I never got the necessary skills I really needed
(read also: .NET or Java skills) to get a job in that field after
graduation. I wound up going the ground-up IT route and started my
career as a PC tech. Again, I lucked out in this role as I was
exposed to various facets of IT including doing some light system
administration, Cisco networking, and SQL Server administration on
top of my duties as a desktop guy. During my time in that
organization I eventually moved up to a full-fledged system
administrator so my skillsets grew to include VMware administration
duties as well, which would up helping me land my next gig at the
hospital. As an administrator I also spent a lot of time studying
up on the (then) new release of SQL Server, SQL Server 2005. As my
knowledge of the product grew I moved on to a larger environment
that allowed me to expand on and apply that knowledge. It was
during this time that I started plugging into the community and
ramped up on blogging, tweeting and presenting. Thanks to those
actions I was able to network with tons of fantastic folks in the
community (I’m so spoiled living in Florida, way too many awesome
SQL pros here) and get to learn a bit about everything. Although I
got to learn lots of cool stuff about other aspects of SQL Server
(read also: BI stack) I never got a chance to really explore/apply
that portion of the stack in my environment.
Knocks…and it wears Sandals

Brian "Mr Opportunity" Knight

Meet Mr. Opportunity

Mr. Opportunity

Fast forward a couple of
years and I realized I needed to move on again to grow. Long story
short I wound up in Jacksonville working for the illustrious Scott
Gleason (Blog
During my time in Jacksonville I took part in the
Jacksonville SQL User Group,
which gave me more of a chance to talk more with the Pragmatic
guys. After some back and forth, and some great guidance and
mentoring from Scott, I decided to move my career towards a new
direction and try out the business intelligence side of SQL Server.
This move was especially daunting for me as going from DBA to Dev
means: 1) I’m now the butt of developer jokes 2) I’m now starting
at the bottom of Mount Learning Curve. Luckily for me I’m now
working with one of the best business intelligence shops in the
world to help me get ramped up.
Making the

One of the best things about going to work for
Pragmatic Works has been the support they offer. If you’ve ever
spent any amount of time with anyone from Pragmatic you know how
fantastic, helpful and all-around awesome these folks are. That’s
not a mistake, that’s company culture. In the last few years I’ve
learned, taught, blogged and presented on my own in order to better
myself and to give back to the community. I still get to do that
now, only its part of my job description now (I’m serious!).
Earlier I mentioned being at the bottom of Mount Learning Curve.
Pragmatic Works is full of badass business
intelligence Sherpas to help you get up that hill faster
than you ever thought possible. One of the cool things we offer is
an internal mentoring program. New folks are paired with seasoned
consultants and we all help each other climb these knowledge hills

together. Right now I’ve been paired with Brad Schacht (Blog |Twitter),
whom I’ve also spent quite a bit of time on the road with lately on
our current project, and he has been an invaluable SSIS resource.
Cool thing about this dynamic is that the learning goes two-ways
since I’m coming from an administrative background I’ve been able
to share my knowledge of administration, virtualization and how
PowerShell is going to slowly take over the world with Brad and
others. In addition to the one on one relationship with your mentor
you also have all of the awesome resources at Pragmatic Works to

ask help from. Check out some of the roster: Adam Jorgensen (Blog | Twitter)
Devin Knight (Blog | Twitter)
Patrick LeBlanc (Blog |

Brian McDonald (Blog | Twitter)

Davis (Blog)

Mark Stacey (Blog)
Dustin Ryan (Blog)

quite the lineup eh? And that’s only a portion of our company!
Which kind of leads me to my next part…
Working With

Some of you may look at that list and say
“holy crap, I’d never be able to work there because of blah blah
blah”. No offense but please just throw that kind of thinking out
the door. Yes, many of those names on that list have made quite a
name for themselves in the community either through presenting,
blogging or writing books. Believe it or not, you can do it too!
The beauty of working for Pragmatic is that if it’s your goal to
become the best of the best, and eventually even write a book or
two, you’re given the opportunity here in spades! Lately our
company has been growing, and will continue to do so, into 2011. We
are looking for passionate folks at ALL
levels to join our team. I’ve spoken with many who
are intimidated to apply because of various reasons. Everyone on
that list started out at the bottom at some point and built
themselves up to where they are today. If you’re looking for a
chance to sharpen/expand your current skill set; if you’re looking
for an environment where education is not only encouraged but it’s
part of your job; if you’re looking for a passionate and supportive
environment in which to grow then I can’t recommend enough that you
submit your
resume today and join our team! I know this sounds like
an infomercial but I really do feel this strongly about
this organization.
Where to Next?

Well I mentioned
this is going to be a series of posts. Right now I’m making my way
through the
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Integration Services
book as
part of my learning plan. I’ll be blogging this week on a cool
little learning project inspired from Aaron Nelson’s (Blog |
PowerShell code to download
all videos from a site. My SSIS experiment was to take
all of those videos, rename them according to their formal title,
and move them to an archive folder, so keep an eye out for it and
thanks for following along!


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