Some of you are still angry about my February 1 column, "Tough Love for SQL Server Newbies." To refresh your memory, I discussed the results of a SQL Server Magazine poll that posed the question: Do you have enough SQL Server training to adequately perform your job? The poll generated these results:
- 6 percent Yes, more than enough
- 27 percent Yes, but I could use more
- 13 percent No, but I'm getting more training
- 52 percent No
My tough response translated the "No" that 52 percent of voters cast into "I do a poor job because I don't have enough training, and I don't plan to do anything about it." Many of you wrote to me, and your comments were split down the middle. Half of you thought I was too easy on those who voted No in the poll. The other half suggested that I'm a mean, inconsiderate buffoon—or worse. Your response probably hinged on the meaning of the word "training."
Most people who wrote me and had cast No votes thought of training in the traditional sense of the word—employer-sponsored, time-away-from-work, classroom-based education. Those readers went on to describe the countless hours they've spent on their own time reading "whatever's necessary" to help them do their jobs better. One reader passionately defended his No vote and described how he spends most of his lunch hour reading a variety of SQL Server tomes because his employer doesn't provide enough company time or money for adequate skill development. So most of the people who voted No are learning and striving to do a better job, but they don't classify their homegrown efforts as training. I apologize to this group if my original comments ruffled your feathers a bit. But I'd like to risk another bout of the dreaded foot-in-mouth disease by challenging you to reconsider your definition of the word training.
There's always an exception to the rule, but remember that most employers couldn't care less about your professional development and success. Corporate budgets rarely include enough money for proper training, and the training and professional development programs that do exist rarely survive the cost-cutting ax. One reader pointed out these all-too-common Dilbert-like corporate attitudes: "We don't want to spend money training people until they're valuable (i.e., trained)." Or, "If we give people too much training, they'll be too valuable and will be recruited away from us."
Your parents were right when they said that life isn't fair. Unfortunately, you probably won't have great success in the computer field if you view training within an employer-centric model. I know your day is busy, but there's always an extra 10 minutes to learn something new. One new thing at a time, 10 minutes a day, might not seem like much. But learning a few hundred new things throughout the year certainly adds up. Becoming an expert in anything—including SQL Server—is a daunting task. But you can own your destiny and success. Train yourself one day at a time.
On a personal note . . .
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