Information Technology is a place that I think could be a very good career for many people. Our working conditions are good, the pay is above average, and we can continue to do this job for most of our lives. We have flexibility to work in many locations, and at different hours. There are downsides, as each of those advantages can work against us. We can be expected to work all hours, and in all places, including while on holidays. We don’t have the excuses of not being in an office, and with today’s small machines, we can be asked to carry our work with us wherever we go. How you handle those challenges and achieve balance in life is up to you, but I will say that it can be a burden to do so.
When I first started to work in this business, I came from positions that required more physical labor and onsite work. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I preferred an office environment, especially as technology became more important and workplaces evolved into casual, even fun, places to spend my day. I’ve appreciated the growing flexibility as bandwidth has increased and remote work became first tolerated, and then accepted. In some cases, it’s even preferred. As my children have grown up, one of the great benefits for me has been the flexible schedule that allowed me to share many moments in their lives. The flipside is that I’ve also had to work many hours while they’re at home, at all hours of the day and night and many weekends.
When I started working in this field, I had no idea what life would be like, and I bet that many people that are learning about computers are similarly naive. When I’ve spoken with students, or even adults seeking training for a new career, I find that the environment in education, not to mention the tools and techniques, are very different from that of most jobs. I’m regularly reminded of this while talking with my son, who is studying some computer science in university. He’s learning concepts and skills, but missing some of the very basic, practical items that I think academic training ignores.
I think we can do better. I read Iris Classon’s post about her day, where she covers some of the tasks and flow of her workday. I’m looking forward to reading more about how her life as a developer goes, but I’d also like to put out a challenge to those in the SQL Server community. I think we can help others learn what it’s like to work in our field, either inspiring them to study harder and build more skills, or warn them of the dangers and downsides.
If you have a blog, I’d like to ask you to write four posts. These could be four days in a row, or one day a week for a month. Once a month is probably too little, but if that’s the time you have, then do that. Let us know how your day goes, what tasks you undertake, the challenges, maybe even a little about the problems you solve. If you enjoy blogging, you’ll get ideas for even more posts. If you don’t, you’ll still build some communication skills. If you like your job, maybe you’ll get excited to share the things that are fun. If you don’t, then you might stop and think as you write about how you can make changes in life. You might even teach yourself something about your own career.
Either way, you’ll learn something. I’ll ask that you tag these posts on your blog and any sharing you do as #SQLCareer. That way we help others get a sense of what it’s like to work in the Microsoft Data Platform space. If you want to write more, that’s fine, but set a reminder now, and schedule out a few posts about what your job is like.