I stumbled across a great blog post by Jeffrey Yao that really got me thinking. It was called "Database Administration Skillset Investment Rules" and talked about how you should continue to grow your skills and where it makes sense to spend time. Jeffrey starts out with one very true statement : it's almost impossible to learn everything there is to know about SQL Server. With the breadth of the platform now, from SSAS to SSIS to SSRS to Service Broker and replication, there is a tremendous number and amount of capabilities that defy almost everyone's ability to be an expert in them all.
So given the situation that you cannot actually become an expert in every part of the platform, or even some skilled in all of them, where should you concentrate your efforts? Jeffrey has some ideas, and I tend to agree with them.
The first place Jeffrey advocates is a place where you can improve your professional visibility and the second is in improving your work visibility. I think both of these are important, and which one you focus on depends on your situation. If you plan on staying at your current job for some time, I'd focus there. If you are planning to look for another job in the next year or two, I might look to beef up skills in preparation for that.
Jeffrey also talks about improving your skills in an area that will save you time. In some sense, I think this should be your highest priority. If you can save time somehow by writing better SQL to reduce calls or by automating some of your tasks, then you might have more time to work on additional learning.
No matter where you choose to improve your skills, the important thing is to keep improving those skills. As long as you are a technology professional, you need to constantly be learning about the new types of software and platforms that we use.
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