January’s T-SQL Tuesday is brought to us by Jen McCown (Blog|Twitter). This is great timing because she was just named a Microsoft MVP -congratulations Jen! For this month’s topic, Jen has asked the question “what techie resolutions have you been pondering, and why?”
As I mentioned in my recap of 2010 goals, I’m not a big believer in making New Year’s resolutions, and even if I do make them I don’t obsess and worry about them as the year progresses. So when I first read Jen’s topic for this T-SQL Tuesday, my first thought was “Great, I don’t do resolutions, now what?” Fortunately, it didn’t take long to figure out how to proceed.
With a little reflection, it occurred to me that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because changes in my life happen often enough that some (or all) resolutions become irrelevant. Also, Jen asked about techie resolutions, rather than resolutions in general.
So all I needed to do was come up with one or more techie resolutions that I’ll want to pursue even if I encounter (or initiate) some changes this year. This turned out to be quite easy. With some thought, I realized that I had already been planning to increase my skills in the following three technologies during 2011.
- Powershell – Thanks to sessions I attended and discussions I had with Aaron Nelson (Blog|Twitter) and Allen White (Blog|Twitter) last year, I’ve done some little helper scripts in Powershell and want to turn up my game here in 2011. I know enough now to have a feel for the capabilities. Thus, I increasingly encounter situations that could be addressed with Powershell, but they’re more advanced than my current level. So it’s time to increase my skills here. I think a good way to proceed would be to take some of my Windows .bat batch files that already work fine and replace them with Powershell scripts. This way, I don’t have to worry about time constraints in the way that I would if trying to use Powershell to create new solutions.
- BI Stack in SQL Server – In other words, SSIS (Integration Services), SSAS (Analysis Services), and SSRS (Reporting Services). I work in business intelligence, but we roll our own solutions. Last year I began wondering if these three components in SQL Server might be worth some consideration. So I attended sessions and seminars in 2010 to learn more about them. As with Powershell above, I’m hoping this year I can take an existing solution and try implementing it with one or more of SSIS, SSAS and SSRS.
- Get back in the Open Source saddle – Until a several years ago, I worked in a mixed Linux/Windows shop. Our plan was to gradually retire Windows and move everything to Linux. I mostly worked with Linux, Java, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Bash, Perl… It was a great time for me, because these were the technologies that excited me so much that I left doctoral study (I was working on my PhD in accounting) to become a software developer. I was so, so very happy. Until suddenly one day, we had a leadership change, and the word went forth that we were moving everything to Windows and Microsoft components. Overnight (see, this is the reason I don’t make resolutions) I was immersed in increasing my skills in .NET, C# and SQL Server. The good thing is that I enjoyed this experience, but the bad thing is I’ve let my knowledge with Linux and those other open source components get rusty. I need to remedy that, and it will be difficult because, unlike the first two items, this won’t fit in the things I do at work. Thus, I’ll be on my own here, which makes the motivation a bit more difficult. Note that I don’t want to stop working with SQL Server. It’s just that once upon a time I was working daily with SQL Server as well as one or two other database platforms. I want to be able to do that again.
So would I pursue these three interests regardless of what does or doesn’t happen in my work life this year? Yes, I definitely would. However, there’s an interesting thought that didn’t occur to me until discussing this post’s topic on twitter with Erin Stellato (Blog|Twitter) last week. As you’ve seen, I listed three items above. To be honest, it’s a somewhat ambitious list to fit into my schedule this year. What if I had to pick just one of these? Well, if I had to choose something just on its own merit, then there isn’t an easy answer. I could only make this choice in the light of some stated objective or goal. So that’s something that I’m now rolling around in my mind.
With that, I’m looking forward to reading all the other contributions to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday and seeing what others have resolved to do this year. Thank you very much to Jen McCown for hosting T-SQL Tuesday #14, and thanks again to Adam Machanic (Blog|Twitter) for coming up with this monthly event!