I didn’t have many goals for this year, but there were a couple of big ones that took a considerable effort to get there. One of the things I did this year I never could have imagined I’d have the opportunity to do it. Another thing, I had been planning and preparing for it for years.
- Below are a few of the highlights of this past year for me.
- Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
- Became active on Twitter
- Moved blog to my own domain
- Helped design and write the new MCM exams and process
- Transitioned to a new role dedicated to providing SQL services
- My first presentation at SQL PASS Summit
- Became an active member of the SQL community
This had been one of my goals ever since I first heard about the MCM program. When I heard that it required 3 weeks and almost $20,000, I thought the certification might not ever be within my reach unless I could find an employer willing to pay for it. I knew my then current employer would never pay for it. This led me to start looking around at different opportunities.
I wanted to be ready if and when I found an employer willing to pay for the MCM program. I had a new personal goal of educating myself on my chosen profession. I didn’t just want to be good. I wanted to be one of the best. In 2009, I was convinced that I was more than ready for the program, and I was at a point where Microsoft was offering me a full-time position while at the same time another employer was offering me a position. The clincher in the decision for me was that Microsoft was willing to commit to sending me the MCM program. I was as good as on my way.
While working as a contractor at Microsoft for the previous two years, I had gotten to know Jimmy May (blog|@aspiringgeek), and he had talked to me quite a bit about the MCM program. Also leading up to getting enrolled, I had talked with Joseph Sack (blog|@josephsack) quite a bit and got a lot of guidance from him as well. I was looking good for the 2009 fall rotation of the MCM. Then a funny thing happened. The application I worked on was deemed critical to the release of Windows 7 and we already had one team member off for the month getting married in India. I couldn’t get the time away to attend the MCM.
I made into the March 2010 rotation. Going into the program, I had heard how hard it would be and how few people succeeded in completing it on the first attempt. I worked hard and dedicated myself to the program and made it through successfully.
So March of 2010, I finally made it to the MCM program. I had joined Twitter previously, but had not actually used it. Leading up to the MCM, fellow candidate in rotation 8 Brent Ozar (blog|@BrentO) become the 10th person to follow me on Twitter. I figured that it was time to start actually using Twitter.
I was surprised at how much fun Twitter was and at the cool things going on like the #SQLHelp hash tag.
I also made a concerted effort in 2010 to focus on my blog more. The more I blogged, the more I wished I could customize certain aspects of my blog. I had been blogging on the SQL Server Central platform for several years and decided it was time to move to my own platform. There’s still a lot of posts that need to migrated to the new blog (I’m moving them all manually).
As everyone should now know, there is a new path to the MCM certification. An even bigger honor than earning my MCM was being asked to help with the new MCM. I took part in the blueprinting sessions for the exams and helped write and tech reviews sections of the written exam and the lab exam. I spent 3 weeks of time working on the exams, which in the big picture was only a small drop in the total bucket, but to me, it was an honor to be asked to help create the new exams.
The position I accepted back in 2009 at Microsoft was as an Operations Engineer on an operations team. My focus in this role was as a DBA, but it wasn’t limited to only DBA duties. I performed all operational duties for the application including deployments, Windows administration, web/IIS administration, security, etc. On top of my regular duties, I also served as the technical lead for the SQL Virtual Team whose goal was to drive the SQL Server strategy across operations and to provide SQL services to the teams and engineers within operations.
At the end of July, I blogged about the new role into which I would be transitioning. In short, my role as technical leader of the SQL V-Team was becoming a dedicated role.
2010 was my first year presenting at the SQL PASS Summit, and I learned some great lessons about presenting. One of the key lessons I learned was about choosing your topic wisely. When I submitted my abstracts for the Summit, I submitted a topic that I was really eager to do and a topic that figured no one else would submit. In 2009 I had submitted abstracts related to database mirroring and high availability and the reason I was given for not being selected to present was that there were too many submissions for the topics I submitted.
One of my abstracts was selected for 2010, and it was the one on the topic that I figured no one else would submit. As it turned out, there was another submission selected that was very similar to mine. The submission that I had really wanted to do that was not selected did not have any sessions similar to it. When doing the presentation, I felt that I did not know the subject as well as I should and was not as comfortable as I usually am presenting that day.
I won’t repeat that mistake. Any submissions I make will be on topics I know very well. I’d rather not get selected than to present on a topic I don’t know as well as I should.
My first public presentation (outside of work) on SQL Server was at SQL Saturday #26 in Redmond, WA on October 3, 2009. I followed that up with SQL Saturday #43 in Redmond, WA on June 12, 2010. This year I have also presented to the Pacific Northwest SQL Server User Group/SQL PASS Chapter on September 8 and to the West Michigan SQL Server User Group/SQL PASS Chapter on September 28.
This year, I hope to present a lot more. I have submitted sessions for 2 SQL Saturday events and for SQL Rally.
In addition to speaking, blogging, and tweeting, I took part in other community events. I participated in nearly all T-SQL Tuesdays including hosting the July event. I also served as a faculty member of SQL University. I covered the Degree Seeker week and the Advanced Troubleshooting week.