Q1 2011 Goals Update: Career Indecision Ahoy!

I tossed around whether or not I wanted to make update posts like this one throughout the year. I can come up with arguments for both sides, and decided to not make a firm choice one way or the other: Basically, if something big has happened in the last quarter as it relates to the goals, then I’ll talk about it. If I’m bombing terribly, it will get saved for one big “look how much I suck” post at the end of the year. In this case, since things are a lot more muddy than I expected right now, I thought I would talk about it a little bit.

First, for a quick recap, here are the high-level things I’m after in 2011:

  • Pick a career direction
  • SQL-related travel
  • Do more experimentation/work with SQL at home
  • Read more
  • Keep the blog going at a decent rate
  • Ride the bicycle
  • Start flying again (this sort of depends on cash situation)

These were covered in my original Goals post, and the first one, career direction, was followed up with on T-SQL Tuesday #14. Lots of these build on each other, with almost everything being dependent on career direction, because of the way my personality works and related improvements that will (theoretically) bring.

On that note…

On picking a direction and sticking to it: Help, it’s dark and scary

Long story short, I still haven’t made a decision. This fails my goal of getting this done by the end of the first quarter. The BI option is starting to take shape, but it’s not turning out to be quite as cut-and-dried as I had thought it was going to be (of course).

There are a lot of moving parts here, with a lot to consider. I’m trying to work through this logically, but I’m not the best at things like this that don’t have clear answers. I’ve taken the steps of listing out pros and cons of each side, but honestly, neither option really stands out as better than the other one.

Going BI has the leg-up as being “what I’ve wanted to do since I was an Accidental DBA”, but even that is tempered: The only part of the MS BI stack we’ll be using long-term is Analysis Services. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been really excited by SSAS and if I had to pick one totally new thing to learn in Data Land, SSAS and MDX would be it (I can count those two as one thing, right?). But that’s all we’re using. Its source Dimensional model will be on Oracle. Most of the source data will come from Oracle, as there’s not very much SQL Server.

I will learn a lot of platform-independent BI stuff, which would be great…Except, at the end of the day, I’m mostly a tool/platform guy, and this isn’t going to be a lot of my desired platform. I’m worried about causing problems for myself over the long-term.

I’m frustrated, which of course doesn’t help at all. I’ll talk more about this when it’s all done and over.

SQL Travel

Wellllll, there hasn’t been any. Should we have gone to SQL Saturday #70? Probably. Would it have been great to hang out with the cool kids at #67 the other weekend? Oh yeah. Is SQL Rally going to happen for us? Questionable.

But there is good news on this front: I think the dog sitter bit is worked out. This opens up the door a lot, and we’ve been eyeballing SQL Sat 77 in Pensacola and 75 in Columbus. I also just noticed that Birmingham’s date has been set & they’re going to be #81. That’s really close, too. Surely one of these three will fit on the schedule & in the budget.

That’s pretty much it. I know, not much progress, and a bit of outright failure. Spring is here, though, and that means a generally better mood; almost guarantees more progress.

2 Responses

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  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself–actually getting started on a bunch of new paths is hard. In terms of picking a direction, maybe looking to your heroes (any and all of them) and thinking about what parts of what they do appeal to you might help? Also, I’d recommend reading Rands’ latest post, which just happens to be about the challenge of preparing to get started on something new.
    http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2011/04/04/a_hard_thing_is_done_by_figuring_out_how_to_start.html

  2. It’s funny you mention “heroes”… One of the reasons that I’m so torn on this is because, as it turns out, I love doing SQL Engine work (ie, straight-up DBA). I think this is due to me finding out how much I didn’t know about databases & SQL when I left my semi-sysadmin job, which became apparent after talking to our Senior DBA for about 35 seconds and becoming more invovled in the SQL community online.

    If it weren’t for my “heroes”, I’d be running faster towards BI with this opportunity in front of me!

    I’ve got Rands’ post open here & will definitely check it out… Thanks for the heads-up on that. 🙂

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