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Challenge: Learn One New Thing Today

By  Mar 17, 2010

Topics: SQL Server, Data

Most of us know that there's a lot to learn. I'm teaching a class this morning, and even on the subject where I'm the "expert" (that word always makes me nervous!) I still have a lot to learn.

To learn, sometimes I take a class, read a book, or carve out a large chunk of time so that I can fully grasp the subject. But since I've been working, I really don't have a lot of opportunities to do that. Like you, I'm really busy. So what I've been able to learn is to take just a few moments each day and learn something new about SQL Server. I thought I would share that process here.

First, I started with an outline of the product. You can use Books Online, a college class syllabus, a training class outline, or a comprehensive book table of contents. Then I checked off the things I felt I knew a little about. Sure, I'll come back around to those, but I want to be as efficient as I can. I then trolled various checklists to see what I needed to know about the subjects I didn't have checked off.

From there (I'm doing all this in a notepad, and then later in OneNote when that came out) I developed a block of text for that subject. Every time I ran across a book, article, web site or recording on that topic I wrote that reference down. Later I went back and quickly looked over those resources and tried to figure out how I could parcel it out - 10 minutes for this one, a free seminar (like the one I'm teaching today - ironic) takes 4 hours, a web site takes an hour to grok, that sort of thing.

 Then all I did was figure out how much time each day I'll give to training. Sure, it literally may be ten minutes, but it adds up.

One final thing - as I used something I learned, I came back and made notes in that topic. You learn to play the piano not just from a book, but by playing the piano, after all. If you don't use what you learn, you'll lose it.

So if you're interested in getting better at SQL Server, and you're willing to do a little work, try out this method. Leave a note here for others to encourage them. 

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