I tend to agree with this post, for the most part. I've been working with SQL Server full time now for over six years, and I still feel very much like a beginner and that I don't know anything related to the platform. However, I am trying to keep up with everything; I spend hours during and outside of work watching webinars, attending SQL Saturdays, reading books, blog posts, and even tweets about the platform to improve myself. One of the big problems I feel I have is I can learn something new but lack the resources to get hands-on with it, play around with it, or it is not something I use in my job so it gets forgotten over time (if you don't use it, you lose it).
That's not to say I wouldn't love to play around with things and learn more; I do. I will always choose training and learning because I want to grow. But how do you train for performance issues when you can't afford a lab setup? How do you push yourself as a data professional when your workplace can't afford the licenses or just don't want to part with the resources of multiple servers (VM and SQL) to set up Availability Groups? And how do you retain that knowledge if you haven't used it in months after you learn it?
My workplace has a total of two in-house developed databases used for reporting. All the other databases are from vendors for their respective applications. I am basically an administrator of vended databases used by other departments. My main duties there are to ensure the database is available and backups are taken; there is limited tuning I can do, no index changes, my SQL writing and tuning is not needed, and once the databases are installed, I am mostly hands-off. I do monitor the systems daily. Unfortunately there's not much that ever happens that needs to be addressed.
I have a huge list of things I would love to be able to work with or learn, but for my job it just isn't needed. I would love to be able to do more exciting things in my position, and have often pressed to use more functionality when it really isn't needed. Which leads to another point; it often seems like management doesn't really care about employees improving their skills, or it's at best an extremely low priority for them. From my perspective in the few jobs I've had, management just wants automatons to push buttons and keep the lights on. I haven't had the fortune to work in an environment where innovation, or even keeping up with current trends, is highly valued. So any learning I do is for the sake of my own knowledge and my career, and I have very limited resources with which to do that on my own.
I am constantly striving to be better at SQL Server, but it's a struggle. Then again, anything worth having is. Right?