A couple of weeks ago, the SQL Server community had their last T-SQL Tuesday of the year – 97th since 2009 – hosted by Mala (b|t). T-SQL Tuesday, a brainchild of Adam Machanic (b|t), is a monthly blog party in which participant tech bloggers write about any given topic. The topic for December is about learning goals for 2018.
I guess this post is quite late to the party but it’s good to have a baseline for what I want to learn for the new year, and so, this post is quite appropriate. Mala has given three questions that serve as guidelines for the format of the post:
- What do you want to learn?
- How and when do you want to learn?
- How do you plan to improve on what you learned?
And, I’m going to use those questions to structure my learning goals.
What Do I Want to Learn?
Quick answer: Many things. I am declaring 2018 as my Career Year. So, everything I do is anchored to that theme. For 2016-2017, my mantra was Kaizen – Continuous Improvement. I want that to still be a part of what I do in 2018 – but bolder. My mantra for 2018, therefore, is Daitan’na (大胆な ): audacious, daring, bold. Daring with a hint of Kaizen, if you will.
I want to learn the following:
- Big Data
- Power BI
- R Language
Yes, bold. Big Data itself is already a, well, big elephant. One bite at a time would not do it. Big Data is too big a topic to only learn it in a span of a year. But I am not shooting for mastery yet. The goal is to gain the practical skills that would translate into elements of a work experience – meaning, that I would survive if I was suddenly thrown into a Big Data dungeon.
Power BI is a natural next-step if you’ve worked with SSRS. There was a time that Tableau is a craze. Power BI can capture that market. I want to equip myself with the necessary skills that would measure proficiency. Therefore I need to build upon my Power BI skills.
T-SQL alone would not do it anymore. I need to learn a more powerful language for analysis. The R Language has been an interest to me ever since and I want to dig deeper into it.
When and How Do I Learn?
I work a full-time job. For many people who work in the tech industry, they know that a full-time job doesn’t just mean 9-5. It could mean 12 or more hours a day. You’ll never have a 40-hour week. Time is unpredictable in the tech industry. So, When, is a question that is hard to answer.
Learning itself is a philosophy that I have long embraced. I will find the time to learn even if it would mean sacrificing some of my sleeping time. Yes, that’s bold. Sleep is a commodity that even the Bourgeoisie can’t afford anymore. I’ll set a minimum of 1 hour for learning every day (this is on top of my minimum of 30 minutes of reading miscellaneous topics). That’s the minimum, meaning even if I don’t have time to study, I must find at least an hour for that purpose.
How do I learn is the easier question. I have three major places of learning: Pluralsight (courtesy of the Friends of Redgate Program), UDemy, and Microsoft Professional Program + edX. Of course, blogs, webcast, and even tech videos on YouTube and other media will help. In-Person events like the SQL Saturday are a great resource for the things that I want to learn as well but I am not sure if I have the time this year for such activity. The focus is to learn. It’s not a question of how or where do I learn but of what do I learn. And, there is an abundance of materials out there that I can use to my advantage.
How Can I Improve on What I Learned?
Learning for the sake of learning is an empty goal. The purpose of my learning goals is to scale my tech skills. It wouldn’t make sense to spend all of your precious time for nothing. Obviously, these goals are set on the personal level – learning is an aspect of my career that I have committed to. But of course, that doesn’t end there. I want to maintain certain baseline or level of skills that are readily applicable in the real world. I may not land a Big Data job or position in my current company or outside right away but I want to maintain a working-level experience at my disposal.
One avenue that I can probably utilize for sharing what I’ve learned is my blog. Well, tech blogging is one of the aspects that I want to improve on this year. I believe that my blog is an indispensable part of my career. So, this year, I also want to set aside some time for writing. And, of course, participating in forums should also be on the list.
Like I said, these learning goals are rather bold. But, if I want to focus on my career this year, it is just fitting that I have a bold mentality.
Daitan’na. Kaizen. Daring with a hint of Kaizen.
Also published on Medium.