Monthly Archives: January 2011

Am I Charlie Bucket?

I started out a lowly sysadmin, with little prospects of moving on and up. My previous job gave me a little insight into DBase databases before a big software switch threw me into the path of SQL Server. I floundered for a while, then started reading and trying things out with the help of several awesome professionals online (thanks SQL Server Central). This was the status quo for two years, training was something you did when you were back at school!

I was then lucky to move to a company that believes in training. I have been even more lucky to have seen Kim and Paul at the PASS Summit in Seattle and can appreciate the high quality of their training. Unfortunately, the Summit has now been deemed “uneconomical”, as has other training apart from going to local events (pretty thin on the ground here in NW Germany).

This has not stopped me though, I am going to SQLBits in the UK out of my own pocket (there goes my summer holiday reserves) and I am really excited about that. I have gained a great deal of technical knowledge through the Summit, 24HOP and the other community events, but most of all I learned that giving is better than receiving. I have made the decision to improve my knowledge by helping others – my first steps have been to start a blog and to help out online on I plan to get more invlolved in the community and hopefully build up the knowledge and courage to speak at user groups and training days.

The first part of my plan is to build up my knowledge – this is where Kim and Paul come into it. Their company SQLskills is running a series of training camps to prepare people for the Microsoft Certified Master program. They are designed to explain all aspects of SQL Server to a depth suitable to have you ready for the MCM exam. These SQLskills Immersion Events sound amazing! The pre-con I saw by them at the PASS Summit was mindblowing and that was *just* 8 hours, expand that to a whole week and I think I’ll be getting nosebleeds by the end of the second day. A bit of blood loss is more than worth the amount of information I know they will be packing into the week-long deep dives – what a shame my company won’t be sending me on those courses then……

But wait! Kim and Paul have offered a “Willy Wonka Golden Ticket” – one lucky Database Professional can win a free week-long training course. So I am taking part in the prize draw with this blog post.

If I really am Charlie Bucket (and get that ticket) I will beg, borrow or steal to get the rest of the trip financed. A quick look on travel sites say it would be around $1000 – not bad for a trans-atlantic flight and hotel for a week.

I would then spend the week soaking up as much information as I can – hopefully not asking too many stupid questions – and then take step two in my master plan: paying it forward. I will tackle a couple of topics at a (not-so) local user group and take it from there.

My ultimate aim is to help (even it it is just one) database professional with the knowledge I have and give them that feeling of having understood and fixed a problem on their own. “Give a man a fish….” as they say.

So dear reader, it is up to you (well it is up to Kim and Paul), to decide if I really am Charlie Bucket. Just like him, if I don’t win, it was not meant to be. However, if I do win, I will be taking a glass lift ride that I’m sure I will never forget.