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!

“How to Become Technical at Any Age: Introduction.”

Welcome!  This blog is dedicated to showing you how you can become technically proficient in the computer realm, with an emphasis on Business Intelligence, at any age.

Really?  Is that even possible?

Yes it is, and that’s the reason for this blog.  I did it, and you can too!  First, I’d like to tell you a little about my journey and what prompted me to start this blog.  Then, I’ll whet your appetite with some upcoming topics in the series.  Finally, well there is really no ‘finally’; because in the technical field, you never stop learning.  Let me restate that: if you want to excel in the technical field, it will require a lifelong love for learning.  Think of it this way: more technical know-how leads to more money.  I got your attention with that one, didn’t I?

Join me on this exciting journey to ‘Become Technical at Any Age!”

Do you have friends who could benefit from this blog series?  If so, let them know about the site.  A journey is best shared with friends.

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!