A Year in Provence

Not quite, but it sounds nicer than “Another rainy cold Year in the UK”.

Firstly let me wish you all a very happy New Year and secondly a big thank you to all of you who have been dropping by my blog and I sincerely hope you continue to do so. I’ve been seeing at least a 10% month on month growth in traffic since the start of the year and its the prospect that I might be producing something (however remote) of interest to someone makes my efforts even more rewarding. I would also like to pay my respects to all those other Bloggers in the Blogosphere who provide great content for me to consume – more on this in the next few days. Also lets not forget the Tweeps, and if you do both then a huge big-up to you!

I entered 2010 with a firm plan of what goals I wanted to achieve and what I was prepared to do in order to achieve them but I also realised that in order to achieve many or all of those targets a serious investment “in-self” on many levels was required. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are the pawns in someone else’s game and that our success or failure and development is dependant upon the actions and whims of other people. In reality this is just an illusion and the only barrier to your goals, desires and successes is yourself and your drive and effort to realise them.

During my entire IT career I have never been afraid of going that extra mile in order to learn or achieve a target and this would usually mean several things -it could be reading study materials into the early hours or paying for software, books, training or examinations out of my own pocket. Anyway after a lot of hard work and money this year, I can look back with an element of satisfaction of some of my achievements and hope for more of the same, but ideally an improvement on my performance.

Anyway without further ado, I shall detail the milestones of 2010 and targets for the year ahead.

New Accreditations

  • Achieved SQL 2008 Database Development MCITP (via exams 70-433 & 70-451)


  • Attended Oracle Database 11g: RAC Administration (paid for)
  • Attended and presented at SQLBits 7 (self-financed)
  • Webinar May SQL PASS 24 HOP (free)
  • Webinar September SQL PASS 24 HOP (free)
  • Attended SQLSocial UG meetings
  • Attended NxtgenUG meetings

Community Support

  • Increased Twitter participation in particular through #sqlhelp
  • Started to help out when possible answering questions on StackOverflow and ServerFault
  • Connecting with the SQL community and my contacts through LinkedIn
  • Increased blogging activity (I now try to post a minimum of 4 entries a month)

In many ways my participation with the community via Twitter and ServerFault and StackOverflow have completely replaced the demise of the MS SQL Server Newsgroups, but I still have found memories of playing a part in that community. I think my year has been fairly successful, and particular highlights for me were finally getting my SQL certification back up to date, presenting at SQL Bits 7 – which has opened up another world of possibilities for me and last but not least visiting once and for all the SQLPASS Summit. I have wanted to go to the Summit for as long as it has been around I did it!! It was costly yes, but was very worthwhile and with better planning I aim to reduce costs significantly for 2011.

The Year Ahead

There are so many things I want to achieve in the New Year that trying to capture them all in a relatively rushed post is probably not going to do myself any favours and I would be better giving myself a bit of time and planning to put it all together. Secondly there are things that I probably at this stage would not want to make public, so for now I will simply string together a quick list which I hope might serve to perhaps give a few of you some ideas for your own future targets. Anyway see what you think…

  1. Achieve my SQL 2008 Business Intelligence MCTS and then MCITP -this would then complete the holy trinity of the SQL Certifications and then leave the path open for some of my other targets.
  2. Study for the SQL 2008 MCM. From the position I am at now technically, and with my extensive experience in SQL, I think it is realistic that with enough effort, hard work and application the MCM is an achievable target to pass (when I say pass I really mean take!) before the year has ended. However where this might prove difficult is if I do not focus exclusively enough on SQL Server, which is something that I will have to watch out for. I can review my position on this again half way through the year.
  3. Watch every single SQLPass Summit Precon, Standard sessions and Postcons making notes along the way. I have already started going through a few of these and by the end will have got some great pieces of information to work from. This task is going to be made easier when those darn DVDs finally arrive!
  4. Watch every single SQLBits 6 & 7 sessions. Again I have already watched a fair few sessions and although substantially less in number to the Summit sessions are no less in quality.
  5. Present at least one session at one venue this year. Having done SQLBits 7 last year, it would be great to follow it up again this year with another session somewhere. This objective is currently less important than anything else at the moment due to the shear amount of time I would have to spend preparing and researching for any presentation that I’d do, but presenting is great for your own personal development and help it can give to others and so for those reasons alone I’d like to fit at least one in this year.
  6. Complete more technical books. The keyword here is complete as in read from start to finish. I’m very impatient and these days tend to have around 5 to 6 books on the go at the same time and tend to skim a lot. I have found in the past that I have only truly reached technical brilliance about a subject when I have read every single word written in technical literature. This is going to take more discipline and more of my time, but I need to make sure I serially read each book rather than trying to do it in parallel.
  7. Improve my blog. Hopefully this is “work in progress” but being the eternal perfectionist I see a HUGE room for improvement.
  8. Stay focused. Sometimes by trying to achieve too many things at the same time can mean that I am distracted from what is most important and what is less so. Very much like my technical reading I need to serialize a complete those most important tasks before moving onto the next one!
  9. Try to continue to embrace the SQL and .NET communities and increase my efforts where possible.
  10. Attempt to keep costs low.

Well I guess that’s everything for now, I hope you all have a great year and achieve all that you set out to do! I’m certainly going to do my best.

1 thought on “A Year in Provence

  1. Pingback: T-SQL Tuesday #014 – Start as you mean to go on |

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