I've never felt compelled to comment on SQL Server Central before, but this editorial is very personal to me. Long before I ever knew what a database even was, around the time I got my first Apple IIc, I caught my first wave. 30 years later and surfing is still as exciting to me as it was on that summer day in 1984. I feel the same way about databases and programming in general and I'm lucky, because the hardest part of my day is usually deciding whether to go in early to work, or catch the sunrise and some waves, depending on what alerts are hitting my email that is, my databases or Surfline.
"I saw someone post a note that working in technology is like surfing waves. As we learn and grow, we often feel that we can't slow down, or change directions very much. If we're a SQL Server DBA, we're riding that wave. Trying to slow our career, or move to another technology means (often) abandoning some of what has worked well for us. We really follow the wave we've chosen as often as possible, usually resistant to change. "
I decided to post because of the paragraph above. I joined the tech industry during the dark days of 2000 doing support for over-the-phone DSL installs. Since then I've built websites, configured telephony systems, worked in a PMO, in quality assurance, in finance, education, and the gaming industries. When I was first getting started in IT, I felt like I had very little control over my career and the path it was taking. In 2001, I knew that I wanted to "work with databases"; but I had no idea how to go about doing it, so I just kind of "paddled out", let the current take me where it would, and kind of just flopped around. In surfing parlance, I was a "kook". And in the years that have followed, I've worked hard to acquire the knowledge to do my job and as I learned a little more, it opened up new doors and I added to my bag of tricks. And as I've become a better developer/dba, I've personally experienced the opposite so that rather than feeling like "As we learn and grow, we often feel that we can't slow down, or change directions very much", I feel like I have so many more options available to me.
One of the things that separates a "surfer" from a "kook" is the ability to be in control of our environment and display some kind of mastery of our craft. In the water, I've seen so many terrible accidents occur because of a novice flailing around, without any idea of what they are doing, completely out of control and at the mercy of the wave, and anyone who's in the way, watch out! I can't count the times in IT I've witnessed a knee jerk reaction to a problem or a poorly thought out execution that has resulted in client and end user impact. Experienced surfers practice the same moves over-and-over-and-over again until they're sure that they've got it right. And they do it in a rapidly changing environment with constant resetting of benchmarks and milestones. Sounds familiar, huh?
I used to get disheartened when I'd read Grant Fritchey, or Brent Ozar, or Gail Shaw; thinking I would never be as "good" as they are. And then I met some of them and figured out that they were just regular folks who were dedicated to what they do. Professional surfer Taj Burrows wrote, "the only difference between you and me is time in the water and commitment." When you see a surfer in the water who makes it look easy, who can use the whole wave and even the air above as their personal playground, who can turn on a dime, stall into a barrel, or throw buckets; you are looking at someone who spent years and years mastering those skills.
Experience counts. Slide On