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Launching your career in data management Jason Hall-Dir. of Client SQL Sentry

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1 Launching your career in data management Jason Hall-Dir. of Client Services @ SQL Sentry Twitter-@SQLSaurus

2 Who am I? Director of Client Services @ SQL Sentry, Inc. Microsoft Platform Developer Since 1998 SQL Server Developer Since 6.5 Microsoft Certified Former US Army Paratrooper Horror Genre Fan 2

3 Agenda Finding risk takers Getting the interview What managers want at entry level Your first 90 days Getting noticed (in a good way) An ongoing commitment

4 Finding risk takers Small companies and startups… Small companies and startups are high risk, but they’re also more inclined to take a risk on you You will be responsible for more than just what you were hired to do. This is a good thing! Don’t just drop your resume on job sites Think about what interests you, and find someone doing it. Then submit through their internal channels. You’re saving them money, and small companies generally will always see your resume

5 Finding risk takers Work on you, not your resume… Minimize emphasis on classwork and training, unless you are discussing relevant project work Demonstrate interest in your chosen field, outside of school or work Community or church project perhaps Maybe a github repository, or personal website or blog List, but don’t emphasize internship at large companies Managers are aware of these large internship programs, and the general lack of real work experience they provide. If you did some great work at one of these, emphasize that work, not the big name company Emphasize anything that demonstrates a high level of aptitude You were required to learn a scripting language in a short period of time You had to learn a 3 rd party tool well enough to help find and fix a configuration error

6 Getting the interview Be careful of your “evil Internet twin” We are in the age of information folks. Every resume I see I spend a few minutes searching for the person online. It’s not stalking. it’s giving me a view into the person that I *know* I will not meet in the interview. You know, the person that comes out 6 months down the road when we’re in crunch time, and the stress levels are high. If you are drunk tweeting every day, and showing your bad side in general on the public Internet, I am just not interested in bringing that into the office where I spend most of my waking life. Follow Up! If I have a resume that isn’t impressing me, but the person makes an effort to follow up, that shows a level of interest that might be worth a second look. If you don’t care enough to follow up, did you really want that job in the first place?

7 What managers want Genuine interest If you are coming to meet me, and you want to work with me, understand that I have done some research on you. You should have done the same. If you haven’t been to my company’s website, and you don’t even know what my company does, why are you wasting both of our times? Aptitude If I’m interviewing you for entry level, I already know that you don’t have a huge skillset. I’m looking for someone that I believe will learn quickly, and soon after, decide exactly where they want to be in the industry. People I’ve trained have gone on to be DBAs, developers, marketing professionals, webmasters, and systems engineers. What they all had in common was starting as first level software support. We want to find what you’re good at, and nurture it, but we can’t do that if you’re not able to learn at all

8 What managers want Confidence and humility These two are actually not mutually exclusive Be confident enough to take a stand when you believe you are right, but humble enough to admit when you are wrong Dedication Do not start your first day at work by asking for time off the next day, unless there’s an emergency of course No, you are not required to work extra or study at home, but if you do it will be noticed, and it will certainly work in your favor Passion I’ll be looking for some sort of “fire”. It could be about anything, but I’ll be trying to root out what you’re passionate about during the interview. If I don’t see it at all, I probably won’t be talking to you again. Initiative Step forward without landing on toes. This is difficult to see in an interview, but if you can bring initiative in a way that is not utterly intrusive, you will go far.

9 The first 90 days Why are you really here? Businesses don’t generally hire people just for fun. You’re meant to serve a purpose, so find out exactly what that purpose is quickly, and focus on it. Be seen more than heard You may have some great ideas, and wonderful feedback on current processes, but it will generally take some time before everyone is open to your input. Take note of your ideas, and present them at a later date. You may even find reasons why things are done the way they are while you wait. Be open minded, and willing help train yourself Training programs, now matter how good they are, only get you so far. You need to put in an extra effort to help move your own training along during these first critical weeks.

10 The first 90 days Learn the culture The culture of teams are unique, and sway with those who come and go in them. Be on the lookout for unwritten rules Example: SQL Sentry has beer taps in the break room, but there is an unwritten rule that we don’t really partake until after hours, or at lunch on Friday. Don’t skip a chance to be social In the first 90 days, don’t miss any team outings, lunch & learns, or really any chance to get to know the team outside of work. Don’t try to be the initiator of the outings though, your time will come, but for now you will be seen as trying too hard.

11 The first 90 days Make friendly contacts in support areas People you want on your side from the beginning Accounting You want to get paid on time right? Office management They do a lot more than order pens. QA analysts Often seen fighting with developers, these folks are the gateway to getting anything you make to see the light of day Technical/Desktop Support Internal support is key, in IT you can’t work without your computer LoB representatives Nothing can push your career forward like having an advocate in the line of business you are supporting. Don’t take on too much Remember to do all you can to fill your purpose, but don’t over do it by taking on everything you can find. Under promise and over deliver.

12 Getting noticed Not the same as a “look at me” personality Wanting to be noticed at work is important. You shouldn’t feel like you’re being selfish or showy just because you want to be recognized for your efforts Look for opportunities to automate processes If you see some task that takes a long time, and involves several people, can you think of an easy, inexpensive way to automate it? *all* of the people involved in that process will appreciate getting that time back Pick an area to become the expert in For example, we deal with a lot of WMI related internal windows issues. Anyone making it their mission to know everything they can about WMI internals is going to be on my radar in a positive way

13 An ongoing commitment BI Analyst, DBA, database developer, data specialist, etc. and so forth These are all jobs in data management, and not a single one is something you can be extremely successful at without putting in time outside of work Pluralsight, Microsoft Virtual Academy, Old Fashion Books, Google SQL,, Always be prepared to learn, and never let your passion for technology die

14 An ongoing commitment You chose the right field Unlike most other career paths, you can go from the bottom 20% to the top 20% in terms of compensation in a relatively short period of time. If you’ve been on the job 2 or 3 years, and you’re doing great, but you’re still not far from your entry level compensation, you should have a talk with your manager.


16 Wrap Up 1.Check out 2.PLEASE stop by and thank the sponsors. Yes they are here trying to sell stuff, but they are also giving up their weekend to sponsor this event, and they don’t even get to attend sessions (sad face). 3.Make sure and thank the event organizers for their heroic efforts in putting this SQL Saturday together!

17 Jason Hall- Dir. of Client Services @ SQL Sentry Twitter-@SQLSaurus

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