T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. It is the brainchild of Adam Machanic (b|t) and is now maintained by Steve Jones (b|t) on tsqltuesday.com. This month’s edition is hosted by Ken Fisher (b|t), who has asked us to write about our “First Technical Job“.
Ken mentions that a number people in the DBA world (most even) didn’t start out as DBAs. This is true for me as well.
TL/DR: Access Developer
I graduated from the University of North Texas in 1991 with a Finance degree (Accounting minor). Computer science at that time was all Pascal and Fortran. I had friends carrying around reams of code. As in reams of paper. Nope…not for me thanks.
Fast forward a few years and I had a need to store some data beyond what we could do with Lotus 123 (Pre-Windows, but just barely) so a friend of mine taught me about Access. I literally learned relational database theory over a lunch at Wendy’s one day.
Fast forward a few more years to when I got laid off due to an acquisition. I took a temp job in the budget group of the IT department at Frito-Lay HQ in Plano, TX. This was still a Finance job, but with a LOT of data. Software budgets, contractor invoices and hours, etc. They were using an excel spreadsheet that was so massive they had to turn off auto-calculation. Every day on the way to lunch I would press F9 to calculate/update while I was gone. Sometimes it finished, sometimes it was still churning when I got back.
I convinced the manager to let me move this to Access, which took roughly two days. When I showed her, and we looked at the data she asked me how long the calculations took. When I said it was instant she thought I was nuts. Then she thought I was a genius! I’m neither 😉
One of the firms we contracted with was the only one to never send us an incorrect invoice. I made a financial analysis of my current hourly rate vs. what the contractors were being billed out as. If I could make even half of that bill rate, my salary would double.
I reached out to someone at that firm and asked if they had any spots open for a junior Access Developer. 4 months later, I made the switch into my first IT job! Access Dev –> Desktop support –> MSCE –> SQL Server Dev –> SQL Server DBA over the next 4-5 years, many of these overlapping.
Now I run Dallas DBAs with a small team of 4 employees and 3 sub-contractors 🙂
Thanks for reading!