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How do you learn new things or keep current with SQL Server?


How do you learn new things or keep current with SQL Server?

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Tom_Hogan
Tom_Hogan
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Let me bore you with a little background story. I started with DBase III+, migrated to Access and eventually found my way to SQL Server (starting with 7). I'm pretty much self taught. I've had a chance to dabble with a lot of aspects of SQL Server (even some PL/SQL). I decided that I really enjoy database design and development so I've tended to specialize in BI and application development. I'm currently implementing a new BI solution at work using 2012. I felt a little overwhelmed today as I realized my "to-read" pile, both virtual and physical, was getting pretty large. I'm halfway through 2 books, three-fourths through another and 90% done with one more; I also have 15 - 20 blogs / articles in a "catchup" folder. Some are directly related to my current project and some are things I want to learn.

Once I got things back in perspective, I then wondered how other people keep current or learn SQL Server.

Generally, to keep current I get the SQL Server Central newsletter and follow several blogs (SQLBlog, SimpleTalk, SQLPerformance and Microsoft's SQL blog). For more in-depth experience with an area, I'll usually pick up a book dedicated to that topic. Of course, Google (or Bing) is always a help.

How do you keep current with SQL Server?
How do you decide what to read / follow?
How do you best learn new things?

Thanks.
lshanahan
lshanahan
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I'm pretty much the same, with the addition of downloading and installing SQL Server Express (free) or purchasing the Sql Server Developer version (available for around $60 or so) on my laptop at home and just playing around. You can try all kinds of crazy things and not worry about nuking anything important. I have a Developer 2005 sandbox at work to play with which, though it is starting to show its age just a tad, is still a great training ground.

I also attend PASS webcasts when possible and I'll be attending SQL Saturday in DC this December.

My job is becoming increasingly geared toward database administration and development and I generally read up on topics relevant to whatever project I'm currently involved in. I've been bouncing around the idea of finding more formalized training either online or at a nearby college.

____________
Just my $0.02 from over here in the cheap seats of the peanut gallery - please adjust for inflation and/or your local currency.
SQLBill
SQLBill
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I am lucky in that my company is always preparing to upgrade and is always looking for what the next version can provide us. So we are always installing the latest version in our lab and testing (playing) with it. That doesn't mean we are always on the latest version. We have to deal with the applications and which version they can work with. That's why we have SS2000, SS2005, SS2008, SS2008 R2 in production and SS2012 in testing right now.

-SQLBill



Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you keep current with SQL Server?


I've decided that it's too big to know everything and, as of 2008, is changing too quickly to keep up with everything about it so I don't even try anymore. Rather, I allow what is needed at work to be my driver. If something new comes up that I don't have a particular skill in, I check with Books Online, check with my assistant DBA (Google), or make stuff of my own up. :-D


How do you decide what to read / follow?


Same as above except that I also write my own articles on things that I've learned or discovered. Hehe


How do you best learn new things?


Necessity is truly the Mother of Invention. If I can't find it in Books Online or somewhere on Google, I write my own stuff to solve the problem. Sometimes it takes a while and it might end up being a composite of what I find in Books Online, on Google, and from a serious amount of exploratory code, but even if I'm not successful in solving a given task, I always learn a bunch from the research I did to try to help my brain wring out the problem.

This site and its sister site, "Simple-Talk.com" are both great places to learn new things. Like learning in any other skill area, it takes time, research, and practice. Leaving out any of the 3 will leave you learning quite a bit less.

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
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Sean Pearce
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TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you keep current with SQL Server?

User groups including volunteering to speak at the user group. SQLServerCentral, Blogs, Articles, Forums, Books, Newsletters, Twitter. I also enjoy technical chats with colleagues.

TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you decide what to read / follow?

Either a topic will grab my interest or I am specifically looking to solve a problem.

TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you best learn new things?

Applying knowledge at work. Reading about a topic doesn't work if you don't apply the techniques.



The SQL Guy @ blogspot

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Jo Pattyn
Jo Pattyn
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TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you keep current with SQL Server?

Mostly sqlservercentral, blogs including other technologies, and yearly ms community days
TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you decide what to read / follow?

Skip items included in enterprise versions
TWH (10/16/2013)
How do you best learn new things?

Practice and necessity
Koen Verbeeck
Koen Verbeeck
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TWH (10/16/2013)
I've had a chance to dabble with a lot of aspects of SQL Server (even some PL/SQL).


PL/SQL is Oracle ;-)

TWH (10/16/2013)

How do you keep current with SQL Server?


Mostly by reading blogs and articles. In a lesser extent books.
Occassionally I watch some videos on Channel9 or I go to trainings/conferences.

TWH (10/16/2013)

How do you decide what to read / follow?


Whatever comes into my RSS feed and that seems interesting. I usually have a big pile-up of articles I need to read :-)
I also follow some people on twitter and read what they recommend.

TWH (10/16/2013)

How do you best learn new things?


By doing it is the best way, but I also write a blog and some articles. This forces me to read up on those materials.
I also speak at conferences, which is a good way to do networking but also to dive really into a specific subject matter.
(teaching is the best method to learn!)


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OCTom
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I learn best just by trying things out. I do worst in a formal classroom setting. If I need to get started with the basics, I take a course, but, I really need to practice and play around. I use online resources a lot because I don't retain knowledge anymore like I used to. I also have a tough time with speed. It takes me awhile to learn something; to figure it out. I tried taking a boot camp style of course and I was a miserable failure. It was too much stuff in too little time. I don't understand how people can learn in that environment.
Sqlraider
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Attend User groups meetings and SQLSaturdays when I can. Use SQLServerCentral, SQLTeam, Google, Books, and Newsletters.

I decide what to dig into based on the current or next project I'm on at work.
Grant Fritchey
Grant Fritchey
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TWH (10/16/2013)

How do you keep current with SQL Server?

Lots and lots and lots of experimentation, reading and listening. I experiment with technologies I don't understand or need to learn more about. In addition to experiments, I'll post my results to my blog so that 1)I might remember what I did, 2)Others might learn from what I did. I read books online, articles and blog posts from trusted resources and announcements through various blog feeds that I follow, again, trusted resources.

How do you decide what to read / follow?

Experience. And asking others. Plus, attending local user group meetings to network and find out who others follow, SQL Saturday events, others such as SQL in the City, SQLBits, Connections, Intersection, Live 360, and the granddaddy monster of all events, the PASS Summit.

How do you best learn new things?

I think people learn differently. I learn best by doing. I can sit through a session, take notes, but I still haven't really learned it until I put stuff together and see it working on my own, with my queries.

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