One skill I see commonly with great DBAs is that they are constantly learning. The read blogs, follow sites like SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, or SQL Shack, and spend a ton of time perusing Books On-Line. They watch videos like those put out by Brent Ozar. They spend time playing around in their lab (because naturally, they have one), breaking things, fixing them, and breaking them again. They invest in their best asset: their skills and knowledge.

There is an amazing amount of good, free content out there if you go looking. And in many cases, learning by doing is one of the best ways to gain knowledge. But here’s the thing: if you refuse to spend actual money on your skills, you’re making a mistake.

Early on in my career I was adamant about not paying for anything. Why should I pay for what I can find on my own? And it’s true, there really isn’t much that you can’t find or figure out with enough time and effort.

Here’s the thing though: your time as a DBA isn’t free. Every minute you spend looking through Books On-Line (which while very complete, is sometimes a real bear to navigate) or struggling through a lab setup is a minute you could spend improving your processes, or doing actual revenue generating work for your employer (this is doubly true if you’re self employed).

Premium content is often highly focused and organized, with specific goals. It eliminates a lot of time thrashing around trying to figure out things. Thus, it allows us to learn more in less time. This is where premium content can really pay dividends; by paying for the ability to spend less time to learn the same knowledge, we are investing in our career.

Think about it. If you have electrical work that needs doing around the house, you could get a book from the library, watch some YouTube videos, and probably muddle your way through it. Maybe in time you could get really good at it. But, that takes time, which means ultimately, money. At some point, the cost of the time spent to learn it all yourself exceeds the cost to pay an electrician.

It’s the same thing with paying for premium training. Especially when it comes to highly complex subjects! If your goal is to get a deep knowledge of a particular area, and your time is limited (if yours isn’t, please tell me your secret), you owe it to yourself to at least look around and see what’s out there in terms of paid content.

Case in point: recently, I had the privilege of getting a chance to be an early participant in a phenomenal new course on Windows Failover Clustering by Microsoft MVP Edwin Sarmiento. Clustering is a great example of where this kind of training can be a godsend; it’s complex, with many moving parts (Active Directory, DNS, and network to name just a few), and while it’s gotten much better in recent versions of Windows, it’s still a bear if you don’t do everything right the first time. And let me tell you, Edwin’s course leaves nothing untouched. He starts off with the basics of what Clustering is (and conversely, what it isn’t), then progressively goes deeper into specific components. The module on Quorum is pure gold; I’ve been bitten by mistakes that Edwin calls out numerous times, such as neglecting to configure a witness. He uses clear, simple examples, along with plain real-world analogies to explain concepts like resource groups and status. I consider myself pretty well versed in clustering internals, but I have already learned more than enough to justify my investment in the course.

Lucky for you, Edwin just opened this course* to the public at a reduced rate, along with a slew of bonuses, such as access to an upcoming course on hybrid cloud and local high availability solutions (which I’m sure will also be phenomenal). The discounts are good for another two days, so do yourself a favor and get it while it’s still available. Believe me, it’s an investment well worth it.

*Full disclosure: if you purchase the course through this link, I earn a small commission. I did not receive compensation for this review however, and paid for access to the course just like you. Thanks in advance for supporting my kids’ future college expenses! 🙂

To be a great DBA, treat your career like an investment

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