describe what makes me special, err, specialized, in my career (hint, it's not my wardrobe).
Like many of you reading this, I can do a lot of IT-related things. I can write HTML. I can build a web server and setup a web site. I can build and manage a network. I can configure a router. These are all skills that I've picked up along the way throughout my career. I've been the proverbial "jack of all trades", even gone so far as being "the" IT guy at a previous employer. In fact, at one point in the late 90's, I was planning to become a network administrator, and even obtained my MCSE on NT 4.0.
Around the same time, I was beginning to discover this great product known as SQL Server. I had been a long-time database developer, working with cutting edge technologies like Foxpro, Clipper, and the ever-popular dBase. One of my creations was a web-based help desk, running traditional ASP talking to a Foxpro database. This worked well for a handful of concurrent users, but it quickly became apparent that something different would be needed. Enter SQL Server 6.5.
The help desk app was modified to run against SQL Server, and I became fascinated with tuning the beast. I thought Visual Foxpro was cool, but this was taking things to a whole new level. It wasn't long before we upgraded to SQL Server 7, and I was completely hooked. This was how I wanted to spend my time. Unfortunately, beyond the help desk app, there wasn't going to be a lot of opportunity for me to focus on SQL at the current employer, so I decided to part ways. I interviewed for, and was offered, a position as a pre-sales engineer for a web portal product that used SQL Server as its backend database platform. I accepted, and packed up the family for the 900 mile move from Ohio to Minneapolis.
That was 13 years ago. Since then, I have continued to sharpen my skills with SQL Server. I'm now the senior DBA for a 24x7x365 global company, with a very busy OLTP system, backed by seperate SQL and Oracle data warehouses. I've come a long way since the Foxpro days, I've become quite skilled with T-SQL and the SQL Server platform, but there is SOOOO much more to learn. If I were to rank myself on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd put myself at a 6. There are parts of SQL Server that I've never touched, simply because we have no use for them in our environment.
These past few months have brought about an unexpected shift for me. I've found myself playing the role of mentor, teacher, trainer, not only to the other DBA's on my team, but to the entire development and QA groups within the company. Equally unexpected, I'm branching out into public speaking! I'll be participating in the upcoming 24 Hours of PASS (more on that later), and presenting at least once at a SQL Saturday event. Seemingly overnight, I've taken huge strides down the path towards becoming a SQL Server specialist. It's where I wanted to go all along, but I'm not sure I saw it coming. It has been, and will continue to be, a heckuva ride so far!