Monday, January 18, 2010

What three events brought you here?

Another one of the DBA bloggers games of tag is occurring. I’ve been tagged by Grant Fritchey, who was tagged by Tom LaRock who was tagged by Paul Randal to answer the question; What three events brought you here.

And to copy Grant kinda, I could actually show you the building and floor where it all happened. My parents were driving me around the town that would be my college town, showing me the sights, and this is one that I wished they would have kept to themselves. I know live within 20 minutes of the room in which i was, uh, created. I know its creepy, and now you get to share with that knowledge with me as well.

Sometime in High School, I took a computer class, and was hooked. I never did the typical geek thing, buying machines and writing code. I just liked computers, and only was exposed to them during High School. From that moment on, i knew I wanted to work with them in some fashion. I never waffled from that decision. I went to BYU for a year, took 2 years to go on a mission (where I actually saw a computer in the last month in Argentina and thought that was so cool that they were down there too, finally). Once back at BYU, I continued my education, and actually purchased a computer. $3800 later, and many promises to pay my parents back, I had my first computer, purple text monitor and all. We all had a blast with it, and it came in real handy as we studied various computer classes. I look back at the price paid and shudder at the cost of computing.

While I was in BYU, one of the classes I took was a database class, and I do recall it seemed to click with me moreso than other classes, but for what reason I didn't know.

Later, in my first job, I recall there was 1 guy that had been given access to TableDLL.dll. Yup, that was its name. Love the 8 char names. This was the API that let 1 special magical person into the database. My thought was , why him? Why cant I get into this magical world that seems offlimits? Why not me? I never did gain access to that magical realm, but remained forever intrigued.

At my next job, I got to be exposed to Paradox, Flashfiler, SQL Anywhere, Sybase, and SQL Server 6.5 and 7.0. I was a programmer, a developer, a report writer, and a database guy. Generalist on all, exposed to most, and enjoyed working with the elusive database, finally. I got to create procs. I got to mess with users and logins. I got to do things that were amazing to me at the time, and still have some of the original code I wrote from this era, and it still works.

From then on, even though I hired as a programmer/developer, I was eventually known as the Data Guy. Never truly had the DBA title, but when push came to shove, I was the go-to guy to do database stuff. I was not truly a DBA, until I jumped ship to a DBA job, having already earned the respect of my peers and hiring manager as a Data Guy from experience. Once in the true titled job of DBA, I just kept going as if I had been here all my life.

At some point, I started attending User Groups, found my way to #SQLPASS, started volunteering, presenting, blogging, writing, and viola! here we all are.

So to summarize, High School - liked computers. College - liked computers and databases. 1st job - intrigued by database. 2nd job - started morphing into the Data Guy. Couple jobs later - became full fledged Data Guy.
I see Data. All over. In my personal life, in my church responsibilities, in my home. I created a database of food and recipes to organize our shopping habits and cut down food cost. I organized the people I ask to say prayers each Sunday at Church since July 2007. I can query who hasn't prayed in the last 3 months, or the last 3+ years. I have data for emergency preparedness information on my home computer, keeping track of who has a truck, a generator, medical experience, and so on.

Data is all around us. It can be captured, and helped to tell a tale, make a decision, assist in purchases, and so on. And thats just in your personal life. Not at work. Data all around. Why not capture it, store it, and use it? It helps that I get to make a living doing this, and I am not telling this tale like I am some demigod with data. Its just there, and I like it, and I enjoy playing with it. It started as small lists on paper when I was young, and now, its a little bit more than that.


Pat Wright (blog|twitter)

Joe Webb (blog|twitter)

Chris Shaw (blog|twitter)

Lori Edwards (blog|twitter)


Granted said...

Nice. Two years in South America huh? I'll bet that was interesting. You should share that one sometime.

paul said...

Cool story - thanks for sharing. I'd love to go to South America - one continent neither of us have made it to (yet!)