Tuesday, July 13, 2010

T-SQL Tuesday #008: Gettin’ Schooled

T-SQL Tuesday is the brain child of Adam Machanic (Blog|@AdamMachanic). Adam bestows the honor of hosting T-SQL Tuesday upon one lucky blogger each month, this month, the host is SQLServerCentral author and MCM, Robert Davis (Blog|Twitter).
Learning to program isn’t easy, and like the old saying goes, “you never stop learning”. I don’t know if I’m the first to mention, but I never had an intention to “learn” SQL. When I first dove into programming, I remember I created applications that would calculate risk factors and call shell commands or print a batch of documents according to risk priority numbers. It wasn’t until I had to SAVE records that, like many beginners, I created a few tables on MS Access 98 and used DAO to connect via Visual Basic. But up until then, I only had C++ and Visual Basic courses under my belt, not to mention QBASIC. The architecture began to get more complicated, and I was suppose to stop using DAO and VB and use ASP, ADO and a database called, SQL Server 7.0. This was the “Hard Knocks” call, realized I didn’t learn any of this in school. So I ran to Barnes and Nobel one night and figured, with this book, I’ll be ready by morning.

Of course, that was not the case. I did however, learn to create a database and tables with this book. When it was time to code views and stored procedures, there was nothing better than actual test and debug. I will have to admit, and to this day, the reference site that taught me the most was www.w3schools.com. I used that reference at that time I had to learn ASP, ADO and SQL. And to this day I use it for CSS, HTML5, JavaScript and PHP.
Books are good learning tools, and I have a large collection of them, from Distributed Programming in VB 6, Programming C# and Linux Cookbook to Oracle DBA and ADO.Net.
A more modern day method of learning is in the way of the Internet via crowd sourcing. When one crowd sources, they use Twitter or Facebook for instance and reach out to a network for help. I been doing my recent learning from Tweeps (Twitter Peeps) I follow, via #sqlhelp hash tags just to name a few. When you crowd source, you usually get a response from a friend or follower or a link to a site that will answer your questions. This is where you get recommendations to blogs. When you connect with friends on social networks, you find an array of resources to continue your learning, such as webinars and user groups of the subjects you are trying to learn.
I now do most of my recent learning via the web. I will add that formal education is in fact the social norm of learning. When I first went to college, I got a degree in Mass Communications. I decided to return to school to enhance my enthusiasm with computers and took programming classes at a community college. All in all, Books, web sites, webinars, Crowd Sourcing, social networking and formal education make for a good combination of learning.
What am I currently learning and how
I am learning BI (Business Intelligence) for SQL Server 2008 now, I reference the online community and crowd source for knowledge. Although, I did buy Microsoft’s Smart Business Intelligence Solutions with SQL Server 2008 by Langit, Goff, Mauri, Malik and Welch, I do plenty of online learning. I’m don’t negate that books are not as effective, did I mention, a few of the Tweeps I follow are very successful book authors in SQL Server. I recommend the Learn Microsoft BI site and Pragmatic Works webinars. And connect with some of the experts via Twitter or Facebook, ask and learn.


  1. Nice to see the evolution of your learning over the years!!

    I'm another published author the you follow. :)


  2. I think your story is very common. I'm one person who went from developer, to database developer, to learning about Business Intelligence too.

    It's natural to be introduced to this area this way and the programming background helps out more often than I realize.