Usually, when someone tells you the story, it starts from the beginning…Well, my story will start from an end. Or, better to say from the present moment and going backward. So, let’s start…

Just a few days ago, I’ve had my debut as a public speaker at New Stars of Data conference. It looks like people were satisfied with my presentation since I’ve received almost perfect feedback. I will present today again, then in September twice…Seems like I’ve just opened a new chapter in my professional career.

It was quite a quick ride, as I’ve started blogging just a few months ago! I’m currently working full time as a Business Intelligence Developer – that means I’m using SQL Server and Power BI on a daily basis. And here comes the interesting part: 6 years ago, I didn’t know what SQL Server is. I used to work in a Bank as a Fraud Prevention Specialist and my highest IT achievement was “Excel knowledge”! But, I’ve learned…and learned…and learned more…At the moment, I’m by no means SQL Server expert, but I know a thing or two.

I’ve first learned to write T-SQL…And that’s like when you learn to write letters in the school. But, in the very beginning, you can’t understand the meaning of the sentences you’re writing. Why you put a comma or exclamation mark somewhere? So, after learning T-SQL syntax, I wanted to understand what’s going on under the hood. There, I’ve discovered your and Kimberly’s Pluralsight courses on SQL Server internals. Man, that was a whole new world for me! Pages, statistics, waits, indexes…then I’ve also discovered your blog, read Jonathan’s and Erin’s articles also. And I’m reading them today too!

Then, approx. 3 years ago, Microsoft Power BI silently walked into my company, and into my life. No one in my company had time (or will) to deal with it, so I started. Again, from scratch. And as time was passing by, I got better and better, found true experts in that field, and tried to learn from them as much as possible. At the moment, I can freely say that I’m the “Power BI guy” within my company.

So, I am now working in parallel with both SQL Server and Power BI, trying to improve myself in both technologies. I’ve also started to learn Azure on my own since my company doesn’t plan to move to the cloud. It’s a little bit complicated when you don’t have a chance to face real-life scenarios, but I want to learn Azure nevertheless. I’m also thinking to start recording videos to support my blog but still haven’t tried.

Now, fast forward again to a present: mentoring thing…Honestly, I’m not kind of guy who makes decisions based on someone else’s opinion. Maybe that’s because I grew up almost alone and had to make various hard decisions on my own. I’ve never felt fear from the failure – in the end, I would have known that all decisions (even the bad ones) were mine, so no need to blame anybody except myself! That gave me an extra level of responsibility and self-confidence and I won’t pretend that I’m not proud of this. But, again, coming back to the latest career updates (my speaking engagement), I’ve discovered a few new things:

While preparing my session for the New Stars of Data conference, I’ve worked with a mentor (Wolfgang Strasser). And he gave me so much great advices, not just session related. Those were not, you know, epic advices – but more of fine-grained details. And I thought: oh boy, how couldn’t I remember this or that? Yeah, of course, Wolfgang has a lot more experience and therefore his advices were priceless!

So, when I saw Paul Randal’s generous offer to mentor a new group of people (after doing the same in 2015, just when I’ve started my IT career), I thought: this guy was there, done that! I need his “head” to help me answer some (or all) of the following questions:

  • Should I continue working on SQL Server and Power BI in parallel, or should I focus on one of those tools exclusively?
  • As I believe that Azure (cloud technologies in general) IS the future (again, maybe I’m just assuming wrong), should I leave my current company and try to find the job which would give me a chance to get hands-on experience with Azure?
  • If I do that, should I wait a little bit more, or should I jump into this train as soon as possible?
  • Should I try to switch to consultancy and how do I know if I’m ready for this step?
  • How can I get most out of public speaking, while at the same time giving back to a community?

Those are the essential questions I’m trying to figure out by myself. That’s why I believe that Paul’s knowledge and experience can point me in the right direction and maybe open some new thinking perspectives.

Finally, nevertheless, if I am chosen or not as a mentee, I would like to emphasize that Paul’s FREE mentorship offer is something you wouldn’t find these days anywhere else. Therefore, thank you Paul, and good luck to all “Class 2020 mentees”!

Last Updated on August 18, 2020 by Nikola

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