T-shaped knowledge and learning about the cloud: T-SQL Tuesday #108


November 13, 2018 by Kenneth Fisher

Upper management at my company has started asking for something called T-Shaped knowledge. The idea is that we have a broad range of knowledge in an area that may not be overly deep and one or more spikes of deeper knowledge. I have to admit, up to this point my knowledge has always been rather I-shaped. I have a good amount of SQL Server knowledge but not much else. And in my opinion, the whole T thing isn’t really a bad idea. I have always been jealous of accidental DBAs (I’m not one) who have a fair amount of development knowledge, or networking, or security, etc. It’s always seemed like they had a leg up because they had that broader range of knowledge.

T-SQL TuesdayI’m going to guess you can see how this might fit in well with Malathi Mahadevan’s (b/t) T-SQL Tuesday subject this month.

Non SQL Server Technologies

In case you’ve never heard of it before T-SQL Tuesday is the brainchild of Adam Machanic (b/t). It’s a blog party where one person picks a topic and everyone else who’s interested writes a blog on that subject. The invite is the first Tuesday of the month, and all of the blog posts are on the second. As someone who’s interested in education, you can do worse than reading sometimes dozens of blog posts all on a given subject to get a good grounding in it.

That said, how am I going to turn my I into a T? The cloud! (You read the post title right? This isn’t a surprise for anyone is it?) I’ve actually been studying the cloud off and on for the last couple of years so I have a bit of a head start. Up to now, I’ve been studying almost exclusively Microsoft’s offering, Azure, and to a certain extent, I’ll be continuing to do the same. A lot of my focus though has been the database portions. And not even all database offerings, just the SQL ones. I mean who wouldn’t want to study up on Azure SQL Database and Managed instances! Unfortunately, that doesn’t really broaden the T part, and my office uses AWS a fair amount. So my current task? Get the absolute baseline AWS certification. I’m using cloudacademy.com to study since it’s offered by my company and they have all these nice statistics that my manager (Hi Tim!) can see about how much time I’m spending, how far along I am etc. So if nothing else just the act of studying should help out on my upcoming review (Hi Tim!).

One thing I’m finding that’s rather interesting. I’m getting a better view of the cloud as a whole by learning about both AWS and Azure. The differences and similarities really seem to be making things click for me. So I may start bouncing between the two. Right now it’s the AWS cert to get myself a nice broad background. Then we will see what’s available for Azure. I saw there is a Databases in the cloud cert that I may give a shot.

On the off chance, you’ve never heard me talk about certifications before I really like them. I find they are a great way to organize what I need to learn and then to test myself to see if I’ve actually learned anything.

Happy T-SQL Tuesday! Wish me luck on my T-Shaped learning!

5 thoughts on “T-shaped knowledge and learning about the cloud: T-SQL Tuesday #108

  1. Sean Redmond says:

    «T-Shaped Knowledge» is a modern name for knowing something about everything and everything about something.
    I alternate my learning between the general and the specific. Last year I studied for the 70-461 MCP and learnt about full-text search and XML, amongst other things. I now have a good idea of what full-text search can do and where it might be useful. I haven’t implemented it in any meaningful way, so I haven’t learnt all of the various gotchas that Microsoft are so fond of. This year, I’ve implemented a cube, immersed myself in MDX and started on In-Memory OLTP.

    • Very cool. It’s nice to know this isn’t something they came up with 😀 Either way it’s probably not a bad idea to have some idea of what can be done in a wide area and specifics in a narrower area. It does help when stuff comes up and you can make a decision as to what tool will work, then you can research more deeply into that tool.

  2. David Bainbridge says:

    That phrase seems to be getting bigger this side of the pond too.

    It definitely has its advantages but the biggest one I have seen time and time again is in joint working. A dba who knows a bit of a traditional programming language and a developer who knows a bit about databases can pinpoint problems much quicker that people who stick to their own lanes.

    • Oh absolutely! I have some limited dev knowledge and it’s definitely served me well over the years in helping people with connection/coding problems (as related to the database of course).

  3. […] Ken Fisher who is a blogger prolific, talks of broadening the ‘T part’,with Azure, AWS, Managed instances and anything specific! […]

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