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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

The Lowest Bar

In my Modern Resume presentation, I tried to structure it to go from easy to hard things to do in terms of branding yourself. So the order has been:

  • Profiles (social networking)
  • Blogging
  • Authoring
  • Speaking
  • Volunteering
  • Leadership
  • Research

Actually I added research later, so that is at the end when it really is the easiest (I think) for people to do. Or maybe not. It requires some confidence in yourself to admit mistakes and ignorance, so maybe it’s not easy.

At a recent presentation I was discussing this with Andy Warren and he disagreed. He said blogging was hard for most people, that they can’t maintain it and my bias as a writer has me spending too much time on it.

I think I agree after some thought on the matter. Writing is hard for many people, and even though they recognize that it’s a skill they need to IT (writing, communicating), most people won’t do it any more than they have to.

So what is the correct order? How should I focus on them in my presentation? I think for the average guy/gal, the easiest things are likely :

  • Profiles (social networking)
  • Research
  • Volunteering
  • Leadership
  • Blogging
  • Authoring
  • Speaking
  • I’ll play with the order, but I am interested to see what others think. My view is that speaking and authoring, trying to put out a message, is still hard, but volunteering your time and knowledge, either in IT or outside, is probably easier than blogging. Even leadership, being a team lead or project lead, is probably easier for most IT people.

    Comments

    Posted by Dugi on 19 June 2009

    About Blogging I agree that it is little bit hard to write and to have concept for the article! Same problem is to when I'm trying to write in an English! (Sure in my mother tongue is not hard to couz have much experience with writing)!

    The order seems little bit confused, for me the Authoring is instead of Speaking! And the final list from me is:

    Profiles(social networking)

    Volunteering

    Research

    Blogging - hard to write but if you read too much you will to the best!

    Leadership - It depends not easier for most IT people.

    Speaking

    Authoring

    Posted by Dugi on 19 June 2009

    Yep, I can see some mistakes in writing but I cannot change! - Sorry!

    Posted by Steve Jones on 19 June 2009

    It might be easier to speak for you than write, but I think you have to get your thoughts down, and build a presentation first, which is really authoring. If it seems that you can't write but you can do a presentation, you can. Just fill in the details on the presentation.

    Also, if you can blog, you can author. It's a question of more focus and effort on one topic.

    Posted by Bryan Smith on 19 June 2009

    Profiles (social networking)

    Volunteering  (events and online)

    Blogging

    Research

    Speaking

    Leadership

    Authoring

    I put Research after Blogging because many people have ideas on something they'd like to research, but sitting down and doing tests and samples, analyzing the results and then writing your results down is a lot of work and many people stop after doing a few tests and then doing some basic analysis. Then of course where to share your research? A blog? The slant here is that I assume you want to share them with others outside your office to make a name for yourself. Good point as well on being willing to put your research out there with the very real possibility you got it wrong.

    But with a blog, many people have great blogs that do not require as much effort for a single post such as research can. The hard part here is consistency and sticking with writing it after the shiny new feeling wears off. Still hard, but in my mind much easier than doing research and completing it in a manner that will make a name for yourself to some degree.

    Next up speaking, this one is a bit lower than me than for most I suppose because I feel at home speaking in front of groups. But that was not the case just 4 years ago. Practice does make perfect. As it turns out for someone who wants to speak, when starting off on small stages there are ample opportunities. This one takes a lot of time though, preparing, finding the speaking event, etc.

    For me Leadership is an odd one on this list and I put it way up here as again if you're trying to make yourself a name we're talking Leadership at the community level right? It's hard to take the "Leadership Brand" from your former workplace to the next one. You can to some extent, you're taking your skills with you, and perhaps a couple of shinning letters of recommendation. But at the new location, unless you find yourself landing on a new team that has a leadership void, you'll find some resistance to you being the leader and not the person(s) who are currently leading.

    Finally Authoring. This is the one I want to do the most, but cannot fathom how to break into. It seems to me that as things stand in the market now you already have to be a leader, who became a leader through blogging, research and speaking. Thus for me, it's at the end of my list.

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