T-SQL Tuesday #122 – Imposter Syndrome

Invitation from Jon Shaulis

As we enter the new year, I’m sure many of us are setting goals, resolutions, or perhaps beginning new challenges. Change can often be terrifying, but that’s how we grow. With this in mind, the topic I’d like us to write about this month is “Imposter Syndrome”.

Imposter syndrome isn’t a topic I’ve seen addressed before via T-SQL Tuesday and this is an issue I’ve commonly seen in the IT industry.

Imposter Syndrome – The persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/impostor_syndrome

I can assure you that if you have felt this way before, you are not alone. People in the community who I would consider experts have stated they felt (and sometimes still feel) imposter syndrome. These are people with more experience than years I’ve existed on this planet and they still feel this way. Coincidentally, this triggers my own imposter syndrome when I think about that.

T-SQL Tuesday Topic

I want to read your stories about when you’ve experienced, seen, or overcome imposter syndrome! Was there a job that you felt you were ill-prepared for? Did you make a mistake or did someone say something that made you question if you were a true data professional? Maybe there was a particular task you ran into that made you question your experience? Did you resolve your tasks and succeed in your job? How did you overcome that feeling of being an imposter and solve your challenges? Maybe you haven’t experienced it yourself but you saw someone who was feeling imposter syndrome, were you able to help them?

You can be technical or non-technical with this post, the goal is to share experiences to help those also experiencing imposter syndrome. Maybe you are still feeling it, sometimes walking through your challenges can help you brainstorm solutions.

T-SQL Tuesday #121: Gifts received for this year

Invitation and summary from Mala Mahadevan

It is December again. 2019 has gone by in a flash. I have the honor of hosting the last TSQL Tuesday blog party of the year. This monthly blog party started by SQL Guru Adam Machanic since 2009 has completed 121 months this year. I am the lucky host of event #121. If you are participating in this month’s party (kindly coordinated by my dear friend Steve Jones (b|t) – please be sure to read the housekeeping rules all the way below that are necessary for participation.

This is a time for material gift giving, for many of us. It might also be a time to consider the many gifts we have received through the year, and perhaps use this opportunity to appreciate people or situations that we were blessed with. So my question would be – what are a few things would you consider as gifts, and why? Some examples as below –

  • Getting to know someone in the community better,
  • Getting to speak at an event you always wanted to,
  • Attending a conference or training that you always wanted to attend,
  • Landing a job you never thought you would,
  • Published a book that you wrote,
  • Wrote for sqlservercentral/simpletalk/any of those cool websites
  • Got to play with a cool new technology that has you excited,
  • A feature of SQL Server that you always wanted and eventually showed up in 2019-I love lightweight query profiling to track query progress, for example.
  • A new cool feature that you never even thought possible is now there (I was just oooh-ing about how easy it is to script objects in Azure Data Studio, and how nice it is to have it store my query history for me).

T-SQL Tuesday #120 – What were you thinking?

Invitation and recap from Wayne Sheffield.

Ahh, November. The PASS Summit is kicking off tonight (with several great precons going on yesterday and today). Thanksgiving is right around the corner (for everyone in the United States). Right after Thanksgiving are the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. And since this is the first Tuesday of the month, it’s time for another T-SQL Tuesday. The brainchild of Adam Machanic (b|l|t), and designed to strengthen the SQL Server blogging community, T-SQL Tuesday gets a lot of bloggers posting about a specific theme, chosen by the host blogger (today, that’s me). And something that is really neat is that this month wraps up the 10th year of these T-SQL Tuesday posts. Wow!

Not too long ago, I ran across a situation where I was scratching my head, wondering why something had been implemented the way it had been (you can read about it here). And that gave me the idea for this T-SQL Tuesday topic.

In this month’s T-SQL Tuesday, I want to know about things that you’ve seen others do in SQL Server that have left you wondering “What were you thinking” (maybe even with a few #$%^& thrown in)? Tell us what you saw, why you thought it was so crazy, and what you did about it (if anything). And please… just tell us what you saw, not who you saw doing it.

T-SQL Tuesday #119 – Changing your mind

Invitation and write-up from Alex Yates.

Bringing people together

I’m excited about DevOps. I first heard the term as a sales person at an IT company. I recognised the gulf between the sales and tech silos at my company and I could observe conflicts with many of my customers between developers and DBAs. I had a lightbulb moment when I realised the potential – if you could just get all these different people and teams to work together effectively with a shared vision.

I’m also increasingly aware that we aren’t just conflicted in our work lives. I live in the UK and my society is increasingly polarised. I know the same is true in lots of other places. Our community tends to communicate through social media, most commonly on Twitter, where we create echo chambres for ourselves as we follow people who share our views and we consciously or unconsciously unfollow or block anyone who disagrees with us. Even if we try to avoid it, the algorithms tend to show us the content we like to read anyway.

It seems to me that at work, online, and in society at large we are becoming more stubborn and less open to exploring ideas that challenge us. It’s my belief that if we were all (myself included) more open, not just to talking, but to genuinely challenging our existing ideas, we would all benefit. I believe that’s true both in our professional and our personal lives.

The challenge

I would like you to write about something in your IT career that you have changed your mind about. What was your original opinion? Why did you believe that? What do you believe now? Why did you change your mind?

You are welcome to discuss technical or non-technical topics. Feel free to go as deeply technical or as personal and human as you like. Brain-melting technical posts about the inner workings of the SQL engine or effective machine learning architectures in Azure are great. SQL 101 posts or perspectives on age old debates such as tabs and spaces or where to put your commas are great too. Human posts about effective teamwork or diversity or wellbeing in tech are also great.

I hope that if we think hard about the ways we have changed our minds in the past, and if we read about how and why other people have changed their mands, it will help us to have better conversations in the future. I hope this will help us to work together more effectively at work – and maybe in other parts of our lives as well.

T-SQL Tuesday #118 – Your Fantasy SQL Feature

Invitation and roundup from Kevin Chant.

Recently I’ve had to submit suggestions to Microsoft about Azure DevOps and SQL Server.

I will admit a couple of the suggestions had certainly been in my head for a while. In fact, I wish I had suggested them sooner.

Because of this reason I have chosen this topic for this month’s T-SQL Tuesday. For those of you who are new to T-SQL Tuesday you can read more about it in detail here.

My invitation to yourselves this month is to write a post about a fantasy SQL Server feature you’ve got in mind.

It can be absolutely anything at all related to SQL Server. For example, it could be about a new SQL Server operator to improve queries or a new service that does something amazing.

So, you can stretch your imagination as far as you want to. In fact, I actively encourage it.

Of course, if you have already submitted a suggestion to Microsoft about something that you are particularly keen on than you are welcome to post about that instead.

However, one piece of advice if you do post about a suggestion you have submitted already. I recommend a link to your suggestion as well for all to see.

Something else you might be tempted to do is submit your suggestion about SQL Server to Microsoft before you publish your post.

Again, something else which I encourage you to do if you have something in mind. In fact, I’ll even provide the link to the SQL Server suggestion site here.

T-SQL Tuesday #117 – When Have You Used MOT Tables?

Invitation and roundup from Steve Jones.

When Memory-Optimized Tables (MOT) were announced for SQL Server, there was a lot of excitement about the technology. After this was released on SQL Server 2014, feelings waned with a lot of restrictions and limitations for using the technology. I remember a panel at a conference years ago where most of the MVPs and experts recommended against using the technology for most users.

Today there have been improvements (2017, 2016) in the MOT features, restrictions have been removed, and all editions can use MOT tables. That’s not to say that this is suitable for every table or situation where a DBA or developer suspects performance issues.

This month I want to ask you about when you’ve made that decision. This can be to use MOT tables or NOT to use MOT tables. This could be a simple thought, a POC, or actual testing of the feature.

Some ideas for you to write about:

  • Performance analysis of MOT tables that affected a decision
  • Reading the limitations and knowing this would prevent their use
  • A scenario where MOT tables improved performance
  • A successful implementation of MOT tables and what needed to change in your app
  • A failed attempt at trying MOT tables

There might be other things that are related to MOT technology, but let us know this month what you think of the technology and how it has (or has not) impacted your application.

T-SQL Tuesday #116 – SQL on Linux

This month’s invitation and roundup is from Tracy Boggiano.

Ever since Microsoft said SQL would run on Linux, I was excited. Finally, all the Linux administrators I had worked with could be quiet and the Oracle DBAs that said they were multi-platform. I organized the PASS Linux Marathon back in December 2017 and started the website, WeSpeakLinux, in efforts to help people learn more Linux skills (including myself) as Linux is different than running Windows. While I know it takes a while to adopt new technologies; I was wondering what it would take for people to adopt SQL on Linux.  Alternating I’m offering up for you to blog about what everyone should know when working with SQL on Linux or anything else related to SQL running on Linux.

T-SQL Tuesday #115 – Dear 20 Year Old Self

Invitation and roundup from Mohammad Darab.

Yesterday was my 41st birthday. Twenty years ago, I remember my best friend asking me, “Where do you see yourself when you’re 40?” My reply was something like, “I can’t see myself as a 40 year old.” For some weird reason my mind went blank at 40. It wasn’t like I thought I’d be dead by 40, but I remember thinking of 30 or 35, but not 40. Maybe because 40 was twice my age and just too “far into the future” to think about?! But in a “blink of an eye” here I am twenty-one years later. Funny enough, now I can see myself as an 80 year old. Weird.

Time sure does fly by.

Introspection

This past weekend I presented at SQL Saturday Dallas. Unfortunately, I had lost my voice when I landed Thursday afternoon. I did all I could to get it back by Saturday morning by drinking lots of liquid and getting rest. I got enough of my voice back to do my session (which was first thing in the morning) but had to leave shortly after for some much needed rest. I spent the rest of Saturday in bed and some of Sunday before I had to head to the airport. To top it off, I had 5 flight delays and ended up spending 7 hours at Dallas airport.

During those long hours at the airport, I had some time to introspect. I went over my session. I noticed how over the past couple SQL Saturdays I’ve spoken at, the younger attendees approach me asking questions at the end. The elder attendees mainly say, “thanks!” and the young attendees stick around and ask questions. I absolutely admire and respect that. A lot their questions are very easy to answer. But it’s easy *now* since I have more years of experience.

That brings me to this month’s T-SQL Tuesday idea…

This is my invitation to you this T-SQL Tuesday: Write your 20 year old self a letter. If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?

Here are a few potential ideas:

  • Things you would have done differently
  • Any words of encouragement
  • A “Do” and “Don’t Do” list

Obviously we cannot go back in time and live all over again. However, we can write down our advice so that way we have it ready for the next young aspiring technical professional (or any profession for that matter) who comes seeking advice.

As the saying goes, “learn from your mistakes.” I say, it would be even better to “learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t even have to make them.”

Remember to have fun during this process. I can’t wait to share my letter next week!

T-SQL Tuesday #114 – Puzzle Party

Invitation this month from Matthew McGiffen.

A few years back I started running regular SQL workshops in my workplace. Teaching beginners the basics of querying databases with SQL, as well as more advanced topics for the more advanced.

During one session we were discussing the issue of knowledge acquired being quickly lost when people didn’t get the chance to regularly practice what they’d learnt. One of the attendees suggested that I should be assigning them homework.

I could see from the faces of everyone else present that the word “homework” struck an unpleasant chord. Perhaps reminding them of school days struggling to get boring bookwork done when they’d rather be at relaxation or play.

Okay, so homework maybe wasn’t going to go down well, but I figured everyone likes a good puzzle. So every Friday I started creating and sharing a puzzle to be solved using SQL. This went on for the best part of a year, then other things got in the way and gradually I stopped.

This is my invitation to you this T-SQL Tuesday. Write a blog post combining puzzles and T-SQL. There’s quite a few ways you could approach this, so hopefully no-one needs be left out for lack of ideas:

  • Present a puzzle to be solved in SQL and challenge your readers to solve it.
  • Or give us a puzzle or quiz about SQL or databases.
  • Show the SQL solution to a classic puzzle or game.
  • Provide a method for solving a classic sort of querying puzzle people face.
  • Show how newer features in SQL can be used to solve old puzzles in new ways.
  • Tell us about a time you solved a problem or overcame a technical challenge that was a real puzzle.
  • Or just make your own interpretation of “puzzle” and go for it!

There’s some great stuff out there already. Itzik Ben-Gan’s done a bunch of them. There’s Kenneth Fisher’s crosswords. The SQL Server Central questions of the day. Pinal Dave’s SQL Puzzles. And there’s a few on my blog too if you take a look back:

Let’s puzzle together, trying to solve the challenges each other sets, and make it a real puzzle party!

🙂

Have fun all

T-SQL Tuesday #113 – What Do You Use Databases For?

Invitation and follow-up from Todd Kleinhans.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is about what do YOU use databases for in your personal life that you are willing to share?

We work with data all day and sometimes all night long. When we turn off work, some of us continue to use data and databases to enhance our professional growth and learning. I know on some days the last thing I want to look at after work is- another screen full of data. Kinda of like how some auto mechanics have poorly running cars. How can that be? Because they work on cars all day long and they are tired of working on cars- including their own.

But I’m curious- outside of work and learning, what do you personally use databases for? Tracking books you have, recipes, collections, etc? While it can be said using databases for personal use could be either overkill or a hammer in search of nails on the other hand, it is exactly what they are for- storing data.

Years ago I challenged my daughter- I would give her $100 to go through a book about databases, sit her in front of SQL Server Developer Edition, and we would build a database to track our VHS collection. (VHS, heh, yes I’m old. Now get off my lawn).

We used a book called The Manga Guide to Databases.

Cover
Back

It was great except they used the non-ANSI syntax for joins…

non_ansi

We whiteboarded and created a simple database.

The experiment was a ton of typing. And linking to the movies in Wikipedia. And then capturing some information about personal family events based on date. BTW, she is now a film student in college.

More than twenty years ago I was into FileMaker Pro working for a defense contractor. We needed a way to store many pictures about launch site equipment. It was my first time trying to figure out: a) how to store pictures in a database b) how to store metadata about the pictures and c) how to search and retrieve the pictures. There was no auto-tagging, object recognition or any sophisticated technology to help me out. So I used what tools I knew about. The project was a success but took way more time than I would have liked.

I am into pictures and have been looking at ways to store and retrieve them for quite some time. Some things work and some things don’t work so well. On 06Apr19, I will be presenting in Colorado Springs, Colorado for SQL Saturday on Storing Images in a Database – Tips and Techniques.

As I learn more about Python I’ll be able to do more sophisticated things. Like the kind of things I couldn’t do twenty years ago. One of them I want to tackle is how to extract text out of images. Ever see people taking pictures during a presentation with their smartphones? Or see code in a YouTube video? How do you get the text of the code out? Most people I think would say they just re-type it. But what if you could use software to do that for you? So I’m fiddling with Python-tesseract.

So what do you use databases for in your personal life that you are willing to share? Blog about it. I’m curious to see the range of uses and even if you don’t use databases for personal stuff, what do you see as the future of organizing personal data?