T-SQL Tuesday: Finding Inspiration
So, this month's T-SQL Tuesday is about highlighting the people that made a difference to me through my career working with Data Platform technology. A nod has to go to Ewald Cress, this month's curator, for picking a topic that has made me write up my first T-SQL Tuesday post. So, who are the people that have helped me on my path to where I am today?
First and foremost I have to say thanks to a SQL Server DBA by the name of Martin Henwood. He is not a community speaker or blogger, so don't feel bad if you haven't heard of him. He was the person who took me under his wing, so to speak, when I made the jump to working with SQL Server, and started my journey to become a Data Platform professional.
I was just taking my first role working for a large company and had moved from desktop support to an application support role. I was responsible for a set of applications and, to a lesser extent, the databases they relied upon. Martin had been covering the system support until I joined the team, and he provided a handover so that I could get up and running. From there he was always on hand to help me learn T-SQL, SSRS, and the fundamentals of becoming a DBA. His professional advice as well as a pragmatic approach really helped me understand the technology, and also how to navigate the corporate world.
I would like to give a shout out to Tony Rogerson in the UK. He was responsible for running SQL Server user groups out of Microsoft's UK HQ in Reading all those years ago, and is the person responsible for getting me involved with the community. He provided the catalyst to attend my first SQLBits in Manchester way back in 2009, where I attended a pre-con by Simon Sabin on performance tuning T-SQL. Getting involved with the UK SQL Server community led to me helping run the Southampton User Group, speaking, and ultimately meeting my amazing wife Steph.
When it comes to learning my trade, there are many whose knowlege I have drawn upon in blogs, articles, and training sessions. Two people that I have to say really helped me from a technical aspect are Grant Fritchey and Denny Cherry. One of the very first books that I got hold of for SQL Server was Grant's The Art of High Performance SQL Code, Volume 1: Dissecting SQL Server Execution Plans.
This book morphed into his SQL Server Execution Plans book and was exceptionally useful as I started tuning queries and getting SQL Server to do my bidding. From there I attended sessions at conferences, read the blog, and learned a lot. Today I find myself getting ready to do a stint on the PASS Board of Directors alongside Grant, and I'm still learning. Likewise, I have learned a lot from Denny over the years. Prior to meeting Denny, I always seemed to end up reading an article or blog post by him related to whatever it was that I was working on at the time and needed some help with. The diverse array of knowledge that he has shared has helped me to gain a breadth of skills that have stood me in good stead. In the intervening years, I have had the pleasure of sharing many drinks with both Denny and Grant, and long may it continue.
Finally, I have to tip my hat to Paul Randal and Kimberly Tripp over at SQLSkills. The blog content is always great and again helped either answer some of my questions or pointed me in the right direction. However, it was the training for which they are renowned that played a very large part in helping to accelerate my career. I had the good luck to attend two courses in London and one in Chicago, giving me huge insight into the internals of SQL Server that I still rely upon today.
Without all of these people, and more, I don't believe that I would be where I am today. The Data Platform community is full of great people who have something to contribute. Just because someone is not up front presenting sessions or writing blog posts does not mean they don't have something valuable to share. If it was not for one of these quiet people I would not necessarily be on this path I find myself today.