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Archive for the ‘Life-long learning’ Category

Data Science Calling

Posted by rjssqlservernotes on September 17, 2014

Data science provides an exciting opportunity for database professionals to proliferate into a world of wonder. The field of data science represents the merging of distinct skill sets providing an opportunity for some self-education.


So, what’s a DBA to do? As IT professionals we have innate abilities to quickly adapt to the challenges of a new technical environment encompassing specific business domains; therefore, the ability to gain some level of “Domain Expertise” is assumed as is the “Computer Science” expertise. Most CS degree programs require significant mathematics expertise; however, not generally a serious focus on statistics; therefore, this sub-domain of the data science world may be a challenge as may be developing competency with machine learning algorithms.
However, I don’t believe that either machine learning or statistics would pose a challenge to most database professionals. Yes, extracurricular study will be required, but if your career, like mine, has required developing expertise in multiple programming languages, computing environments, tools, etc. then spending a few months learning isn’t novel. In fact, this self-training should be embraced as a means of enhancing our professional abilities; i.e. marketability.


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Education: A Lifelong Path

Posted by rjssqlservernotes on January 10, 2013

It is; and, has been, my belief that we are individually responsible for maintaining our capabilities in an ever-changing employment landscape in order to avoid obsolescence (i.e. unemployment). Continuous training is much more relevant for technical professionals where rapid technological evolution is the norm lest we find ourselves pigeon-holed into a dying niche.  The tools for continuous training can be found in reading a well-written book, participating in a web-based course with a live instructor, attending an in-person instructor-led class, or watching a well-constructed computer-based training module (Supporting Life-Long Learning with Constructivist Web-based Instruction).  The key principle in any method of delivery is that the participant is learning, expanding their understanding, and maintaining their relevancy in an ever-changing world.  Moreover, training is an investment, an investment with an enviable return-on-investment (ROI) as evidenced by research findings: “Companies in the top quarter in training expenditure per employee per year ($1,500 or more) average 24% higher profit margins than companies that spend less per year.”(HR Magazine)

So, what does all this mean for a SQL Server professional?  Recently, I was asked to rate my SQL Server abilities there was an awkward silence when I said “7”, maybe “8” on a good day.  When my counterpart described himself as a “10” I had to explain my response by saying that I believe the SQL Server domain is so vast that I did not feel that I could judge myself an expert in all aspects of the system.  I think this may be true for many technology professionals (obviously, my counterpart is the exception) which provides even those of us who work in current technologies with opportunities to learn.

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