T-SQL Tuesday: Giving Back

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. It is the brainchild of Adam Machanic (b|t) and this month’s edition is hosted by Riley Major (b|t) who has challenged us to “Pick some way you can help our community“…but not just give a few sentences on how you want to help, but to actually put feet, brain cells and dates to it.

Community service is something I’ve been involved in for decades in many different ways.  Within the SQL Server specific community, I got serious about it a couple of years ago when I changed the nature of this blog from “weird stuff I saw at work today” to “here is some info you can use to make your life better today.”  I also started speaking at SQL Saturdays last June in Houston.

Last year, I decided to take this a step further and set up an unofficial “Apprentice” program to help young people get into tech careers that don’t (for whatever reason) have the same opportunities most of us do.   My barrier to entry was low…others not so much.

The 1st Apprentice is ready to become a part-time Junior DBA and I couldn’t be more proud of him for his hard work.  He entered the program as a bit of a test case.  His barrier to entry – zero desire to go to a 4-year school and chase a possibly useless (for him) degree.

I will soon be looking for the next Apprentice.  Will s/he be like the first?  Maybe from a low income area?   Possibly aging out of the Foster Care system?  On the Autism spectrum?  Who knows.

For now, I will be working with one at a time.  I would like to get to the point where I have 2 or 3 that can learn together by working out solutions as a team.   This will help them not only learn Database Administration, but teamwork, trust, communication skills, etc.  Some of them may decide they hate databases but think Security is really cool.  Or Python.  Or Networking.  And that is great!  If they can find a career that they enjoy and provides a stable lifestyle financially, then I’m thrilled to be a step along a glorious path for them.


As these young people get to the point that I run out of things to teach them, they need real-world practice. Eventually I will have an “Apprentice” rate/offering on my Services and Pricing page for them to do the grunt work on your servers.  Part-time, with oversight from me or another Sr. Level DBA.  There are caveats and conditions on this I have not sorted out yet, but its coming sometime in the next 6-12 months.  Please keep an eye out for my posts here, on Twitter and on the Dallas DBAs LinkedIn Page.

I want your thoughts on this…privately or in the comments as you see fit.

Thanks for reading,



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