T-SQL Tuesday #97 – We don’t need no Education! (or do we?)




Well, it’s T-SQL Tuesday time again  -the blog party started by Adam Machanic (blog | twitter) and this month hosted by Mala Mahadevan. This month we’re talking about “Setting Learning Goals for 2018.

With so much change going on in the IT sector, I literally find myself wanting to set new learning goals weekly – sometimes even daily.

We’ve been constantly told (at least I have anyway) that the rate of change in IT will only get faster – and sure enough, that seems to be the case – I mean it was less than 10 years ago that very few people had smart phones. Now – standing on a packed commuter train in the morning – I observe a high percentage of people standing there starring at their devices – of all shapes and sizes. Some simply looking, but a large percentage with headphones in, lost in their own worlds.

But, what are they listening too – or reading about. If I were a betting man – and it has been know – I’d be prepared to wager a single unit of currency that a reasonable percentage were actively engaged in furthering their understanding of a subject – whether  that’s on YouTube, Pluralsight, Udemy, Lynda, Ted, personal blogs (which are a fantastic form of education and often give a unique perspective on subjects) or one of the many other sites that wish to either sell us education or allow us to consume for free.

As most people with a rudimentary understanding of Lean may tell you – eliminating waste from any process is high up on the list of priorities.

So, maybe it’s not possible for us all to eliminate the wasteful – but essential – daily commute, but we can maximise our time with a touch of education. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in IT either – you could learn about music, the finance markets, public speaking, the solar system or any number of fascinating subjects.

But, lets look at that from another angle too. With all of the latest ways to consume education from some of the greatest establishments on the planet – such as MIT, Oxford and Harvard – what is the future of the traditional education journey from high school to university and beyond.

So, with all of this education available to us – I’m finding myself having to be more disciplined around learning patterns.

Pick a subject and learn it deeply – at the moment it’s work around the entire application / database lifecycle, and all the changes, history and constant improvements that are enhancing the workplace and (hopefully) making our job more enjoyable and less stressful.

I’m using potential downtime to tune into relevant material and I’m constantly looking for ways to apply my knowledge in the work environment and discuss my thoughts, theories and experimentation results with my team – and encouraging those people to do the same.

Lifelong learning – I feel – needs to be a built in part of the culture of our teams.

It’s often one of the way we improve as individuals, as teams and as organisations.

It’s great to be spoil for choice in the education sector – although, I’m watching carefully where the constant disruption in this sector will take us.

Have a great day.








About Martin Catherall

Martin Catherall is Senior SQL consultant at SQL Down Under, based in Melbourne, Australia. Martin is also a Microsoft Data Platform MVP and Regional Mentor (RM) for the Professional Association for SQL Server. Prior to relocating to Australia he was extremely active in the Christchurch, New Zealand data community - founding the local SQL Server user group and organizing SQL Saturday Christchurch - which later became SQL Saturday South Island. He likes learning interesting stuff about processing and storing data and passing on his knowledge. In his spare time he likes to learn guitar and hang out with his two young sons Callum Glen and Robert Michael.