Category Archives: Professional Organization

SQL Saturday Jax Was a Blast!

A personal ‘thank you’ to everyone who attended my session at SQL Saturday Jax yesterday; your excitement about starting (or continuing) your technical journey was inspiring.  A special ‘thanks’ to those who personally took the time to tell me that they were encouraged,  that they could create their own technical path to ‘fully employed’ as a result of the session.  I am truly humbled by your gracious comments.

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The slide deck for the presentation is now loaded to the SQL Saturday website: scroll down the page, find my session, and you’ll see the download option.  In addition, I’ve  included the slide deck with this blog post as well. Three Foundational Bricks PDF format

Many of you took the time to complete the session survey, thank you for your positive feedback!  There was one comment that caught my eye, and I want to address it briefly now, and hope to go into more detail with another blog post.  The survey comment asked the question ‘how to become fully employed but no work experience’.

The focus of yesterday’s talk was to provide you resources to get you started in the learning process, but the ‘experience’ question is a good one.  Until I can address this in detail with a future blog post, I’ll leave you with two ideas.  After you’ve learned your skills, volunteer your technical skills at a non-profit organization.

Non-Profits

Small non-profits usually cannot afford much IT support, so you volunteering your services would provide them with the technical services they need, and provide you with the ‘real-world’ experience you need for your training (and your resume).

Create a Portfolio

Should any of your training incorporate Power BI, you can show your reports and dashboards live on your Power BI site (which is free for a personal account).  Also, create some SSRS reports and capture them with screenshots; you can then embed the screenshots as part of your growing portfolio.

Let me know if delving further into this is of interest to you, and we can explore this in greater detail.  I would love to hear from you, so feel to leave comments/questions on what you’re interested in hearing about.  I’d like to explore Power BI Desktop and T-SQL basics you need to know in the coming weeks.

Before I close for today, you might want to sign up for IT Pro Camp on June 11th at Keiser University,  click here for more information.  20160507_085222_resized

So thank you for taking this technical journey with me as we continue becoming ‘technical’ together.  And consider signing up for new blog notices by subscribing at the Subscribe@ section to the left.   Until next time!

Susan Schneider lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her wonderful husband Steve. She enjoys sailing and is a ‘wanna be fisherman’, and loves all things BI.  See more information under the ‘About Me’ section.  Remember to sign up for new blog notifications:  Go to Subscribe2 on the sidebar and sign up!

Becoming Technical at Any Age: My First Steps and Your First Steps

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

My journey on the technical path began four years ago. The first part of my career was as a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, and the last twenty years I homeschooled my three children. Now that the two oldest had graduated university, and the youngest had started her freshman year in college, what to do now?

My husband Steve has been technical for the last twenty something years, so he often speaks to technical groups and at SQL Saturdays, PASS Rally, etc. Now I know what you’re thinking; she has a technical husband, so sure it’s easy for her to learn this stuff. Yes, Steve is technical and has the patience of Job, but teaching his wife for any extended period of time doesn’t work all that well. It might have something to do with my strong will, but we won’t go there right now. Suffice it to say, over the course of my technical journey, I’m learning to listen more and speak less!

Tabula Rasa for Technical

One year Steve was speaking at a local SQL Saturday, and he invited me to come with him. Not knowing much more than how to turn on my computer, I really was the ‘tabula rasa for technical’. He encouraged me to sit in on the ‘beginner’ sessions that day, just to get my feet wet and learn the terminology. After that, I started to attend our local Jacksonville SQL Server Users Group (JUSSG) each month. I had fallen down the ‘rabbit hole’ into a whole new world; I was hooked on ‘technical’ and wanted to learn more. So that’s the background for the beginning of my journey to becoming technical. You might be where I was four years ago, or you want to add more computer skills to your resume, or you are just out of college; regardless of where you are, you will glean important knowledge from this blog series. Now let’s get started.

Don’t I need a degree in computer science?

Many people believe that they must have a computer science degree to enter the technical field, but you don’t. Technology is changing all the time; we just need to get ahead of the curve. We’ll talk more about that in the next blog “Overcoming Obstacles”. In upcoming blogs we will discuss some of the following topics:

  • correct terminology and why it’s so important
  • different technical paths available
  • software options for the developer
  • free training sites and low cost learning sites
  • useful technical areas (T-SQL, Excel, BI, Oh My!)
  • how to self-train with technical books (specific books I’ve used)
  • how to develop a learning plan (roadmap for technical success)
  • how to dive deeper into the technical(passing your first MS exam)
  • creating your own brand
  • resume writing
  • how to prepare for a technical interview
  • and how to continue the journey

Don’t be overwhelmed; it’s time to get excited!

So why this blog?

At our last SQL Saturday event I encountered multiple people telling me they didn’t know how to get started in the technical field. Others, even in the technical field, didn’t know about all the free resources and software options currently available. After talking with them, I was encouraged to write this blog; hopefully to assist them and you on your own technical journey. It is my way of giving back to the community for all the help they have given me.

Reinventing oneself is a scary process, especially if you don’t know what to do. Your self-confidence might be lacking. Your work skill set might be out of date. You might not know how to explain the gaps in your work history; especially if you’ve stayed home to raise children. You might dislike your current job and want to do something different. You might be fresh out of college and need some ‘technical’ in your tool belt. You might just want a challenge.

First Steps: Join PASS, Locate a Local Group, and Start Visiting

I don’t know about other blogs, but you will have ‘homework’ opportunities with this blog. This week I want you to locate a local SQL Server User Group, and the best way to locate one is to visit the PASS website. Professional Association for SQL Server site helps you locate a group in your specific area, provides free online training, along with info about upcoming events like SQL Saturday.   In addition to locating a chapter, PASS offers Virtual Chapters like DBA Fundamentals, Business Analytics, Women in Technology, to name just a few. The list and opportunities goes on. If you’re in the Jacksonville area, come join us at JSSUG (Jacksonville SQL Server Users Group) each month. Well, that should be enough assignments for this week, so let’s get started!

Sign up for free membership to Professional Association of SQL Server (PASS) and search the PASS site for User Groups in your area. Find out when and where they are meeting, and start visiting the different groups; this is a great way to ‘get your feet wet’. Next time we’ll talk about ‘Overcoming Obstacles’ and the importance of correct terminology, along with more learning links. Remember, a journey begins with a first step; don’t focus on the long path ahead but the step right in front of you. You’ll get there!

Invite Some Friends

Maybe some of your friends might want to follow this blog; by all means, please let them know about it. A journey is better enjoyed with friends! You can also sign up to be notified when a new blog is posted in the series.   Look for ‘Subscribe2’ on the left-hand sidebar and click ‘subscribe’ to set up your ‘new post’ notification.  I hope you’ll join me on this journey into “Becoming Technical at any Age”. See you next time!

Susan Schneider lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her wonderful husband Steve. She enjoys sailing and is a ‘wanna be fisherman’, and loves all things BI.  See more information under the ‘About Me’ section.  Remember to sign up for new blog notifications:  Go to  Subscribe2 on the sidebar and sign up!