T-SQL Tuesday #150: Is that a Tech Job?
May 10, 2022
I thank Kenneth Fisher (Blog|Twitter) for hosting T-SQL Tuesday #150. The topic for this month is your first technical job(s). I also want to acknowledge Adam Machanic’s vision behind this project. I learned a lot from some of the T-SQL Tuesdays and participated in a few. Thank you, Steve Jones (Blog|Twitter), for coordinating this program. If you are interested to see previous topics, visit here.
Ken acknowledges most DBAs don’t start out working with databases. Asked to tell us how did we start?
I started my working career in merchant ships as a trainee when I was about 20 years old. I worked in Merchant Navy for 11 years in various capacities. Computer and Hyperbolic function was a big part of our job. The computer was used for loading cargo, calculating stability (center of gravity of the ship), navigation, forecasting weather etcetera. We always kept our memory sharp with the manual calculation of celestial objects in case we lost our GPS and other navigation equipment. During my First Officer training at South Shields Marine School, United Kingdom, I did a large-scale project solely on computers. Soon after that, I bought my first laptop Toshiba Satellite series with a 2.1GB hard drive for $2500. I am not sure if any of the readers will consider this as a tech job, I guess no as I was only a user of technology but not creating it.
When I moved to the USA, I went back to school to get a Master’s Degree in computer science. Not that I was hungry for another degree but I needed a piece of paper to start something where I do not have to go back to the ship. On a side note, I was offered a job at the US coast guard.
While in grad school there was a job fair on campus and one of the graduate students convinced me to go to the fair to get free food. I also printed (free using a lab printer) a large number of copies of my resume. I dropped my resume in each booth, had food, and forgot about it. After a few weeks got a call from a Monster.com recruiter about a fixed hour of work using c# and crystal report. The position was titled “Sales Data Analyst/Developer”. Finding out data that was not adding any value to the company. For example, salespeople will put 000-000-0000 as a second phone number to move quickly to the next call to meet the quota. That was fun digging into some deeper math formulas and presenting the data that is easy to consume visually.
Rest is history. Once I finished that project my boss Steven Yonchak told HR they should retain me in the company with a full-time position. After reviewing all open positions I narrowed them down to two. Ended up as an associate Database Administrator. I was already working as TA for the database professor and was helping a non-profit organization with their database in college which most likely influenced my decision.
It has been sixteen years of working with data, database and still love it. The amazing part of this journey is finding out how much I do not know (reading questions in the different public forums) and the room for growth in the coming years.