December 12, 2017

T-SQL Tuesday #97 – Setting learning goals for 2018

T-SQL Tuesday, started by Adam Machanic ( B | T ) of sp_whoisactive fame, has reached #97 this month and I’m at #1 for joining in even though I’ve been reading along for a couple years. This month it is hosted by Malathi Mahadevan ( B | T ). I’ve been following Malathi on Twitter for a while now. It’s always inspiring to see her posting new blogs about what she’s been learning with R. It seems fitting that the topic she chose is setting learning goals for 2018 and these are the 3 questions she wanted us to answer:

What do you want to learn? (specific skills and talents)

Everything. There is so much cool new stuff to learn about that I can’t even keep up. SQL Operations Studio, Adaptive Query Processing, Cosmos DB, SQL Graph are a few that come to mind. In the interest of brevity, I’ve decided to pick two things that I think will be most relevant in the immediate future. First, I want to learn more about the cool new features available with SQL Server 2017. We’re starting an architecture review and planning at work and upgrading our SQL Server licenses is included in that conversation. The more I know about how it can benefit me and the rest of our team, the easier it will be to convince our management that it’s worth the licensing costs. The second area I want to learn more about is in the various Azure offerings. We’re currently fully on-premises right now so I’m not getting to learn Azure on the job yet. I don’t expect the on-premises to go away anytime soon, but do expect a hybrid architecture to become part of my day to day sooner than later. Getting up to speed on that beforehand will make it a much easier transition.

How and when do you want to learn? (methods of learning and timeline on learning)

I plan on learning primarily online. That’s an intentionally generic answer because it encompasses several ways to learn. The DBA Fundamentals VG regularly has great presentations and I want to attend more of those. I’m guilty of registering for most of them, but only joining them every so often. I plan to actually block my calendar for those that I register for next year. I’ve been putting off the SQLWorkbooks courses until I “had the time”. Let’s make 2018 the time! I’m also going to group podcasts in to online learning. I have my app set to only download when I’m on WiFi so it’s close enough. For SQL Server specific topics, I regularly listen to Dear SQL DBA, SQL Server Radio, and Office Hours as well as some programming focused ones that occasionally cover Azure and SQL Server topics like .NET Rocks! and Coding Blocks.

The second way I plan on learning is attending in-person training. The monthly PASS meetings here in Memphis are always a good source for learning and the topics range across much of the Microsoft data technologies. As a new to me mode of learning in-person, I’m planning to attend a few SQL Saturday’s in 2018. I’ll be attending my first ever SQLSaturday #698 in Nashville, TN in January (Come say hello if you’re going to be there!). I’m also going to attend the one in Chattanooga, TN later in the year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze another one in as well!

How do you plan to improve on what you learned? (Putting it to use at work/blogging/speaking)

There are 2 main areas I want to focus on improving on what I’ve learned. Unfortunately, those two areas are not only included in Malathi’s examples, but also listed in the exact same order as my priorities. Very original, right? In all seriousness, applying what I’m learning to make me better at my job is my first priority. It helps that I truly enjoy my work, but the fact that it helps pay my family’s bills is strong motivation to get better at it.

The second way I plan to improve on what I’m learning is to blog about it. This one is easier said than done but I’m going to give it my best shot this year. This only makes my second post so far and both have been terrifying to actually publish. Both have only been opinion based so there’s not much that could technically be “wrong” with them, but I read what I’ve written and second guess every sentence. I’m hoping that goes away over time and in the process I improve my writing in addition to improving on the things I’ve learned.


I wish everyone taking part in T-SQL Tuesday #97 the best on achieving your learning goals in 2018!

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