Oh my God….This is killing me.
Microsoft is all set to shoot next release of Microsoft SQL Server. I was still exploring some of the new features in previous version and feeling great about those but this news made me ask myself:
Why do we have 24 hours in day, why not 36 or more?
Why can’t we survive without sleep?
Well, I am a Database Administrator working on Microsoft SQL Server and I have close to 9 years of work experience. Throughout my career, I have seen that Microsoft has always been on a shooting spree. They always had very aggressive release schedule and for SQL Server, after 2005, they released new versions in 2008, 2010 (SQL Server 2008 R2), 2012, 2014 and now 2016. The moment you get used to one, the next one rings your doorbell to jar on your nerves.
To make the matters worse, one particular working environment does not have all the aspects of a technology implemented. We’re already not getting to learn all the aspects of one version and the release of one version after the other is definitely not helping the course. This is true for every field of technology not just databases.
However, there can’t be excuses if you want to excel but what do we do? How do we keep ourselves abreast with such rapid changes in technology? How do we overcome the barrier of limited technology aspects in one environment?
There’s got to be ways to deal with this. Let’s take a look at some of the simple yet important things you can do to get over these:
Do your best at what you have got at present:
The first and the foremost, you must give your best on what you have got at hands. You can gain best learning from the work that you have at present. If you work hard on the current version (or may be older versions) of technology available in market, you will be able to reap rich benefits from the upcoming versions.
If you get to work on the latest versions in your environment, this is the best thing that can happen to you. If you don’t have latest versions implemented, try to get those implemented with proper justification and planning. Working on justifications makes you understand differences between current and future releases, allows you to understand your business better and this translates how you can make best use of things to come.
You can read 100 books but the practical knowledge comes when you actually have to troubleshoot the problem in your live environments (This in no way means reading is not important). So being on top of things in your current environment is of prime importance.
Be prepared in advance using Milestone releases and Documentations:
Before the product companies are about to release a new product, they introduce milestone releases. These are released in order to elicit early feedback from people using their product. The terminology used by Microsoft for these Milestone releases is CTP (Community Technology Preview) and various product companies use different terminologies. Also, there is enough documentation available in advance that gives you an insight about the plane which is going to land in some time.
You must be proactive enough to grab these milestone releases and documentations. You need to ensure that you spare some time reading about what is on the cards. Install these test systems (or may be personal computers) and get a feel of new things or improved things. You might ask how I get to know that some product company is coming up with a new release. Well, if you are passionate about your technology, you will find out. There are many news-letters, journals that get this information in your inbox.
Milestone releases and documentations are a good starting point for upcoming releases so make sure you spend some time on these. It’s worth an effort.
Do not forget old pals
We all agree that we don’t get to work on all the aspects of a technology at one place. The business needs and requirements are different everywhere. As I said before, you have to do your best on what you have got at hands but at the same time you are missing on many other important aspects of your technology. Switching jobs is not the solution as you will again get something but you’ll definitely miss on the others even at new place and ultimately you find yourself in a vicious circle.
One of the best remedy of this situation is your old pals. You should encourage your old pals to get in touch with you for any technical situations they face, you should get in touch with them for your technical difficulties. They might be working on something in their environment which is giving you hard time in your environment because of some specific business logic. In this way, if you know 20 things, your friend A knows 15 things and another friend B knows 10 things, now, by discussion you guys collectively know 45 things. This is one of the effortless ways to cross the barrier of limited technology aspects in your work environment and trust me it works.
Make a practice to read at least one technical article everyday
We often get ourselves so busy in our day to day work that we forget the importance of learning by reading. The main reason for our unintentional ignorance is the thinking that for traditional book reading, we need to devote so much time which quite difficult taking our hectic work schedule and busy family life in to consideration.
It is not always traditional book reading that pays rich dividends. There are so many websites that post daily articles, case studies, tips & tricks etc so you must spend at least half an hour, if not an hour, on reading this useful content from these websites. The content posted on these websites might be relevant for what you are currently working on, for what you want to learn, for some improvement that you yourself are struggling to accomplish and many such things.
Reading these articles not only helps you in keeping up to date with technology but also keeps you in a habit of reading. The day when you spare some time from your busy schedule and have some time for much prolonged reading, you won’t feel distant as far as reading is concerned.
Join a community
A community means a group of people having similar interests and attitudes. This is very common in most parts of the world as this is seen as an efficient way of networking with people of similar skill sets.
These communities operate by conducting events on a pretty regular basis, having technical discussions on social networking sites and many other means. So it is imperative for us to be a part of community, attend their events, share knowledge in every way possible and network with people to facilitate mutual growth. You can find these kind of communities on Facebook and Linkedin social sites.
Coping with changes in technology is challenging. It demands commitment and needs you to devote time. All the things said above will help you cross most if not all barriers of changing technology. Once you start working towards these things you will definitely experience change in yourself. This will alleviate the effect of jarring doorbells rung by one version after the other.
In this competitive world, you don’t have the option other than accepting the challenges that are thrown at you. So it’s the time to put on your shoes, tie the laces tight and run the marathon with zeal to win. I bet this will bring out the best in you.