How to relaunch my career?

  • I'm a Database Developer with about 8 years of experience, working for a small product company in Brisbane, AU. I've been here for less than a year and I feel that my skills are under utilized. At the moment, I'm doing mundane tasks that don't need my expertise, but no one else can do; and it's not going to change anytime soon. The work that I want to be doing is shipped offshore because that's where the organization's interests lie. I'm paid well enough and I should be happy, except that I am not!

    I'm no genius, but I am fairly good - good enough to have had a consulting job at one of the top banks. I want to up my game, because I feel that my dissatisfaction is partly due to knowing that I can do better. I want to be working for top companies and hopefully become a Data Architect eventually. I would really love some feedback that could help revive my career.

    I have decided to do the following:

    1. spend more hours learning

    2. do more blogging

    3. possibly get MS certified (was never a fan of this, I should confess)

    https://sqlroadie.wordpress.com/

  • A suggestion would be to also get out to user groups and conference-type events. See what's going on in your area, do a bit of networking with colleagues-for-other-companies, see if there's anything going.

    Get out, meet people, talk to people, present, teach, learn. And that's just on one day. 🙂

    If there isn't a local user group, then hunt around and see if there's the demand for a group and get one going...

    Thomas Rushton
    blog: https://thelonedba.wordpress.com

  • Sounds like your current place of work is not where you want to be.

    Decide on what sort of position you would like next and then get your CV up to scratch, targeting that role.

    Decide on your preferred location, casting your net as wide as you can.

    Now start scouring the job boards and sending your CV out. With eight years' experience, you should be in a strong position.

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.
    See https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/forum-etiquette-how-to-post-datacode-on-a-forum-to-get-the-best-help/ for details of how to post T-SQL code-related questions.

  • ThomasRushton (2/19/2016)


    A suggestion would be to also get out to user groups and conference-type events. See what's going on in your area, do a bit of networking with colleagues-for-other-companies, see if there's anything going.

    Get out, meet people, talk to people, present, teach, learn. And that's just on one day. 🙂

    Where would you find these people and groups, events? I was actually looking too for networking in the internet and then I found this forum, so I give it a try.

    But where do you look for other groups or networking events near by? I'm actually from Copenhagen and interesting in deep BI architecture or DWH modeling 🙂

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Im working as a Business Intelligence Specialist and mainly with Microsoft BI and data warehousing but also with Oracle Databases. I like working with the data and it is my passion to get more out of the data.

  • A quick Google search led me here[/url]. I'm sure that you can find others.

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.
    See https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/forum-etiquette-how-to-post-datacode-on-a-forum-to-get-the-best-help/ for details of how to post T-SQL code-related questions.

  • Thanks for your valuable inputs. I think I can join the local user group, that's a really good suggestion. I have a vision for where i want to be 5 years from now, so I'm not in a hurry.

    In the past I have changed jobs frequently, whenever I found the work boring or learning curve stagnant. While it has helped me improve technical skills, I feel like a drifter. I joined my current job hoping to stay and help the company grow, but a bunch of false promises has got me in a really tricky situation. If I do change my job, I will keep your advices in mind, thanks Phil.

    PS: title should have been how to revive my career! I hope that there are others in a similar situation and they will find this thread useful too.

    https://sqlroadie.wordpress.com/

  • Arjun Sivadasan (2/19/2016)


    Thanks for your valuable inputs. I think I can join the local user group, that's a really good suggestion. I have a vision for where i want to be 5 years from now, so I'm not in a hurry.

    In the past I have changed jobs frequently, whenever I found the work boring or learning curve stagnant. While it has helped me improve technical skills, I feel like a drifter. I joined my current job hoping to stay and help the company grow, but a bunch of false promises has got me in a really tricky situation. If I do change my job, I will keep your advices in mind, thanks Phil.

    PS: title should have been how to revive my career! I hope that there are others in a similar situation and they will find this thread useful too.

    Yes, I understand that point of view and you should be prepared to back up your reasons for changing when questioned about it. Be positive when you do this (don't complain about lack of opportunities at your current place, instead, highlight the better opportunities at the new place).

    If the answer to your question can be found with a brief Google search, please perform the search yourself, rather than expecting one of the SSC members to do it for you.
    See https://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/forum-etiquette-how-to-post-datacode-on-a-forum-to-get-the-best-help/ for details of how to post T-SQL code-related questions.

  • Practically everyone who has been in the industry for more than a handful of years has found themselves in this position at some point. However, it's important not to get discouraged and come to the conclusion that stuck where you are. It's a big world out there.

    First: study, study, study. I do think that MS certification is a good idea, because it provides a comprehensive and structured framework to use as a guide, and then at the end you have an exam that proves to yourself and others that you know the stuff. Yes, there are some posers out there who find a way to hack through the procfess without having acquired the knowledge or experience to back it up, but I don't think that's you.

    Also, try to leverage your current position. If you are indeed the person with the most (if not only) database development experience within your organization, then it stands to reason that you should be primarily responsible for the architecture of any database initiatives going forward. You need to accept the organization's decision to outsource the bulk of their software and database development; I'm sure that's a financial decision on their part. However, the organization needs to accept that you should be the one that assumes a team leadership role for that group. Even if the odds are low that this will gain you anything here and now, you should at least play that strategy out before you consider pulling up stakes and moving on to another employer. If nothing else, it will make you feel better knowing you at least tried, and it will provide you with a compelling narrative when asked by a potential employer why you're choosing to leave your current position.

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • I'm not very familiar with Australian geography but I would advise being willing to move and look for opportunities accordingly, there can be some surprisingly good opportunities in unlikely places. There can be major companies in places where the job candidate pool is smaller that will be willing to hire someone with less than 100% of their criteria.

    Also be willing to look for a company that's not quite sure exactly what they need, that's not necessarily a bad thing and it will give you an opportunity to define your own role in the company. It sounds kind of like the company you're working for now had a clear role in mind for you and wasn't planning to expand on it.

  • Thanks Phil, that's a good point. I will pitch that.

    Eric, I think I might just give MCSE a go. What put me off in the past was a few candidates I interviewed were certified and couldn't answer basic questions, kinda made me question purpose of the exam. I'm not a fan of warehousing, so the exam on that makes me feel a little doubtful, but I agree it makes one learn in a structured way and that's always helpful.

    At my current organization, I was roped in as the DB Guru to replace an ageing founder resource, to handle development, migration, tuning and some administration; however, I am doing a lot of admin, migration, application support and hardly any tuning or development. All new dev goes offshore, functional training is only offered to offshore. The design is alright, coding is bad. I'm talking about triggers spanning thousands of lines, a lot of SPs with 2-4k lines of code. I tried to tell them disadvantages of using temp tables and rewriting code using CTEs and I got told I'm silly. I showed hundreds of processes waiting at temp table inserts, but that doesn't convince them, so yeah I guess I'm at the wrong place. After reading your post, I have made up my mind to speak to the dev manager and try to get my concerns addressed. As you said, it's better to have tried and lost. Thanks.

    https://sqlroadie.wordpress.com/

  • Phil Parkin (2/19/2016)


    A quick Google search led me here[/url]. I'm sure that you can find others.

    And here is another great resource for free learning: http://www.sqlsaturday.com/[/url]


    Hugo Kornelis, SQL Server/Data Platform MVP (2006-2016)
    Visit my SQL Server blog: https://sqlserverfast.com/blog/
    SQL Server Execution Plan Reference: https://sqlserverfast.com/epr/

  • I'm likely going to catch heat from this here, but oh well, here is my 2 cents.

    I was like you and wanted to transition into data architect. It was my career goal to move out of SQL Developer into either Data Engineer or Data Architect. The reason was different though. It was because the tasks I was currently doing did not reflect what I was actually supposed to be doing on paper.

    When I was first on the path of being SQL Developer, I previously made a goal to become a master at SQL Server. Silly I know, but I really wanted to learn as much about the technology as possible. Unfortunately, when I decided that I really wanted to specialize more in data engineering or architecture, I quickly found that the world was not flat. I needed more knowledge outside of just SQL Server. There is simply too many other technologies that have better advantages as the proper tool than SQL Server.

    So, my advice to you is to not just focus on what's in front of you right now. Look at what's down the road. For example, I've put more of a focus on NoSQL, Python, R, MicroStrategy and AWS than pursuing more of SQL Server. This is not because I have mastered the Microsoft stack. This is because architecture is expanding beyond one piece of technology or stack.

    The value in the career is the holistic approach. That's the value add.

  • Thanks Hugo. I've seen the posts before, but never gave it much thought. It looks very interesting.

    7sinz: Thanks for your perspective. I agree that it is silly to go all in for one product, however I do believe that learning more SQL (internals) will only help in learning other products out there. Also, I'm looking to work hands-on only for so long, so I'll keep your advice in mind when I spread out. For now, it's more digging for SQL gold.

    https://sqlroadie.wordpress.com/

  • Arjun Sivadasan (2/21/2016)


    7sinz: Thanks for your perspective. I agree that it is silly to go all in for one product, however I do believe that learning more SQL (internals) will only help in learning other products out there. Also, I'm looking to work hands-on only for so long, so I'll keep your advice in mind when I spread out. For now, it's more digging for SQL gold.

    Yes and no. SQL Server is a great RDBMS that's worth the time invested due to the market share it retains. But, don't fall into the trap that a database is a database is a database. SQL Server does spoil you and does let you get away with murder compared to other technologies out there. (ref: Windows versus Linux).

  • SQL Saturday, already linked, is one great resource to expand your learning. If you're trying to track down a local user group, I recommend searching through the Chapters list at PASS. PASS is a non-profit organization that supports data professionals in training and networking. They also have virtual chapters that meet regularly online. These are good resources to start your learning. If you are feeling confident and want to up your game, then volunteer to present a topic for the local user group or a virtual chapter. They're always looking for people to present and it's a great way to learn.

    Another option not mentioned is publishing articles here on SQL Server Central. If you think you have something to teach about any topic within the Microsoft Data Platform, this is a great place to practice your writing.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

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