Community Involvement–Why Wait?

PleaseWaitEveryone has a story; some stories are similar while some stories are vastly different. People always make the statement that you shouldn’t “assume” because if you do….well then you know what happens!

I will go out on a limb and gather to say that many fall into the category I did when it comes to the SQL community. From the years 2000-2010 I had no clue that the SQL community existed yet alone any conferences. It was when I was hired on at my current shop did I learn of this thing they called PASS Summit.

From 2011- to present I can honestly say it has been one heck of a ride. A lot has transpired over the course of soon to be 5 years and I’m thankful for it; I wouldn’t change a thing. I look back at those first 10 years and I was floundering – man o man was I floundering. What that time means to me now though is a light into the future and to know where, as a data professional, a direction I want to go in.

I’m starting to get asked more and more the question of “What can I do to get involved within the SQL community?” or “I’m not good enough to get involved”.

My answer to that is simple, let’s roll. Below are five avenues in which you can get started with community involvement. All they require are you; yes that’s right you to take the initiative and get involved.

Blogging

I can tell you that blogging was not an easy thing for me to get started on but has been well worth it. I’m not the most talented writer; nor am I one of the most captivating individuals you will ever meet. What I do feel that I can bring to the table is real world life examples that have helped me along my way in my SQL journey, and guess what – you can be the same. Some things to keep in mind when starting out to blog are:

1. Don’t beat yourself up if you start to write, but have mental blocks.

2. Get a few blog posts in the pipeline and scheduled to help get your feet wet.

3. Find a good platform; there are several out there such as WordPress.

4. If writing examples; then prove your examples. Don’t just write to be writing. Have a point prepared.

5. If you reference someone’s work then give credit where credit is due. This is a huge pet peeve of mine.

Social Media

In this day and age it is almost impossible to not be connected through some form of social media. You can find many groups, hash tags, companies to follow, and other viable sources to become involved with. Some different types are:

1. Twitter – pay attention to hash tags such as #sqlfamily, #sqlserver, #tsql2sday, #sqlhelp

2. LinkedIn

3. Facebook

4. Instagram

One caveat I want to add here is be professional; companies do look at your involvement.

PASS Active Member

Become an active member in PASS; it doesn’t cost you anything and can provide various forms of volunteering. This type of involvement has changed my career allowing me to see on a more global scale of how impactful our SQL community can be.

Learn more about the PASS Summit here.

SQL Saturday Events

These events are free. Let me ask you this; does your company not want to provide you with any training; or better yet maybe they do and just don’t know how. These events are free except for lunches and has some very talented speakers that attend. Take advantage of these; you can get a current listing on my blog here or go visit SQL Saturday’s home page here for further information.

Mentor

Maybe you have been in the community for a while and it has become stale. One idea would be to mentor someone; doesn’t have to be someone in a different state; how about someone you work with that is needing help. Do you remember when you started out? I sure do and I would have loved to have some guidance and help earlier on in my career. Five years ago I was fortunate to learn and model some of my ways from a group I called my “fab five” – give them a read here; truly thankful for these individuals.

Mentoring someone ignites the passion to keep those knowledge juices flowing; each one reach one effect.

Recap

I’ve come to learn through my 5 years of involvement with the SQL community that it is not always a bed of roses and flying unicorns but SQL family is composed of not only some of the brightest minds in the business but also individuals who care for one another and who genuinely step in and help when needed.

So I ask you, why wait? How many years will you let go by like I did before you become involved? There has not been one day where I have regretted becoming involved within the SQL community and if you would like to talk more about how to get started let me know. I will be happy to discuss with you offline if need be.

It’s GameTime folks; Let’s roll and keep this community moving forward.

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