Hello everyone! I hope this is in the correct forum. Please let me know if I'm in the wrong spot. I am looking for some advice in terms of career development, but rather than ask "What do I do?" I'm trying to get some feedback on some of the things that I'm doing/ planning on doing in the next year and to see if there aren't some things that I haven't considered.
I'm currently working for a tech firm as... some kind of SQL professional. I'm not clear on even what my job title is, but generally speaking I'm applying hot fixes to "data issues" that occur in client production environments, writing some reports and undertaking small projects involving data manipulation. I've been with this company for about a year.
About three months ago I started to really lose enthusiasm for the position. I'm paid relatively well for what I do and the company treats me better than my past employers, but the variety of problems that I'm asked to solve isn't very diverse and I feel like my technical skills aren't developing as quickly as I'd like. As much as I enjoy working here, the idea of being in this same role 3 - 5 years from now gives me with The Fear.
I'm not sure what particular role I want to pursue when it comes down to prod DBA, B/I, etc. just that I want to understand RDMS at a more fundamental level in order to get a more technically challenging position, at this company or elsewhere.
I'm currently reading through Itzik Ben-Gan's 'SQL Server 2012 T-SQL Fundamentals' and have ordered the exam guide for the MCSA Exam 461 (Querying SQL Server 2012) and Exam 462 (Administering Sql Server 2012 Databases).
Obviously, I'm on SqlServerCentral (and it's great!) and have started reading some of the blogs from the likes of Brent Ozar, Paul Randal and some others. I plan on starting a blog, getting on Twitter and generally trying to contribute and gain as much from the SQL Server community as possible, though I'm not quite sure the best way to do so as the knowledge gap between myself and the rest of the community is... daunting. I don't have a SQL Pass chapter in town, but there is a group south of me in Seattle that I hope to get in contact with.
I've set up an instance of SQL Server Express on my home computer and am designing and constructing a database that will help me process orders on Ebay for junk items that I have laying around; the goal is to build an application that will do something in the "real world" but I'll need to look into the license for Express more closely. Not sure if that would be breaking the agreement at this point.
I've started chirping at work about SQL Server installations and administration to see if I couldn't be involved in some form, even observing, but I haven't had much luck so far. Apparently we aren't exactly clear who is actually installing and administering all of these wonderful servers humming along at our client locations... or at least I haven't found out yet!
Am I misguided in pursuing any of these tracks? Am I missing a resource or resources that I should be taking advantage of?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and insight.