Many times, over the years I’ve had conversations with people in which they have said things like below.
“I can’t learn anything new because my work won’t send me to training”
“I can’t learn about xyz because my boss or coworkers won’t sit down with me to show me how”
“I don’t have time to learn anything new”
“We’ll never go to the cloud, so I don’t need to know that”
“I’m too busy just putting out fires, I can’t leave the office to go to training”
“I can’t learn anything new because my work won’t pay for training”
“My free time is my own. When I’m not at work, I don’t want to think about databases”
“I’m too burned out, to learn anything new”
“It’s just not a priority for me right now”
If you can hear yourself saying any of these, I want you to stop right here and reread the image above several times. If you make excuses like these, you will get nowhere fast and likely become disgruntled which can lead to feeling trapped. If you wish to have a career and not just a 9-5 job it is critical you invest in your own training.
Now many of us don’t have the money to pay for things like week-long conferences or expensive hands-on training, I get that. There are other ways to get training, it’s not necessary to set your target on those. Start small. I challenge you to read one blog a day, that’s it. By doing that simple thing you vastly increase your knowledge. I’ll list a few of my favorites at the end of the blog.
Next, be sure to attend your local user groups, Code Camps, or SQL Saturdays. These are usually free to attend in-person training opportunities on various topics, not to mention it’s your chance to network with other technology professionals. At these events, talk and engage people, as you never know when one of those conversations may lead to your next career opportunity. That’s a win-win. An added benefit is that usually these types of events provide you with motivation to further your own professional development. You’ll be surprised on how they will affect your outlook on work and learning. If you can’t make it out of the office or home for training, did you know there are many virtual training opportunities available like PASS’s virtual user groups ? These are live training sessions, much like those at SQL Saturdays, given during lunch hours or after work. They are also often recorded so you can watch them when its more convenient.
Lastly, do yourself a favor and join Twitter. So many of us in the SQL Community are out there learning from each other every day. Bloggers tend to leave breadcrumbs for learning.
We post links to our newest blogs.
We note things like Currently Reading: xyz Blog Topic with a link to that blog.
Follow the #SQLHELP hashtag. We are all out there helping each other trouble shoot issues and providing references to answers. This is a fantastic place not only to find help, but to learn.
These are just a very few things you can easily do to start investing in yourself and your training. Below I have listed sites for free or low-cost training, links to great blogs you may want to start with. However, you start… the point is to START. Stop complaining and making excuses and just go for it.
I started out working at the Port of Virginia with ZERO SQL Server Database Admin experience straight out of college. They sent me to a SQL Server bootcamp, (the only training I EVER got from them in 12 years) in which after, I took my certification exams and I was off and running with no more training. As we know, when you attend training like that, it’s really just a ton of topics thrown at you, an exam is taken, and nothing is really digested. In order to be successful and keep the Port’s databases running as their only DBA, I had to invest in myself and my own training. If it wasn’t for me taking the time to self-train I would not be where I am today and my tenure at the Port would have been disastrous.
SQLPass – pass.org
SSWUG – https://www.sswug.org/
LinkedIn Learning- https://www.linkedin.com/learning/
Microsoft Virtual Academy – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/training.aspx
MS SQL Tips – MSSQLTips.com
SQL Server Central- https://www.sqlservercentral.com/ (stairways series are good for beginners)
Denny Cherry and Associates Consulting- https://www.dcac.com/publications/blog
MS SQL Tips- https://www.mssqltips.com/
Simple Talk- https://www.red-gate.com/simple-talk/
SQL Performance- https://sqlperformance.com/
C-SharpCorner – https://www.c-sharpcorner.com/
Each day I learn something new, I take the time to invest in my knowledge and career. No one has to tell me to do this. I want more out of a job, I want a career, so I make one. As the quote above say, I am unstoppable, there is no reason you can’t be too. I understand that this is a personal choice and it is perfectly fine not to want this, but don’t complain while doing nothing. While there are exceptions to the rule, most companies don’t care about your career trajectory. HR is there to protect the company from lawsuits, not to help you. You are the only one responsible for managing your skills and career, and if your company isn’t investing in your training, you need to do it yourself.