Don Burleson has recently posted an interesting article on How to become an Oracle Guru.

He stresses that hard work and keeping an eye out for new opportunities are key, and they are. From my experience I would add one more thing to that:

Make a point to fully understand everything you do. Sure, you may know what the oracle listener does and how to start and stop it, but if you don’t understand it you won’t be able to troubleshoot it. You may know when to apply a bitmapped index, but do you know why?

This depth of knowledge is what has set me apart from other IT professionals I’ve worked with. It speeds development and troubleshooting and time after time has made me the go-to guy when people have questions.

How do you get to this technological point of enlightenment? Start at the bottom. I took several computer science classes as an undergraduate. They weren’t at a top university, hell I didn’t even get good grades in most of them, but I was there every day listening to understand. Even just an introductory computer science course, if you’ve never had one, can fill in some background on how searches, queues, logic, hardware and software all work.

After college I worked as a Solaris administrator. That gave me a strong foundation in UNIX and since I displayed a good understanding of UNIX, less than a year after becomming a sys-admin I was slated to become a DBA as one of the companies other DBAs left.

So, now that I’ve rambled on for a bit, what was my point? If you take the time to understand every step, not just slap together a solution, you will generate solutions which are more robust. When you make mistakes you will be in a much better position to learn from them.

My only other peice of advice is resist the urge to cut corners. Do everything you do as well as you possibly can. If you need help, get it. If the project takes longer than expected, fine. Everything you put out there reflects on you as a professional. I like to say “I’d rather not do a job than do a job poorly.”

professional development, oracle, dba, information technology

Approach.Botonomy.com has an interesting article on Why the Puritan Work Ethic has No Place in IT.

The article echoes many of my personal sentiments that your administrators and developers need to be encouraged to work smarter, not harder, even to the point of having “free time.”

… You want an environment where sysadmins kick back and read IT magazines occasionally, because their run-of-the-mill administrative tasks (adding users, managing disk space, etc.) are all scripted and/or automated. They can then focus their energies on the unexpected and unavoidable issues that crop up from time-to-time.

Beyond handling the unexpected, through having this “free time” administrators will have the ability to identify areas in need of improvement. If your administrators are running around fixing stuff all the time your team has a problem! Not only will morale, and therefore retention suffer but your administrators will have no time for evaluating new opportunities.

The best teams celebrate those who sit back and let their computers do their work for them. You want to have a project team that considers repetitive development activities to be tasteless. Sometimes necessary, but generally frowned upon.

Check out the full article and think a bit about what your team could be doing if they weren’t fighting fires all the time.

Of course this is exactly why I am writing a book on Oracle Shell Scripting due out next year.

project management, it management, information technology, database administration, system administration

Alexander over at PositiveSharing.com has posted his Top 10 tips for productive, creative, fun writing.

So how’d [write a whole book in twenty days]? Well the answer is obvious isn’t it? Clear goals, hard work, perseverance, sticking to it, eliminating distractions and writing no matter what, right?

Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I tried that. Didn’t work. So I tried the exact opposite and that worked.

Like most of Alexander’s posts, this list is both highly applicable and refreshingly unconventional. Some of these things I find I’ve already been doing and others I’ll have to remember to try.

While my publisher would probably take issue with #9 (No deadlines or goals) I’m sure these tips will find their way into how I blog and work on my books.

writing, blogging

Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators has hit the nail on the head again, this time outlining effective servant leadership.

For a C-level executive, the idea here is pretty simple: If you want to leverage the wisdom of the crowd, if you want to tap into the creative genius of your entire organization, if you want to leverage the full capabilities of emergent intelligence, you have to trust your people and you have to get out of their way. As a C-level executive, your only job is to create an environment that fosters innovation and success.

Check out the full article at Innovation Creators

management, micromanagement, project management

Alexander Kjerulf, the Chief Happiness Officer over at Positive Sharing has a great article outlining why the customer is not always right!

Alexander cites many ways the wrong customer can have a negative impact on your organization resulting in employee dissatisfaction and even poor customer service. There are some lessons here that some will be uncomfortable with, but it’s a great look at the big picture.

Oh, and thanks to Donald Burleson for sending this on to me!

management, project management, cat herding, customer service

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